The Mars Report

Welcome back My Dear Readers to the newest edition of the Mars report here at the other shoe. This week I bring you a selection of images showing what curiosity is doing on Mars. We all know that curiosity is on Mars, primarily, to find water without water life cannot survive. Therefore to find water on Mars cements hope for finding some kind of life on Mars.


Curiositry Self-portrait

A self-portrait of Curiosity taken by the Mast CAM.

(Curiosity Self-Protrait)


Above we see a self-portrait of Curiosity. This was created by combining a mosaic of images taken by the Mast Cam (not pictured… it took the shot) on the Curiosity rover. It was taken on February 3, 2013.


 Our second image of the day is going to be one of educational value.[Oh, hurrah hooray this should be fun…] The images I share with you here at the other shoe are altered prior to being released to the public. Our first image is split into three parts. The image on the far left side is the raw image that JPL receives from curiosity. The middle image is processed using color calibration to show a natural color.  The image on the far right is created DEA’s using the white balancing. This color calibration presupposes there is an item that is why somewhere in the entire horizon.



RAW/Natural/White Balanced image from Curiosity

(RAW, Natural and White Balanced Image)



Our next image was taken on September 2 2012 and shows a ‘bluish-black rock with white crystals’. The rock remains unnamed and is made of an unknown substance. The rover did not take samples of this rock, but did imaging of the surface.


Bluish-Black Rock with White 'Crystals' on Mars

Bluish-Black Rock with White ‘Crystals’ on Mars

(Bluish-Black Rock with White Crystals)



Our next two images need a little science course precursor. If you took advanced science classes you might have learned about neutrino absorption of different materials. Water has the unique characteristic that it absorbs neutrinos more than other substances. This is the basis of the DAN (dynamic albedo of neutrons) device on the Mars Curiosity rover. The image below was taken with this instrument.


DAN Imaging Prior To Drilling

DAN Imaging Prior To Drilling

(DAN Imaging of Keystone by Curiosity)


Our next image shows the drilling done in the same area.


Dust from Mars Drilling - Tailings and Discard Piles

Dust from Mars Drilling – Tailings and Discard Piles

(First Holes Drilled By Curiosity on Mars)

(From the NASA/JPL web site)

This image shows the first holes into rock drilled by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, with drill tailings around the holes plus piles of powdered rock collected from the deeper hole and later discarded after other portions of the sample had been delivered to analytical instruments inside the rover. The image was taken by the telephoto-lens camera of the rover’s Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument in early afternoon of the 229th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (March 29, 2013). The site is on a patch of flat rock called “John Klein” in the “Yellowknife Bay” area of Mars’ Gale Crater.  Each of the drill holes is about 0.6 inch (1.6 centimeters) in diameter. The one toward the top of the image was drilled on Sol 180 (Feb. 6, 2013) as a “mini drill” preparatory test. That test went to a depth of 0.8 inch (2 centimeters) without collecting any rock powder. The nearer hole is from the first rock-drilling ever to collect a sample on Mars. Curiosity drilled this hole 2.5 inches (6.4 centimeters) deep on Sol 182 (Feb. 8, 2013).  Analysis of the collected John Klein rock sample by the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) and Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments inside Curiosity produced evidence of an ancient wet environment that provided favorable conditions for microbial life, including elemental ingredients for life plus a chemical energy gradient such as some terrestrial microbes exploit as an energy source.  The sample processing and delivery tool on Curiosity, called the Collection and Handling for In-situ Martian Rock Analysis, or CHIMRA, put the collected powder through a sieve to screen out particles larger than 0.006 inch (150 microns) across, and then delivered portions of the sieved material to the instruments. After delivering a few portions for analysis over the course of several weeks, CHIMRA released both the material that had not passed through the sieve and the leftover sieved material, dropping them in two piles near the drill hole on Sol 229 (March 29, 2013). In this image from a few minutes later, the unsieved material forms a mound to the left of a line between the two holes and the leftover sieved sample material forms a mound to the right.  The image has been white-balanced to show what the rock material would look like if it were on Earth. View the two unannotated versions, white-balanced and raw color (showing what the rock material looks like on Mars to the camera.) 


That was rather technical, and I was just not up to rewriting the science. 😉 Therefore, this has caught you, and I, up a little on what has been happening on Mars since I stopped posting updates. I will go through more pictures and the mission time line to see if there is anything more. I do know that NASA/JPL lost communications with Curiosity for a period of weeks, ending last week. There was a problem with the memory in the main computer and the only time they had communications was when the backup computer was updating.



This has been resolved with the main computer shut down completely and the backup computer being designated the (now) main computer. NASA has made clear that they intend to fix the problem with the memory in the main computer and are not at all comfortable with loosing their redundancy with the loss of use of the main computer. I am hoping that this is temporary problem and not a physical problem with the random access memory component in the main computer. If that were the case, Curiosity would completely, and permanently, loose its redundancy capabilities and that would greatly reduce the kind of science performed by Curiosity and decrease the volume and quality of imaging. That would majorly suck for The Mars Report!


Our next two images are from the Shaler Outcrop in the area Glenelg. The first image is of the outcrop itself.


shalewr outcrop in Glenelg

shalewr outcrop in Glenelg

(Shaler Outcrop @ Glenelg)


This last shot is a White Balanced color corrected image of this same area in Glenelg, the Shaler Outcrop.


Natural Color Photo of Shaler

Natural Color Photo of Shaler

(Natural Color Image of Shaler Outcrop in Glenelg)


Well, My Dear Readers, that brings us to the end of another edition of The Mars Report here @ The Other Shoe. Be sure to ‘Like this article (if/since you like it) and ‘Like’ our page at Facebook (The Other Shoe @ Facebook).


Thanks for dropping by and for your support.




About Daniel Hanning
I am a; writer, editor and publisher. I write, most often, articles about our space program, fun videos andpolitical works. My most recent additions are; A Week In Review, Sunday Funnies and The Adventures of Nadia. Along with The Mars Report and Lost in Space. ENJOY!

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