Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B photo taken on Sol 2365, April 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is wrapping up Sol 2365 tasks.

Ashley Stroupe, a mission operations engineer at NASA/JPL in Pasadena, California reports that Curiosity is getting close to the area in which the robot will next drill.

Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 2365, April 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

But before heading off, scientists are taking a number of images using the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) and Mastcam of the local features – including some close-by small sand ripples and pebbles in the rover’s workspace in order to help understand the relationship.

Also being performed is contact science with the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) on two small targets, Maud and Ardnamurchan; Maud will be partially “cleaned” by ChemCam so APXS might have a better view despite the target being too small to brush.

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo taken on Sol 2364, April 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Windy period

“We also continue our atmospheric studies, as we seem to be in a fairly windy period, including a dust devil movie and a tau measurement,” Stroupe adds.

“On the second sol of our plan, Curiosity will drive past a nearby patch of sand ripples,” Stroupe explains, where the robot will stop for mid-drive imaging.

Also planned is a drive of about 98 feet (30 meters) to a promising bedrock target on the other side of the sandy patch, Stroupe says.

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo taken on Sol 2364, April 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo taken on Sol 2364, April 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo acquired on Sol 2365, April 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 2365, April 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Featureless terrain

“Visual Odometry, to track our slip while driving, continues to be challenging due to the relatively featureless terrain, but the Rover Planners continue to improve their ability to find pointing that performs well,” Stroupe concludes. “At the end of this drive, we hope to start being able to select candidate drill targets and start developing our path forward toward drilling.”

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