Though NASA has yet to announce this officially, Curiosity’s science team has made it clear that they are in the process this week of resuming full science operations.
Today was the first day of planning with the full science team since Curiosity had an anomaly on sol 2172. It has been a over a month since we last looked at the “workspace,” the region in front of the rover that the arm can reach, and there were some surprises in store for us! Before the anomaly, the rock was covered with gray-colored tailings from our failed attempt to drill the “Inverness” target, as seen in the Mastcam image from sol 2170. In the new image above, however, those tailings are now gone – and so is a lot of the dark brown soil and reddish dust. So while Curiosity has been sitting still, the winds have been moving, sweeping the workspace clean.
Those operations can also be seen in the images the rover is sending down. For the first time in almost six weeks images are arriving daily, from multiple cameras, and in large numbers.
What we yet don’t have is a detailed description outlining why it took so long to get the second computer up and running, and what they are doing, if anything, to repair the computer that produced the problems last month.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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