Now at work during Sol 1667, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover had its drive cut short during Sol 1664. The robot had driven less than 6 feet (2 meters) then halted due to the angle of the left bogie wheel side that slightly exceeded the suspension limit.
“Such limits are routinely set based on the results of detailed modeling of the vehicle’s response to the terrain, so that unexpected conditions will automatically cause the rover to stop and wait for further instructions,” reports Ken Herkenhoff, a rover scientist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Later analysis of the vehicle’s orientation showed nothing that concerned the mobility team, so a drive was planned for Sol 1666.
Before the drive, Curiosity’s Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) and Right Mastcam were slated to observe a vein target named “Ingalls Island,” a nearby outcrop target dubbed “Yellow Island,” and color boundary targets called “Bunker Cove” and “Cromwell Cove.”
The rover’s Mastcam was then to acquire a multispectral observation of Moosehead Lake, the drive goal.
After the drive and usual post-drive imaging, the arm will be unstowed for more drill diagnostic tests and moved out of the way for Navcam and Left Mastcam imaging of the arm workspace, to support planning today.
Later in the afternoon, Mastcam was slated to measure dust in the atmosphere, Navcam will search for clouds, and the auto-software (AEGIS) was to acquire a ChemCam observation of an autonomously-selected target.
The Sol 1667 plan was to begin with Navcam searches for dust devils and clouds above the horizon. In the afternoon, ChemCam will acquire calibration data.
“The rover will then get some sleep before what could be a busy weekend plan,” Herkenhoff adds.
Location, location, location
Meanwhile, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released a new map showing Curiosity’s location as of Sol 1664, April 12, 2017.
This map is periodically updated by the mission team as Curiosity drives on its way to the base of Mount Sharp.
Numbering of the dots along the line indicate the sol number of each drive. North is up.
From Sol 1662 to Sol 1664, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 4.96 feet (1.51 meters).
Since touching down in Bradbury Landing in August 2012, Curiosity has driven 9.93 miles (15.98 kilometers).
The base image from the map is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE) in NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.