Curiosity Mast Camera Left photo acquired on Sol 2668, February 7, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2672 tasks.

The rover has made a successful drilling at target Hutton reports Rachel Kronyak, a planetary geologist at the University of Tennessee, “our newest (and 24th!) drill hole on the surface of Mars!”

Curiosity Mast Camera Right image taken on Sol 2668, February 7, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“As a fitting celebration, a box of donut holes was passed around the ops rooms at JPL,” Kronyak adds.

 

Portioning characterization

A recent plan has the robot characterizing the newly drilled sample as well as conducting additional scientific observations. Curiosity was firstly to conduct a series of “portioning characterization” experiments.

Curiosity Front Hazard Avoidance Camera Left B image taken on Sol 2672, February 11, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“This is to help us understand how much rock powder the drill collected,” Kronyak explains, and to ensure that the rover is able to deliver samples of adequate size to its Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite and Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin) instruments.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 2671, February 10, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Drill hole data

First, a portion will be delivered to the workspace and we’ll take before and after Mastcam images for documentation. We’ll repeat this process two more times, delivering additional portions to the SAM inlet cover and taking corresponding Mastcam images,” Kronyak points out. After portioning characterization, Curiosity will use the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) to take images of the Hutton drill hole.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 2671, February 10, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The plan also called for use of Mastcam and ChemCam to collect remote science data on the drill hole and our nearby surroundings.

 

Stereo mosaic

“With ChemCam, we’ll perform a passive (no laser) observation on the Hutton drill tailings. Next we’ll use the ChemCam laser to probe the targets “Roxburghshire,” a dark gray vein, and “Shettleston,” a float rock hypothesized to come from the nearby Greenheugh pediment caprock. We will also perform several environmental observations including a tau and crater rim extinction with Mastcam, and with Navcam, a sunrise movie, sky survey, and zenith movie,” Kronyak adds.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 2671, February 10, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Also on tap, a few Mastcam mosaics were to be taken, including a stereo mosaic of the nearby Western butte and Greenheugh pediment areas as well a large 360° mosaic.

The slated last weekend plan also scheduled a long Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) observation of argon in the atmosphere, Kronyak concluded.

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