"Curiosity is a much more complex vehicle than earlier Mars rovers," said Curiosity Project Manager Pete Theisinger of JPL. "The testing and characterization activities during the initial weeks of the mission lay important groundwork for operating our precious national resource with appropriate care. "Sixteen days in, we are making excellent progress."
The science team has begun pointing instruments on the rover's mast for investigating specific targets of interest near and far. The Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument used a laser and spectrometers this week
to examine the composition of rocks exposed when the spacecraft's landing engines blew away several inches of overlying material.
The instrument's principal investigator, Roger Weins of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, reported that measurements made on the rocks in this scoured-out feature called Goulburn suggest a basaltic composition. "These may be pieces of basalt within a sedimentary deposit," he said.
Curiosity began a two-year prime mission on Mars when the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft delivered the car-size rover to its landing target inside Gale Crater on August 6 EDT. The mission will use 10 science instruments on the rover to assess whether the area has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.
In a career spanning more than 70 years, Ray Bradbury inspired generations of readers to dream, think and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and nearly 50 books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time.
His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451
, The Martian Chronicles
, The Illustrated Man
, Dandelion Wine
, and Something Wicked This Way Comes
. He wrote the screenplay for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick
and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted 65 of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater
, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree