Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 2080, June 13, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now in Sol 2081.

Roger Wiens, a geochemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, reports that the final several sols of Curiosity’s drill activities at “Duluth” are devoted mostly to imaging and to analysis of the pile of drill tailings that are dumped on the ground after the delivery to rover instruments.

“Some people think dirt is uninteresting,” Wiens notes. Curiosity’s “bunch of dirt” is the dump pile consisting of drill tailings. Photos taken by the robot’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) shows the pile that’s roughly 16.3 by 12.2 centimeters in dimension – and the tailings bunched around the drill hole itself.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager photo produced on Sol 2081, June 14, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


Dusty surroundings

The rover plans involve science activities with Mastcam and Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) passive multispectral observations of the dump pile, and Mastcam and ChemCam active interrogation of target “Elbow Creek” (a vein).

Also, the rover’s Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument is placed in position on the dump pile for an overnight integration, Wiens points out.

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo taken on Sol 2080, June 13, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS



“In between these activities the rover will continue observing the dust and surroundings,” Wiens explains, with Mastcam continuing a change-detection series of daily observations of the nearby surface, as well as looking at the observation tray and getting a view out to the crater rim.

Curiosity Mastcam Left image acquired on Sol 2079, June 12, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


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