Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B photo taken on Sol 2135, August 8, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity rover is now performing Sol 2136 duties.

Sarah Lamm, a planetary geologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico reports that after two sols of analyzing an intended drill site in the Pettegrove Point member, plans are to drill the target “Stoer.”

Stoer has had Mastcam, Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), and Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) observations acquired over the past two sols.

Curiosity Navcam Right B image acquired on Sol 2135, August 8, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Previous attempts

“The two previous drill attempts in this geologic member have not been able to get to successful depth since the rocks have been more resistant than what we saw earlier in the mission,” Lamm explains. “Pettegrove Point is an important area to get a drill sample from because it is categorized as lower Vera Rubin Ridge.”

Curiosity has previously visited this area of Pettegrove Point on Sol 2097. On that sol, the target was “Caithness” close to the new intended drill hole, Stoer.

Other targets

“This is the last drill attempt in Pettegrove Point,” Lamm adds.

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo taken on Sol 2135, August 8, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL


“Besides drilling Stoer,” Lamm explains, “we have four other targets planned for these two sols.” The plan calls for one ChemCam target named “Glen Brittle,” and three Mastcam targets named “Belhelvie,” “Camas Mor,” and “Sandray.”

Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 2134, August 7, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Data backlog

Lamm adds that Curiosity data is currently backlogged.

“The downlink data is slowly trickling in, but uplink operations have not been slowed down. We still have enough information from the rover’s current location to send commands to the rover. Hopefully we can get all of the backlogged data soon and get caught up again,” Lamm concludes.

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