Curiosity Mastcam Left image from Sol 2279, January 3, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSSNASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2284 tasks.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is currently performing Sol 2284 tasks.

“It’s a wonderful day for SAM,” reports Vivian Sun, a planetary geologist at NASA/JPL in Pasadena, California. The rover is continuing a drill campaign at the red Jura target “Rock Hall.”

The plan called for drop-off of the Rock Hall sample to the SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) instrument.

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo taken on Sol 2281, January 5, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Inlet covers

During the delivery process, Curiosity opened one of the SAM inlet covers and the rover arm was set to deposit a portion of the fine rock powder from the drill bit.

SAM’s role is to incrementally heat the sample up to very high temperatures and the gases released by this heating process will be analyzed to better understand the chemical and mineralogic components of Rock Hall.

The SAM results, Sun adds, will be extremely important for complementing the chemical observations from the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) and the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam), as well as the recent mineralogic results from the Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin).

Navcam Left A photo taken on Sol 2283, January 7, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Drill target data

“There was also plenty of time for other science observations in addition to SAM,” Sun explains.

Curiosity Rear Hazcam Right A photo taken on Sol 2283, January 7, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On Sol 2282, the to-do list included surveying for dust devils with Navcam, and also take ChemCam measurements of the Rock Hall drill hole to fill out a scientific suite of data for this drill target.

Curiosity Front Hazcam Left A image acquired on Sol 2283, January 7, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On Sol 2283, two science blocks were planned, starting with an early morning block dedicated to atmospheric monitoring activities.

Meteorite candidate

“Afterwards, we will take ChemCam measurements of ‘St Cyrus,’ a workspace target intended to continue our documentation of bedrock in this area, and ‘Gometra,’ a target that may be a meteorite candidate,” Sun points out.

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo acquired on Sol 2283, January 7, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Rock Hall drill hole captured in this Mastcam Right Sol 2282 image taken on January 6, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Also scripted was taking a Mastcam right camera image of “Gruinard Bay,” which is a displaced slab that was identified in the Mastcam left camera images as having edges with interesting textures and color variations; the higher resolution of the Mastcam right camera will allow scientists to take a closer look at these textures and the interactions between this slab and the regolith around it.





Sun concludes: “We’re looking forward to seeing the results from SAM soon!”

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