Maybe things are going so well here on Earth that the campaign is going after the Martian vote. OK. The President and VP Biden didn't really campaign on Mars this week, but the newly released image of this plaque bearing their signatures did come in from Mars and I thought it was cool.
Here is how NASA described the image:
President's Signature On Board CuriosityBut, the Mars Science Lab isn't just about admiring itself in self-shot techno-porn hi-res digital images. Serious science is about to commence on an interesting rock named Jake that the rover happened upon, while creeping toward Glenelg, the first comprehensive scientific objective of the mission. If you, like me, are interested in some details of how NASA will investigate this rock and some background on its namesake, come out into the tall grass and we'll talk about it.
This view of Curiosity's deck shows a plaque bearing several signatures of US officials, including that of President Obama and Vice President Biden. The image was taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the rover's 44th Martian day, or sol, on Mars (Sept. 19, 2012). The plaque is located on the front left side of the rover's deck.
The elements in the rock will be detected using the mast-mounted, laser-zapping Chemistry and Camera Instrument as well as the arm-mounted Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer. The two instruments will experience cross-checking.
The rock has been dubbed "Jake Matijevic," after Jacob Matijevic (mah-TEE-uh-vik) who recently passed away. He served as the surface operations systems chief engineer for Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and the project's Curiosity rover. Upon driving six days in sequence, Curiosity’s daily distances range from 72 ft to 121 ft.
The team intends to select a rock in the Glenelg area, enabling rover's first use of its competence to examine powder drilled from interiors of rocks. Glenelg area has three types of terrain being intersected, out of which the light-toned area is much significant due to its longer retention of daytime heat into the night, showing unusual composition.This is going to be fun.
Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam) allows detection of potential targets on the ground. Rocks in the Glenelg area have been found to have Dark streaks.
Here are my previous diaries in this series inspired by NASA's new roving science lab on Mars, listed in the order I have posted them.