While busily investigating bedrock types on Mars' Mount Sharp and preparing for a drill test, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has also been looking up frequently to monitor sunspots on the face of the sun that is turned away from Earth.
Large sunspots are evident in views from Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam). Scientists temporarily have no other resource providing views of the sun from the opposite side of the solar system from Earth. The sun completes a rotation about once a month -- faster near its equator than near its poles. Information about sunspots that develop before they rotate into view of Earth and Earth-orbiting spacecraft is helpful in predicting space-weather effects of solar emissions related to sunspots.
Curiosity landed on Mars in August 2012. The drive on Sol 957 brought the mission's total driving distance past the 10-kilometer mark (6.214 miles). The rover is passing through a series of shallow valleys on a path from the "Pahrump Hills" outcrop, which it investigated for six months, toward its next science destination, called "Logan Pass."
As you may have noticed there is now a Twitter feed on the right side of the Robotic Alliance Project's webpage! We would like to invite everyone to follow us on twitter and help spread the word about the Robotics Alliance Project and NASA! We plan on using Twitter to post about announcements, new features, and much more!