Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B image taken on Sol 2367, April 4, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is performing Sol 2367 tasks.

“Our short drive on Monday was successful, bringing two candidate drill targets into closer, clearer view, reports Michelle Minitti, a planetary geologist at Framework in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The prime candidate “Aberlady” appeared to have the same color, structure and texture as the Sol 2365 contact science target “Longannet.”

Prime drilling candidate “Aberlady” as seen in this Curiosity Mastcam Left image acquired on Sol 2365, April 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

All in the family

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) observations from Longannet, and Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) observation of the Sol 2365 “Tartan” target, chosen because of its resemblance to Longannet, all fell in family with the range of lithologies we have observed in the clay-bearing unit, Minitti explains.

“That gave the science team confidence that Aberlady was worthy of our first drilling efforts in the clay-bearing unit,” Minitti adds. “However, because it is such an important decision, the science team elected to dedicate today to triaging Aberlady’s structure, texture and chemistry just to be sure.”

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo produced on Sol 2367, April 4, 2019. MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 2367, April 4, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Mastcam Left image acquired on Sol 2365, April 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Go/no-go drilling decision

Minitti reports that Mars team members crammed in as many science observations on Aberlady as possible before the communication pass that will bring us data before planning tomorrow.

“These included chemistry measurements from APXS and ChemCam, and images of texture and grain size from MAHLI,” Minitti concludes. “With these data in hand tomorrow morning, the team will be able to make the go/no-go decision about drilling. What will Aberlady reveal? Stay tuned!”

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