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Please begin with an informative title:

It seems fair to think of the date of launch of an interplanetary exploration mission as the same as a birthday for you and me, the day we start our independent life and strike out on our own. Yesterday, November 26, 2012, was the NASA Mars' roving science lab, Curiosity's, birthday.

My post would not have been a belated observation of Curiosity's birthday, except that I injured myself this weekend and could not even type or sit at a keyboard yesterday. I am receiving excellent care and am better now. Fortunately, NASA did not suffer any delay of its excellent observance of the happy occasion. found here, that the space agency posted yesterday. Above is an extraordinary composite image of the vista from Rocknest, where Curiosity was fixed in position for nearly a month while testing instruments and systems. The science lab spent every Sol, imaging surroundings at various degrees of resolution, logging weather and climate data, measuring radiation and conducting a variety of scientific tests and examinations.

Recognizing the milestone, NASA said:

PASADENA, Calif. - The NASA Mars rover Curiosity began its flight to Mars on Nov. 26, 2011, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., tucked inside the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft. One year after launch and 16 weeks since its dramatic landing on target inside Gale Crater, Curiosity has returned more than 23,000 raw images, driven 1,696 feet (517 meters) and begun helping researchers better understand the area's environmental history.

The car-size rover is at a site called "Point Lake" overlooking lower ground to the east, where the rover team intends to find a target for first use of Curiosity's rock-sampling drill.

That drill is the last tool/instrument on the rover that remains to be tested. The team has every expectation that it will work correctly and obtain the optimal results expected. With that drilling coming very soon, there is also next week's planned announcement "for the history books" about Mars, from Curiosity data, by NASA at the American Geophysical Union's
45th annual Fall Meeting! Join more than 20,000 Earth and space scientists, educators, students, and other leaders in San Francisco, California, 3–7 December as they gather to present groundbreaking research and connect with colleagues.
I thought if I prowled the AGU site for their meeting, I might find a hint of what NASA will announce next week. Fat Chance. We do know exactly when the announcement will take place. It will be on Monday, December 3, between 1:40 and 3:40 PM PST. As for just what history has been made, from the program, your guess is as good as mine:
U13A. U13A. Results From Mars Science Laboratory Mission Four Months After Landing
Convener(s): Laurie Leshin (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institu) and Nathan Bridges
1:40 PM - 3:40 PM; 102 (Moscone South)

1:40 PM - 2:10 PM

U13A-01. The Mars Science Laboratory Mission: Early Results from Gale Crater Landing Site (Invited)
John P. Grotzinger; Dave Blake; Joy A. Crisp; Kenneth S. Edgett; Ralf Gellert; Javier Gomez-Elvira; Donald M. Hassler; Paul R. Mahaffy; Michael C. Malin; Michael A. Meyer; Igor Mitrofanov; Ashwin R. Vasavada; Roger C. Wiens

2:10 PM - 2:40 PM

U13A-02. Overview of the Atmosphere and Environment within Gale Crater on Mars (Invited)
Ashwin R. Vasavada; John P. Grotzinger; Joy A. Crisp; Javier Gomez-Elvira; Paul R. Mahaffy; Christopher R. Webster

2:40 PM - 3:00 PM

U13A-03. First results from the CheMin, DAN and SAM instruments on Mars Science Laboratory (Invited)
David F. Blake; Paul R. Mahaffy; Igor Mitrofanov

3:00 PM - 3:20 PM

U13A-04. The Radiation Environment on the Martian Surface and during MSL’s Cruise to Mars (Invited)
Donald M. Hassler; Cary Zeitlin; R F. Wimmer-Schweingruber

3:20 PM - 3:40 PM

U13A-05. Chemical Composition of Rocks and Soils at Gale Crater, Mars (Invited)
Roger C. Wiens; Ralf Gellert; Sylvestre Maurice     

The only hints are in the timing. The lead scientist, Dr. John Grotzinger is taking the full first hour which is titled to suggest an overview of the whole mission so far, plus a big presentation on atmospheric findings. The second hour is divided into three twenty minute segments, finishing, intriguingly enough, with a report on chemical composition of soils and rocks. Chemistry is a big science, and it includes biochemistry. Hmmmm.

Curiosity is a year old, and is about to deliver news for the history books. Stay tuned.

For all of my Mars diaries and all things Mars on Daily Kos go to Kossacks on Mars.


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Originally posted to Kossacks on Mars on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 06:05 PM PST.

Also republished by Astro Kos and SciTech.

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