NASA held one of its “telecon” events today, updating reporters and rover followers on the latest news from Curiosity at Gale crater. Right now people who have a lot more time than I do, and who write about space exploration as a job, are beavering away at their computers, writing up the teleconference in great detail, so if you want to learn all the complicated stuff I’ll post links to a couple of those write-ups later. But for now, here are the basics…
> It looks like Curiosity is FINALLY done scooping! Yaaaay! #1
> Curiosity will probably be driving away from the “Rocknest” dust dune within a couple of days! Yaaaay! #2
> By the end of the year, Curiosity should finally be heading towards Mt Sharp! Yaaaay! #3
> The science team have been getting some really useful data from the radiation detectors onboard the rover, which will be extremely helpful when the time comes to seriously start planning manned missions to Mars. Which, at this rate, will be just after the first manned expedition to bloody Narnia.
> The weather station instruments on the rover have shown that there are a lot of dust devils in Gale Crater, and some of them have come very close to – if not passed over- the rover. More info on this to come.
As I said, other bloggers will be posting very detailed analyses of this telecon’s content, so I’ll let them fill you in properly. For now, tho, here’s a new panoramic view of the surface of Mars as being seen by MSL… click on it to enlarge it, then take a good long look at the beautiful hills forming the rim of the crater, just magnificent, aren’t they?