NASA Podcasts

Messages from Mars
08.31.12
 
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Hi, I'm Bobak Ferdowsi, flight director on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover mission and I'm back with another rover report.

This past week on Mars, we did the SAM atmospheric sample, which is basically like taking a deep breath on Mars and sampling for chemicals. We also took a Mastcam 100 panorama, which is the 100 mm Mastcam camera on the rover of Mt. Sharp and it's Buttes, and you can see all the beauty of Mt. Sharp in that.

We also did a drive. The beginning of our road trip basically. Along the drive, you'll see our tracks on Mars and within the tracks you'll see a series of dots and dashes.

Those are actually Morse code on the wheels. The Morse code spells out "J-P-L," but in reality, it's a very important way for us to measure how far we're driving each day.

We know how many cycles or how many rotations the wheel makes and by seeing that confirmation on the ground of each rotation, helps us to analyze the soil to understand if we're slipping or not.

In fact, you can see on the side of my head, I've got the Morse code shaved in.

Voice of Charles Bolden: Hello, this is Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator, speaking to you via the broadcast capabilities of the Curiosity rover.

We also had two firsts on Mars this week. First, we played back an audio file from Administrator Charlie Bolden congratulating the team. That was the first time an audio file has been played back from Mars.

"Roll the song. Here we go!"

(Music)

And second, on Tuesday, we played the will.i.am song, "Reach for the Stars," Meant to inspire kids. That's the first time a song has been beamed back from Mars.

Coming up with the rover, we'll be driving towards Glenelg. That's where we actually see three different types of science materials. The scientists are really excited to get there.

Along the way though, you'll see several interesting things. We'll be doing Chemcam targets of rocks, and all the exciting things we're looking forward to.

That's been your Curiosity update. Check back soon for more reports.

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