Archive for July, 2016

Senator Ted Cruz Credit: Office of Ted Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz
Credit: Office of Ted Cruz

 

 

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will convene a subcommittee hearing tomorrow titled “NASA at a Crossroads: Reasserting American Leadership in Space Exploration.

The hearing promises to focus on the importance of ensuring consistency in policy to best leverage investments made in human space exploration.

Also, the hearing is to explore questions facing NASA related to the upcoming presidential transition.

Ted Cruz, Republican senator from Texas, pokes his head into NASA’s Orion last year at the Johnson Space Center. Orion program manager Mark Geyer (left) discusses the workings of the spacecraft with the lawmaker. Credit: Lockheed Martin

Ted Cruz, Republican senator from Texas, pokes his head into NASA’s Orion spacecraft while visiting the NASA Johnson Space Center. Orion program manager Mark Geyer (left) discusses the workings of the spacecraft with the lawmaker.
Credit: Lockheed Martin

 

 

 

Slated to start on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, at 2:30 p.m. the invited witnesses are:

— William H. Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator of Human Exploration and Operations, NASA

— Mary Lynne Dittmar, Executive Director, Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

— Mike Gold, Vice President of Washington Operations, Space Systems Loral (SSL), former Bigelow Aerospace

— Mark Sirangelo, Vice President of Space Systems Group, Sierra Nevada Corporation

— Dan Dumbacher, Professor of Engineering Practice, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.

Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA

 

Hearing Details

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

2:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Subcommittee Hearing

Senate Russell Building 253

Note: Witness testimony, opening statements, and a livestream will be available on:

www.commerce.senate.gov

 China’s Tiangong-2 space lab undergoing checkout for September liftoff. Credit: CCTV via China Spaceflight


China’s Tiangong-2 space lab undergoing checkout for September liftoff.
Credit: CCTV via China Spaceflight

It is an important year for China’s burgeoning human spaceflight program.

Chinese news agencies report that the country’s second orbiting space lab –Tiangong-2 — has been delivered over the weekend from Beijing by rail to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

According to a statement from China’s manned space engineering office, the vessel will undergo assembling and testing processes at the center, preparatory work for its mid-September launch.

China’s Shenzhou-11 piloted spacecraft being readied for launch later this year. Credit: CCTV via China Spaceflight

China’s Shenzhou-11 piloted spacecraft being readied for launch later this year.
Credit: CCTV via China Spaceflight

As the second orbiting space lab for China, Tiangong-2 is to be visited by two astronauts onboard their Shenzhou-11 spacecraft.

Early next year, a Long March 7 will loft a Tianzhou supply ship to the Tiangong-2 space lab.

Also on tap this year is the maiden blastoff of China’s Long March 5. This booster is scripted to hurl into Earth orbit space station modules, as well as support robotic lunar sample return from the Moon, and toss a rover to Mars in 2020.

Check out these two videos on preparations of the Long March 2 F booster and Tiangong-2 for the upcoming launch:

http://www.cctvplus.com/news/20160710/8026553.shtml

http://www.cctvplus.com/news/20160711/8026573.shtml

 

Maiden flight last month of Long March 7 departing Wenchang coastal spaceport. Credit: New China

Maiden flight last month of Long March 7 departing Wenchang coastal spaceport.
Credit: New China

Test capsule

Late last month, the first Long March 7 rocketed from the country’s new Kennedy Space Center-like Wenchang coastal spaceport.

The Long March 7 carried mini-satellites, as well as a sub-scale test capsule for future piloted space missions in low Earth orbit and deep space. That 2.6 metric ton (2,600 kilograms) reentry module parachuted to a landing in Badain Jaran Desert in north China.

Credit: js7tv.cn

Credit: js7tv.cn

 

 

Prior to the capsule’s landing, the reentry module spent about 20 hours in orbit.

Credit: js7tv.cn

Credit: js7tv.cn

Mars Research Facility by Matt Jennings.

Mars Research Facility by Matt Jennings.

The closing hours of a Kickstarter campaign are near a hand, an effort to raise funds to back a workshop on designing a sustainable city on Mars.

This unique workshop will be hosted at the University of Southern California (USC), on September 15-28th, 2016.

Wanted: thinkers and innovators

Workshop participants include competing finalists of a worldwide Mars City Design 2016 challenge, including teams from MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, Ares Astronautics, and others.

“It is not enough to just travel to Mars and survive,” explains Vera Mulyani, Founder & CEO of Mars City Design. To sustainably live on the Red Planet, “we call on a new generation of thinkers and innovators to make this a reality.”

Courtesy: Mars City Design

Courtesy: Mars City Design

Off planet urbanism

Student category contestants come from MIT, CMU, Ballstate University, University of Virginia and University of Manchester in the UK, Math & Engineering School in Bucharest, and School of Urban Design in Turkey.

Also taking part in Mars City Design activities are professionals from different fields, such as agricultural, innovation, architecture, urbanism, math and engineering experts.

Another objective of the Mars City Design initiative is o build the winning prototypes, by 3D printing and testing them in their real scale in Mojave Desert, within the next 3 years.

Global community

Kickstarter is a global community built around creativity and creative projects. Over 10 million people, from every continent on Earth, have backed a Kickstarter project.

For more information on this Kickstarter project, go to:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/marscitydesign/a-city-on-mars

Credit: NASA image courtesy of the DSCOVR EPIC team.

Credit: NASA image courtesy of the DSCOVR EPIC team.

 

The Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) has snagged new and unique imagery of the Moon passing between the spacecraft and Earth.

DSCOVR is located at the Earth-Sun Lagrange-1 (L-1) point.

Onboard the spacecraft, NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) snapped the images over a period of about 4 hours on July 5th, 2016.

Backdrop Earth

Visible in photos is the far side of the Moon — never seen from Earth – as it passes by. In the backdrop, Earth rotates with Australia and the Pacific visible and some gradually revealing looks of Asia and Africa.

The DSCOVR spacecraft’s position gives EPIC a unique angular perspective that can be used in science applications to measure ozone, aerosols, cloud reflectivity, cloud height, vegetation properties, and UV radiation estimates at Earth’s surface.

Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). Credit: NOAA Satellites

Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR).
Credit: NOAA Satellites

Jupiter too!

On March 15, 2016, over a span of 5 hours, DSCOVR EPIC imaged Jupiter. This activity was done for purposes of instrument characterization, but also provides a unique view of our solar system’s largest planet and its moons.

Credit: NASA image courtesy of the DSCOVR EPIC team.

Credit: NASA image courtesy of the DSCOVR EPIC team.

DSCOVR is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA and the U.S. Air Force.

 

NOAA is operating DSCOVR from its NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland, and is processing the space weather data at the Space Weather Prediction Center — part of NOAA’s National Weather Service — in Boulder, Colorado.

America’s first operational deep space satellite orbits one million miles from Earth. Positioned between the sun and Earth, it is able to maintain a constant view of the sun and sun-lit side of Earth. This location is called Lagrange point 1. (Illustration is not to scale). Credit: NOAA

America’s first operational deep space satellite orbits one million miles from Earth. Positioned between the sun and Earth, it is able to maintain a constant view of the sun and sun-lit side of Earth. This location is called Lagrange point 1. (Illustration is not to scale).
Credit: NOAA

 

 

 

Warning system

Launched over one year ago, on February 11, 2015, DSCOVR — the nation’s first operational satellite in deep space — is now orbiting one million miles away and is America’s primary warning system for solar magnetic storms and solar wind data while giving Earth scientists a unique vantage point for studies of the planet’s atmosphere and climate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get a moving view of the Earth and Moon here:

http://epic.gsfc.nasa.gov/galleries/lunar_transit_2016/vid.php

For single frames, go to:

http://epic.gsfc.nasa.gov/galleries/lunar_transit_2016/

Selfie of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover at a drilled sample site called "Okoruso." Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Selfie of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover at a drilled sample site called “Okoruso.”
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

NASA’s Curiosity is sitting on Mars, soaking up sun, deep into Sol 1395 since landing on the Red Planet back in August 2012.

But the Mars machinery early on Sol 1389 entered “safe mode” – likely due to a software problem that remains a challenge to engineers and software specialists here on Earth.

Six sols later, rover pictures of its surrounding landscape are no-shows.

Down time

I queried JPL’s spokesman, Guy Webster, on Curiosity’s overall status.

Is this the longest down time of the rover to date?

Webster advised Inside Outer Space:

Curiosity went from Sol 200 to Sol 215 without taking any images, after an unplanned computer side-swap on Sol 200. The rover didn’t really get back to science until Sol 222.

“I’m not sure whether that’s been the longest gap in image-taking — there may have been longer ones during conjunction periods — but it’s longer than the current stretch of concentrating on getting diagnostic information rather than new observations. There have been no new images taken since Curiosity entered safe mode on Sol 1389, so no new raw images to include in the downlinks this week.”

Last Picture Shows: Thumbnail Data Products - Front and Rear Hazard Avoidance Cameras (Hazcams) images for Sol 1388; Left and Right Navigation Cameras (Navcams) images for Sol 1388 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Last Picture Shows: Thumbnail Data Products – Front and Rear Hazard Avoidance Cameras (Hazcams) images for Sol 1388; Left and Right Navigation Cameras (Navcams) images for Sol 1388
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Fixes afoot?

So how’s it looking for Curiosity…in the big picture? Real trouble or are fixes afoot?

“Diagnostic work is proceeding, with all of the files identified as priorities now transmitted and received,” the statement from Webster explains. “The investigation so far has provided confidence that the cause of the anomaly does not represent a safety risk to the vehicle.”

Bottom line of the Webster communiqué: “Engineers are optimistic about resuming science observations and transmission of science data in coming days.”

Courtesy: VMMEPP

Courtesy: VMMEPP

 

A special salute is being staged to celebrate 40 years on Mars – a retro-look at the pioneering work of men and women engaged in the U.S. Viking project – the effort that enabled the first U.S. surface mission to the Red Planet.

The event is to be held July 16th at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum in Denver, Colorado.

This engaging reflection on the past and future of Mars exploration is made possible by the Viking Mars Missions Education & Preservation Project (VMMEPP).

Courtesy: VMMEPP

Courtesy: VMMEPP

Veteran Viking members

From 10am to 4pm the public can meet veteran Viking Mission Team Members that served in roles from Science and Engineering to Testing and Mission Operations from the many institutes and NASA Centers that designed, built, and operated all three craft –  the Titan IIIE booster, the Viking Orbiters, and the Viking Landers.

This writer along with author Andy Chaikin will be there to autograph books and share insights and reflections on Viking, the Mars Underground, and what’s ahead in Red Planet exploration.

Among other speakers, Jim Rice of Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity will talk about those missions including current findings, as well as Alejandro M. San Martin, JPL, Chief Engineer for Guidance and Control.

Courtesy: VMMEPP

Courtesy: VMMEPP

Resources

This event is sponsored by Lockheed Martin in partnership with The Space Foundation and Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.

VMMEPP is a 501©(3) nonprofit, preserving the history and artifacts from the Viking Mission, the first successful combined Orbiter and Lander Mars missions to Mars.

VMMEPP is partnering with institutions worldwide to share the educational and historical materials through exhibits, an online Viking Museum with original material for research, engineering, and historical documents and images, and presentations of current and Viking materials in person and through webcast events.

For more information on the July 16 event, go to:

http://wingsmuseum.org/event-calendar/viking-mars-missions-education-preservation-project/

For detailed information on VMMEPP, go to:

http://www.thevikingpreservationproject.org/

Panorama of the “Murray Buttes” shows a boulder that appears to be precariously balanced. Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1387 July 1, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Panorama of the “Murray Buttes” shows a boulder that appears to be precariously balanced.
Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1387 July 1, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now in Sol 1393, recently experiencing an apparent software glitch that has placed it in “safe mode.”

According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, steps are underway to return the rover to full activity following a precautionary stand-down over the Fourth of July weekend.

Unexpected mismatch

“The rover put itself into safe mode on July 2, ceasing most activities other than keeping itself healthy and following a prescribed sequence for resuming communications,” notes a JPL update.

Curiosity has entered safe mode three times previously, all during 2013.

“Preliminary information indicates an unexpected mismatch between camera software and data-processing software in the main computer,” explains the JPL website on Curiosity. “The near-term steps toward resuming full activities begin with requesting more diagnostic information from Curiosity.”

Precariously balanced boulder

Meanwhile, Ken Herkenhoff of the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona reports that rover activities planned for Sols 1387 and 1388 were completed successfully.

Lots of good data were returned, Herkenhoff says, including a stunning Right Mastcam panorama of the “Murray Buttes” toward the southwest.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1387 July 1, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1387 July 1, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“One of the images in this panorama shows a boulder that appears to be precariously balanced,” Herkenhoff notes. “No, we don’t plan to drive right up next to it, but we’ll probably get closer looks as the rover proceeds toward Mount Sharp.”

Suspended science planning

Early on Sol 1389, the rover entered safe mode, apparently due to a software problem that is still not fully understood.

“So the 3-sol plan did not execute but the rover and all subsystems are healthy<” Herkenhoff adds. “Science planning has been suspended while critical engineering data are returned to Earth and studied by software experts at JPL,” he reports, “but I’m anxiously following the tactical team’s progress in recovering from safe mode.”

Cover photo: Sunrise over the Western U.S., taken by astronaut Scott Kelly on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Cover photo: Sunrise over the Western U.S., taken by astronaut Scott Kelly on the International Space Station.
Credit: NASA

A new study has recommended augmenting the U.S. strategic posture by “enabling the use of space for the defense of the United States across military domains.”

Specifically, the appraisal — Space and the Right to Self Defense — urges that the United States immediately begin the necessary steps to deploy a space-based interceptor (SBI) capability.

Optimal vantage point

Credit: Missile Defense Agency

Credit: Missile Defense Agency

“An SBI capability would dramatically augment U.S. terrestrially- and sea-based defensive capabilities, reduce the demands upon current systems, and provide the United States with the optimal vantage point for destroying enemy missiles regardless of their launch or target location, whether on land, at sea, in the air, or in space,” the June 2016 report by the Hudson Institute explains.

A critical benefit of an SBI layer, adds the report, “is the ability to destroy many missiles during their boost phase, while the missile is still over enemy territory and before the enemy can deploy their nuclear warheads, countermeasures, and decoys.”

Pivotal moment

“We have long since passed the threshold of concern that space will one day become the next battlefield, and we are at a pivotal moment,” the document adds. “The United States of America will not maintain its pre-eminent global power status by default nor absent further action. We must choose this path, and if chosen, we must better utilize the space domain to nullify any adversary’s ability to coerce and blackmail the United States with missiles, possibly armed with nuclear weapons.”

Vulnerability of space assets

Among the study’s findings:

  • U.S. adversaries are investing in missile technologies to contest U.S. military pre-eminence and challenge U.S. technical superiority.
  • Due to the vulnerability of, and the U.S. reliance on, space assets, adversaries have sought to target those assets with a variety of weapons including direct-ascent anti-satellite missiles.
  • A space-based interceptor (SBI) capability is essential to augment U.S. terrestrially and sea-based capabilities, and keep pace with the threats we face.
  • No treaty or international conventions or norms prohibits the deployment of an SBI capability.
  • Continue investments in directed energy technology to one-day aid or replace space-based kinetic interceptors.
Artist's view of the Missile Defense Agency's Space Tracking and Surveillance System-Demonstrator (STSS-D) spacecraft tracking objects in space. According to Raytheon, developer of the sensor payloads onboard the spacecraft, they have demonstrated the ability to: -- Detect missile launches and track targets from boost phase into midcourse -- Acquire and track short range air-launched targets -- Track multiple targets simultaneously -- Communicate with missile defense command and control systems -- Provide "launch on remote" cueing information to U.S. Navy ship defenses before the ship itself acquired the target Photo credit: Northrop Grumman Corporation

Artist’s view of the Missile Defense Agency’s Space Tracking and Surveillance System-Demonstrator (STSS-D) spacecraft tracking objects in space.
According to Raytheon, developer of the sensor payloads onboard the spacecraft, they have demonstrated the ability to:
— Detect missile launches and track targets from boost phase into midcourse
— Acquire and track short range air-launched targets
— Track multiple targets simultaneously
— Communicate with missile defense command and control systems
— Provide “launch on remote” cueing information to U.S. Navy ship defenses before the ship itself acquired the target
Photo credit: Northrop Grumman Corporation

Challenge conventional thinking

Space and the Right to Self Defense, issued by the Hudson Institute, is authored by Rebeccah L. Heinrichs, the report’s study director and a Fellow at the Hudson Institute. She provides research and commentary on a range of national security issues, and specializes in nuclear deterrence, missile defense, and counter-proliferation.

Rebeccah L. Heinrichs, the report’s study director and a Fellow at the Hudson Institute. Credit: Hudson Institute

Rebeccah L. Heinrichs, the report’s study director and a Fellow at the Hudson Institute.
Credit: Hudson Institute

The Hudson Institute is a research organization promoting American leadership and global engagement for a secure, free, and prosperous future. It was founded in 1961 by strategist Herman Kahn, dedicated to challenging conventional thinking and helps manage strategic transitions to the future through interdisciplinary studies in defense, international relations, economics, health care, technology, culture, and law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To read the full report, Space and the Right to Self Defense, go to:

http://hudson.org/content/researchattachments/attachment/1499/20160627heinrichsspaceandtherighttoselfdefense.pdf

Illustration of NASA's Juno spacecraft firing its main engine to slow down and go into orbit around Jupiter. Credit: Lockheed Martin

Illustration of NASA’s Juno spacecraft firing its main engine to slow down and go into orbit around Jupiter.
Credit: Lockheed Martin

DENVER, Colorado – After 5 years of travel, NASA’s Juno spacecraft has gunned its way into orbit around giant Jupiter.

Launched on August 4, 2011 – the $1.13 billion Juno is the first solar-powered spacecraft designed to operate at Jupiter.

Size of Juno relative to a basketball court. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Size of Juno relative to a basketball court.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The spacecraft fired its main engine for some 35 minutes to insert itself into orbit around the massive Jupiter.

Burn, baby, burn

Space engineers, scientists and general public well-wishers burst into applause here at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company given the word that Juno attained an initial orbit.

Juno's specially designed radiation vault protects the spacecraft's electronic brain and heart from Jupiter's harsh radiation environment. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LMSS

Juno’s specially designed radiation vault protects the spacecraft’s electronic brain and heart from Jupiter’s harsh radiation environment.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LMSS

“The burn cut off within one second of what it was supposed to do,” reported Tim Gasparrini, Program Manager (Development) at Lockheed Martin.

It takes 48 minutes for transmission from Juno to get to Earth.

Lockheed Martin built the 4-ton Juno spacecraft and is on the flight operations team with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

Sunblock

Juno’s primary goal is to improve our understanding of Jupiter’s formation and evolution.

Gasparrini detailed one of Juno’s engineering marvels – a large titanium vault. “It’s like sunblock,” he said.

To protect sensitive spacecraft electronics, the probe carries a radiation-shielded electronics vault, weighing about 400 pounds (200 kilograms).

This titanium box is about the size of a SUV trunk.

Kenneth Starnes, Lockheed Martin’s Juno program manager and leader of the Juno flight team. Credit: Lockheed Martin

Kenneth Starnes, Lockheed Martin’s Juno program manager and leader of the Juno flight team.
Credit: Lockheed Martin

First big radiation dose

The mood of the team is one of elation, said Kenneth Starnes, Lockheed Martin’s Juno program manager and leads the Juno flight team. “We are in orbit,” he said.

Starnes told Inside Outer Space that the immediate task post-insertion was how well Juno’s solar panels are performing. “This was our first big radiation dose,” he said, with engineers also looking at the state of charge on the spacecraft’s batteries.

Providing Juno’s energy are 18,698 individual solar cells.

Junocam is onboard the spacecraft, a visible-light camera that can provide the first pictures of Jupiter’s poles. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LMSS

JunoCam is onboard the spacecraft, a visible-light camera that can provide the first pictures of Jupiter’s poles.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LMSS

Ditching into Jupiter

Juno’s first two orbits are 53 day orbits, Gasparrini said, “time to understand how the spacecraft responded to Jupiter.”

Juno spacecraft is being prepped for Jupiter at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. Bunny-suited Jack Farmerie, (left) Lockheed Martin's lead spacecraft technician on the Juno project (left) and SPACE.com reporter Leonard David (right). Credit: Gary Napier

Juno spacecraft being prepped for Jupiter at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. Bunny-suited Jack Farmerie, (left) Lockheed Martin’s lead spacecraft technician on the Juno project and SPACE.com reporter Leonard David (right).
Credit: Gary Napier

 The spacecraft will orbit Jupiter 37 times.

Juno will nosedive into Jupiter at the end of its last orbit – closing off the almost one-and-a-half year science phase of the mission.

“NASA is extremely serious about protecting other worlds,” Gasparrini said. While a small probability, to assure the probe will not crash into any moon of Jupiter, the craft will be purposely ditched into Jupiter, he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on the Juno mission, go to my 2011 story detailing its building and testing:

SPACE.com Gets an Inside Look at Jupiter-Bound Spacecraft

By Leonard David, Space.com’s Space Insider Columnist

February 23, 2011 07:09am ET

http://www.space.com/10889-jupiter-spacecraft-juno-person.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1387, July 1, 2016 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1387, July 1, 2016
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is slated to implement a three Sol plan taking it through the holiday weekend.

At this writing, the Mars machinery is busy at work on Sol 1389.

Contact science

Sol 1389 activities on tap were to perform contact science with the rover’s Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) and its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the target “Outjo.”

Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite is to begin an analysis of some of the “Mojave2” sample that was collected a while ago, explains Ryan Anderson, a planetary scientist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1387, July 1, 2016 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1387, July 1, 2016
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Mosaics

The Sol 1390 plan is to start off with a long science block. Mastcam starts the block off with a multispectral observation of the brushed target “Outjo.” Then the Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) has a long distance RMI observation of Mt. Sharp, plus analyses of the targets “Outjo” and “Luanda.”

After ChemCam, Anderson adds, Mastcam turns back on and takes mosaics of “Bukalo” and “Bailundo” which are blocky deposits, “Keetmanshoop,” an outcrop of the Murray formation, and “Quimavongo,” a small crater.

SAM will also continue its sample analysis.

Wheeling onward

Anderson explains that on Sol 1391, the plan calls for wheeling the robot about 196 feet (60 meters) and then collect post-drive imaging.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1387, July 1, 2016 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1387, July 1, 2016
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

In the early morning on Sol 1392, Navcam and Mastcam have a series of atmospheric observations.

Dates of planned rover activities are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.

As of Sol 1387, Curiosity has driven 8.22 miles (13.23 kilometers).