Skip to main content

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 Curiosity

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.

But, 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.

At this time, the robot arm of the MSL literally looms over the first test rock selected for investigation by NASA scientists and engineers this week. Here is what is going to happen:
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.

Jake Matijevic is a target of opportunity as the MSL moves toward the first large scale scientific investigation planned for the mission. From the same link above:
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.

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.

This is going to be fun.  

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.

Mars Curiosity Rover -- Meet the ChemCam

Ray Bradbury is Honored Today on Mars

What Curiosity Can Do, Part 2.

What Curiosity Can Do on Mars and in this Election

Will Curiosity Mission Finally Vindicate the Life Science Results from the 1976 Viking Lander?

From Mars: SAM Takes a Deep Breath and Flexes his Arm

From Mars: Here's Looking At You, Kid.

On Mars: Super Rover has X-ray Vision

On Mars: Let the Science Begin

On Mars: We have found an Interesting Rock

Also, h/t to Troubadour for the excellent photo diary from the mission.

Originally posted to Astro Kos on Fri Sep 21, 2012 at 04:58 PM PDT.

Also republished by J Town and Kossacks on Mars.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site