Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1326, April 29, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1326, April 29, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars is just about to enter Sol 1328 as of this posting.

Ryan Anderson, a planetary scientist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, reports: “After a nice rest on Sol 1325, Curiosity was charged up and ready for lots of science!”

That Sol 1325 was used primarily to recharge the rover’s batteries.

On Sol 1326, scientists conducted multispectral Mastcam observations of the pile of dumped powder from the “Lubango” drill target and the targets “Rubikon” and “Ebony.”

The rover’s Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) made a passive observation of the dump pile, followed by active observations using the laser on Rubikon as well as “Ida” and “Lorelei,” Anderson notes. “Mastcam documented the ChemCam observations as usual, and then finished the science block with an atmospheric observation.”

Dump pile

On Sol 1326, the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) observed the dump pile and drill tailings, as well as a bedrock target called “Nara Valley”. Finally, the rover’s Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) made an overnight observation of the dump pile, Anderson adds.

Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, took this image on April 28, 2016, Sol 1325. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm, took this image on April 28, 2016, Sol 1325.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

A weekend plan that covers Sols 1327-1329 calls for a sol focused on dumping out more of the powder acquired from the Lubango drill, “this time after passing it through a sieve,” Anderson explains. “Mastcam and MAHLI will take pictures of the new dump location before and after the sieved sample is dumped, and then APXS will do an overnight measurement.”

On Sol 1238, the plan calls for lots of remote sensing. Navcam and Mastcam have a few atmospheric observations, and then ChemCam will measure the pre- and post-sieve dump piles, Nara Valley, and a target called “Ovitoto”.

Drive and drill

On Sol 1329, Curiosity is on tap to do a short drive to a nearby patch of flat Stimson formation sandstone that should not have as much silica enrichment as what has been seen at Lubango. “This will put us in position to drill that location sometime next week,” Anderson reports.

As always, planned rover activities are all subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.

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