Curiosity Chemistry & Camera Remote Micro Imager (RMI) telescope photo taken on Sol 2713, March 24, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Curiosity’s drill successfully dug into the “Edinburgh” target over last weekend, reports Michelle Minitti, a planetary geologist at Framework in Silver Spring, Maryland, “the first sandstone the drill has attempted to conquer since the engineering team hacked a new drilling method back in 2018.”

Curiosity Chemistry & Camera Remote Micro Imager (RMI) telescope photo taken on Sol 2713, March 24, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Minitti adds that it is now time for Curiosity to check her work! “Curiosity will drop three small portions of rock powder from the drill onto various rover surfaces, and then Mastcam will image those portions.”

This is a good way to check the sample in the drill before it is delivered to Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin) and the rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite (SAM).

Main goal

Portion characterization is the main goal of the plan, but the science team added other observations to the plan. ChemCam hit a slight hiccup on the last sol of the weekend plan, but one that was straightforward to recover from at the start of a new plan, Minitti points out.

Curiosity Mast Camera Right photo acquired on Sol 2712, March 23, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

ChemCam will first recover observations from the weekend including a passive spectral observation of the Edinburgh drill tailings piled up around the drill hole, and a long distance Remote Micro Imager (RMI) telescope mosaic across the “Greenheugh pediment” target “Three Lochs.”

Mosaics

“ChemCam will then get an analysis from its titanium calibration target. Navcam will acquire a mosaic covering the top of the pediment and Mt. Sharp to enable the team to target future Mastcam and ChemCam observations as far as our rover eyes can see,” Minitti says.

Curiosity Right B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 2713, March 24, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The skies are getting plenty of attention, as well.

“Navcam will acquire movies looking for dust devils at two different times of day,” Minitti concludes, “as well as images to consistently monitor the amount of dust in the atmosphere. Navcam will also throw in a movie looking for clouds for good measure!”

Leave a Reply