12.13.2016 Now and Long Ago at Gale Crater, Mars
12.13.2016 Where's Boron? Mars Rover Detects It
10.03.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Murray Buttes'
10.03.2016 Butte 'M9a' in 'Murray Buttes' on Mars
09.19.2016 Ribbon Cutting
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 5)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 4)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 3)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 2)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 1)
08.26.2016 Out-of-this-World Records
03.30.2016 Erisa Hines
03.30.2016 Buzz Aldrin
02.12.2016 Women in Science
02.09.2016 Adam Steltzner, a JPL engineer
01.27.2016 Night Close-up of Martian Sand Grains
01.27.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at Martian Sand Dune
12.17.2015 Alteration Effects at Gale and Gusev Craters
12.17.2015 Full-Circle View Near 'Marias Pass' on Mars
12.11.2015 Surface Close-up of a Martian Sand Dune
12.11.2015 Martian Sand Disturbed by Rover Wheel
11.24.2015 Carbon Exchange and Loss Processes on Mars
11.17.2015 Chemical Laptop 1
Curiosity's 'Rocknest' WorkplaceSee unannotated version
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover documented itself in the context of its work site, an area called "Rocknest Wind Drift," on the 84th Martian day, or sol, of its mission (Oct. 31, 2012). The rover worked at this location from Sol 56 (Oct. 2, 2012) to Sol 100 (Nov. 16, 2012).
The drift consists of sand trapped on the downwind side of a group of dark cobbles the team named Rocknest. This mosaic of 55 images from the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) shows the first four of five places from which the rover's scoop obtained sand to clean the sample handling and processing system. The scooped material was ultimately delivered to the Chemistry and Mineralogy Experiment (CheMin) and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory instruments housed inside the rover's body. The annotated version of this figure shows the location of a scoop taken at a later date -- the fifth and final scoop, and the only one that provided grains delivered to SAM.
Before scooping, the rover team put an approximately 20-inch-wide (about 50- centimeter-wide) wheel print on the Rocknest wind drift. This allowed MAHLI and the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) to determine whether the drift really consisted of sand with small enough sizes to clean the Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA) instrument and be delivered to CheMin and SAM. The drift material at the center of the wheel print, named "Portage" by the rover team, was examined by the APXS.
The rover's robotic arm is not visible in the mosaic because the MAHLI that took this mosaic is on the turret at the end of the arm. Wrist motions and turret rotations on the arm allowed MAHLI to acquire the mosaic's 55 images. An earlier version of the Sol 84 self-portrait was released Nov. 1, 2012 (see PIA16239).
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS