Curiosity Chemistry & Camera RMI photo taken on Sol 2541, September 29, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has just initiated Sol 2543 duties.

Reports Roger Wiens, Geochemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico: “Curiosity has been at this same location for all of August and September, which included a number of days of waiting for Mars to pass behind the Sun (‘conjunction’), drilling two holes, and processing the samples.”

Curiosity Front Hazard Avoidance Camera image taken on Sol 2542, October 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Shock waves

Wiens notes that nine laser pits form a line down the “Glen Etive 2” drill hole. He is principal investigator of the rover’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam).

“Shock waves from the laser impact at the lowest point cleared debris that had settled at the bottom of the hole to allow analysis of the hole wall at that depth,” Wiens adds.

Subsequent to this vertical raster, the rover’s ChemCam also performed a rectangular 5×2 grid pattern in the hole.

Curiosity Rear Hazard Avoidance Camera photo acquired on Sol 2542, October 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Dirt on its back

“The team is planning uplink commands for two sols on Mars,” Wiens reports.

 

In the first sol a sample will be dropped into the robot’s Chemical and Mineralogy instrument, or CheMin for short. CheMin’s inlet is on the deck of the rover, and the instrument will start its analysis.

Wiens likens CheMin’s operation to an elephant using its trunk to dump dirt on its back.

Credit: NASA/JPL-CALTECH

“That’s a far cry from what Curiosity is doing, but I like to find human or animal similarities to Curiosity,” Wiens suggests.

Curiosity’s Mastcam will provide documentation of the drop-off and will also take an image of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) inlet to follow up from the weekend activities.

Curiosity Mast Camera image taken on Sol 2541, September 29, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mast Camera image taken on Sol 2541, September 29, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Analyze targets

On the second sol, ChemCam will analyze targets “Buldoo” and “Broo Gill,” and will take Remote Micro-Imaging (RMI) photos of eolian targets “Culbin Sands 1” and “Culbin Sands 2.”

Also, Mastcam is slated to perform a crater rim extinction and a Sun tau image, and will document the ChemCam targets.

Navcam is on tap to do a dust devil movie and survey.

DAN (Dynamic Albedo Of Neutrons), REMS (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station) and RAD (Radiation Assessment Detector) are set to take data in the background, Wiens concludes.

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