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Curiosity prepares to move on

Route through Murray Buttes

After several days of drilling, the Curiosity science team is preparing to move forward. As one member of the team notes,

After a short drive we’ll acquire images for context and targeting. Overnight, Curiosity will complete a SAM electrical baseline test to monitor instrument health. Based on some of the recent Mastcam images that we’ve acquired…, the view ahead should be quite scenic as we drive through the Murray Buttes!

The image above is a close-up of those Buttes, showing Balanced Rock on the left, taken from one of three raw left navigation images. The image below is a panorama I have created from those navigation images, with an inset box to show the location of the above picture.

Panorama of Murray Buttes

It appears, based on all of the images they have taken in the past day, Sol 1427, that they are trying to decide how to get around that small patch of dark sand directly ahead, and whether they can drive Curiosity through the gap in which the balanced rock is located.

Below is part of a Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image, showing Curiosity’s most recent position and annotated by me to highlight the view from the panorama above as well as the location of the balanced rock (marked by the “X”). I have also indicated with a dotted line two possible routes. I suspect, unfortunately, that they are leaning towards the route to the west in order to avoid being forced to cross that dark sand in the eastern gap.

Possible routes through Murray Buttes

I also suspect that they are doing the short drive today in order to get a better idea of which way to go thereafter. Either way, the view will be quite interesting in the days ahead. Below is another section of the same Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter image, this time showing the rough terrain ahead to the south, surrounded by sharp buttes on all sides. Beyond this the ground appears to get even rougher. Picking Curiosity’s way through this terrain is going to become increasingly interesting in the coming days.

The way forward

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner. Note that the price for the ebook, $3.99, goes up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

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