Curiosity Right Navigation Camera B image taken on Sol 2573, November 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2574 tasks.

Curiosity is still in investigative mode characterizing Central Butte.

Curiosity Left Navigation Camera B photo acquired on Sol 2572, November 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“The rover is a little further up the side of the butte, and the goal is to characterize the different units that we can observe,” reports Kristen Bennett, a planetary geologist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Curiosity Left Navigation Camera B photo taken on Sol 2572, November 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Rover targets

A weekend plan calls for plenty of contact science by the robot.

“Upperhill” will be targeted with both the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) after the Dust Removal Tool (DRT) removes dust from the surface.

Curiosity Left Navigation Camera B photo acquired on Sol 2572, October 31, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Stonehive” is an additional MAHLI and APXS target in the plan. Finally, “Kenmore” is a MAHLI-only target that will look at the side of a block to help scientists investigate sedimentary structures in this area, Bennett adds.

Variations in the workplace

Curiosity’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) has four targets in the weekend plan including Stonehive, which is also a contact science target.

Curiosity Front Hazard Avoidance Camera Right B image taken on Sol 2573, November 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

ChemCam will also target “Ericht,” “Biggar,” and “Reay” to document any variations present in the workspace.

Mastcam will take documentation images of all the ChemCam targets. Mastcam will also take a multispectral observation of Upperhill.

Sedimentary structures

“This observation will take advantage of the DRT target to obtain multispectral data of a dust-cleared area. Additionally, Mastcam will take several mosaics of the butte,” Bennett explains.

Curiosity Mast Camera Left photo taken on Sol 2570, October 29, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“Hunda” is an expansion of a previous mosaic with the same name.

“Interesting sedimentary structures were identified in the original mosaic,” Bennett adds, “so the expanded mosaic will help us understand the extent of these sedimentary structures.”

Curiosity Right Navigation Camera B image taken on Sol 2573, November 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Outcropping laminations

“Carstairs” is a mosaic that is looking along the side of the butte in order to look at the outcropping laminations from a different angle. “The final mosaic will be of the top of Central Butte to capture an area that we will not be able to drive up to,” Bennett points out.

Curiosity Right Navigation Camera B image taken on Sol 2573, November 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

“After all of these observations, Curiosity will start driving around the butte to look at it from the other side,” Bennett concludes. “We expect to continue having amazing views of Central Butte at our next stop!”

Erosional remnant

In another Curiosity mission update, Fred Calef, a planetary geologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Curiosity recently made an almost 33 feet (10 meters) drive “to approach a “‘butte’iful” outcrop at the base of “Central” butte, an erosional remnant of the pediment in front of the rover, Calef explains.


Curiosity Right Navigation Camera B image taken on Sol 2573, November 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

With a key geologic contact between two different layers a few meters ahead, Calef adds, that a recent plan called for a “touch-n-go” on sol 2572 with two APXS measurements, ChemCam, MAHLI, and Mastcam on rock “Glen Mark,” an additional ChemCam on “Fourpenny”, a Mastcam of nearby “Pittodrie” looking for nodules in the rock, and a Mastcam mosaic of layered outcrop “Hunda” in front of the rover which is composed of fine layered bedding.

Next drill location

“We’re also firing up CheMin [Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument] for an empty cell analysis to get ready for the next drill location,” Calef reports.

On sol 2773, the rover was slated to go through its nominal list of untargeted ChemCam acquisitions, a dust-devil survey, and Mastcam line-of-sight extinction to measure dust in the atmosphere.

Curiosity Left Navigation Camera B photo taken on Sol 2572, October 31, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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