Curiosity Front Hazard Avoidance Right B Camera image acquired on Sol 2686, February 26, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2687 duties.

“We’re wrapping up our Hutton drill campaign literally at the tail end,” reports Scott Guzewich, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 2686, February 26, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A recent plan focused on studying those drill “tailings” (gray material surrounding the drill hole with the rover’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam), Mastcam, Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), and the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS).

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo produced on February 24, 2020, Sol 2684.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Lunar gray

This phase of the drill campaign, Guzewich adds, helps compare the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite and the Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin) laboratory analyses with the data from remote sensing instruments of the same material from the drill hole.

“It’s always interesting to see that Mars’ red color is sometimes literally only skin-deep and underneath can be much more of a lunar gray,” Guzewich points out.

Curiosity Mast Camera Right image taken on Sol 2685, February 24, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Additional observations

“We also packed in a few additional observations of some nearby rock targets,” Guzewich notes, “including an intriguing fin-like structure sticking out of the ground nearby called ‘Dunbartonshire.’”

The plan calls for looking at this feature also with MAHLI and APXS on the second night of a recently scripted 2-sol plan.

Curiosity Mast Camera Right image taken on Sol 2685, February 24, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

 

Lastly, on the plan is a dust devil movie. Curiosity has been unable to do much additional long-distance imaging work at its current location due to the cliff surrounding the robot on three sides blocking its view in most directions, Guzewich concludes.

Curiosity Mast Camera Right image taken on Sol 2685, February 24, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager photo produced on Sol 2686, February 26, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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