Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B image taken on Sol 1416, July 31, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B image taken on Sol 1416, July 31, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is presently at work on Sol 1417.

Back on Sol 1414, the rover drove nearly 145 feet (44 meters), wheeling into an area with larger blocks of bedrock.

“This looks like a good area to drill into the Murray Formation, so nearby targets were selected and we are planning a short drive to position the vehicle for drilling,” reports Ken Herkenhoff of the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

But first, the robot’s Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) and Mastcam were slated to observe bedrock targets “Chibia” and “Dondo.”

Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken Sol 1416, July 31, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken Sol 1416, July 31, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Brushed spot

Mastcam will also measure the dust in the atmosphere and take an image of the Sol 1414 ChemCam Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS) target.

From there, the arm was to be deployed for lots of contact science and standard images of the wheels, Herkenhoff adds.

Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) was on tap to take pictures of Chibia before the robot’s Dust Removal Tool (DRT) was to brush it off, then take lots of stereo images of the brushed spot.

Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) image taken on Sol 1417, July 31, 2016. MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) image taken on Sol 1417, July 31, 2016.
MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

 

Search for clouds, dust devils

MAHLI was also set to acquire a full suite of images of Dondo before the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) was to measure its elemental chemistry.

After sunset, the APXS was to be placed on Chibia for an overnight integration.

Early on Sol 1417, Curiosity’s Navcam is scheduled to search for clouds and dust devils. Mastcam was also to measure atmospheric dust, and ChemCam will measure atmospheric chemistry.

 

Drill campaign

“The bump to the potential drill targets will be followed by acquisition of imaging and other data needed to plan the drill campaign and other activities next week,” Herkenhoff explains.

Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) image taken on Sol 1417, July 31, 2016. MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) image taken on Sol 1417, July 31, 2016.
MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Finally, the AEGIS is slated to be used for the first time to autonomously select two targets and acquire ChemCam data on both of them.

“This is a very full and complex plan,” Herkenhoff concludes.

From Sol 1410 to Sol 1412, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 147.85 feet (45.06 meters).

Since touching down in Bradbury Landing in August 2012, Curiosity has driven 8.40 miles (13.51 kilometers).

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