Curiosity Left Navigation Camera B photo taken on Sol 2550, October 9, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now carrying out Sol 2551 tasks.

Reports Kenneth Herkenhoff, planetary geologist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, work continues on analyzing the Glen Etive 2 drill sample.

The APXS (Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer) was not perfectly centered over the Glen Etive 2 dump pile on Sol 2550, Herkenhoff explains, so the APXS team requested repositioning for another overnight integration on the dump pile rather than on the tailings as strategically planned.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo produced on Sol 2550, October 9, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Power was an issue for planning, but Mars scientists were able to fit some remote sensing observations by the rover into a busy plan.

Dump pile

On Sol 2551, MAHLI (Mars Hand Lens Imager) was slated to take images of the dump pile to see whether the APXS contact sensor made an imprint in the pile.

Late that evening, MAHLI will image the CheMin (Chemical and Mineralogy) inlet port and the wall of the drill hole using its LEDs for illumination.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo produced on Sol 2550, October 9, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The APXS will then be placed on the center of the dump pile for an overnight integration, with CheMin performing another mineralogical analysis of the Glen Etive 2 drill sample in parallel, Herkenhoff adds.

Laser firing

On Sol 2552, MAHLI is scheduled to take another image of the dump pile, to look for a new APXS imprint. Then ChemCam (Chemistry and Camera) is set to fire its laser at a bedrock target dubbed “Skelbo” to measure its chemical composition.

Curiosity Mast Camera (Mastcam) Left image acquired on Sol 2550, October 9, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The Right Mastcam will take an image of Skelbo, then Navcam is to search for clouds and dust devils before imaging the sky to measure variations in brightness and constrain the size of dust particles suspended in the atmosphere, Herkenhoff reports.

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