Curiosity Right B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 2946, November 19, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2948 tasks.

Curiosity Right B Navigation Camera photo acquired on Sol 2947, November 20, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“We are continuing our ‘benches’ mini-campaign and the current bench is spread out before us like a brick road on our way to our next stop,” reports Scott Guzewich, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo acquired on Sol 2947, November 20, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity is continuing to study these erosion-resistant rock layers as the robot drives steadily toward the sulfate unit of Mt. Sharp.

Distant terrains

A recent plan passed on an opportunity for additional contact science and instead chose a variety of remote sensing with the rover’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) and Mastcam.

Curiosity Chemistry & Camera Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) photo acquired on Sol 2947, November 20, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Laser shots as viewed by Curiosity Chemistry & Camera Remote Micro-Imager (RMI), acquired on Sol 2947, November 20, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Outside of two nearby targets for ChemCam Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS), ChemCam was looking forward to the sulfate unit with a long-distance image. “In this way,” Guzewich notes, “ChemCam almost works like the rover’s binoculars to see detail in distant terrains!”

Charged up

Also in the plans, a long dust devil movie and cloud monitoring activities.

“To best maintain the rover’s battery, we like to maintain a medium-to-high level of charge, but not too close to 100% charged,” Guzewich adds. “In fact, on occasion, we keep the rover awake so the battery doesn’t get too close to fully charged.”

A new science activity is included in the rover’s plan whenever this is needed.

“It’s a combination of our cloud and dust devil movies and today we’ll include it in the evening of Sol 2948 to look for both of these atmospheric processes,” Guzewich concludes.

 

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo acquired on Sol 2947, November 20, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo acquired on Sol 2947, November 20, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity’s Location as of Sol 2943, Distance Driven 14.52 miles (23.37 kilometers)
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

 

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