[meteorite-list] Curiosity Team Switches Back to Earth Time

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2012 16:42:23 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <201211070042.qA70gNCO000931_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Curiosity Team Switches Back to Earth Time
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
November 06, 2012

Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report

PASADENA, Calif. -- After three months working on "Mars time," the team
operating NASA Mars rover Curiosity has switched to more regular hours,
as planned.

A Martian day, called a sol, is about 40 minutes longer than an Earth
day, so the team's start time for daily planning has been moving a few
hours later each week. This often resulted in the team working overnight
hours, Pacific Time.

Starting this week, most of the team's work will stay within bounds of 8
a.m. to 8 p.m., PST. Compressing the daily planning process for rover
activities makes the switch possible.

"People are glad to be going off Mars time," said Richard Cook of NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., project manager for NASA's
Mars Science Laboratory Project, which operates Curiosity. "The team has
been successful in getting the duration of the daily planning process
from more than 16 hours, during the initial weeks after landing, down to
12 hours. We've been getting better at operations."

A simultaneous change this week begins more dispersed operations for the
scientists on the rover team. The team includes about 200 JPL engineers
and about 400 scientists, mostly from other institutions. More than 200
non-JPL scientists who have spent some time working at JPL since
Curiosity's landing on Aug. 5, 2012 (Pacific Time; Aug. 6, Eastern Time
and Universal Time) will continue participating regularly from their
home institutions throughout North America and Europe. The team has been
preparing in recent weeks to use dispersed participation teleconferences
and Web connections.

"The phase that we're completing, working together at one location, has
been incredibly valuable for team-building and getting to know each
other under the pressure of daily timelines," said Mars Science
Laboratory Deputy Project Scientist Joy Crisp, of JPL. "We have reached
the point where we can continue working together well without needing to
have people living away from their homes."

The operational planning this week is focused on getting a first sample
of solid Martian material into the rover's Sample Analysis at Mars, or
SAM, instrument.

On the mission's Sol 89 (Nov. 5, 2012), the other analytical instrument
inside the rover, Chemistry and Mineralogy, or CheMin, dumped out the
second soil sample it had finished analyzing. That second sample into
CheMin came from the fourth scoop of soil that Curiosity's robotic arm
collected at a site called "Rocknest." Also on Sol 89 came confirmation
that SAM had completed an overnight analysis run on a blank sample cup
in preparation for receiving a soil sample. Plans call for the fifth
scoop at Rocknest to provide samples going into both SAM and CheMin in
coming days.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena,
manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission
Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the rover.

More information about Curiosity is online at
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl , http://www.nasa.gov/msl and
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ . You can follow the mission on Facebook
at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on Twitter at:
http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity .

Guy Webster / D.C. Agle 818-354-5011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Guy.Webster at jpl.nasa.gov / Agle at jpl.nasa.gov

Received on Tue 06 Nov 2012 07:42:23 PM PST

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