Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B image taken on Sol 1793, August 22, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

Now in Sol 1793, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover experienced limited arm activities and a less lengthy weekend drive than planned, reports Abigail Fraeman, a planetary geologist at NASA/JPL in Pasadena, California.

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1792, August 21, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Colder than expected

“Unfortunately, some of the arm activities and the drive we planned over the weekend didn’t execute because Mars was slightly colder than we expected,” Fraeman notes, “and we didn’t heat the actuators in the arm for quite long enough.”

 

 

Now planned is to recoup the contact science observations scientists had planned on sandy ripples in front of the robot.

Planned route

On tap is using Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to image targets “The Shivers,” “Trumpet,” and “Hosmer.”

Also slated is use of the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) to observe Trumpet.

“Following the contact science activities, we’ll go for a drive that continues along the strategically planned route towards the area Curiosity will ascend Vera Rubin Ridge,” Fraeman adds.

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1792, August 21, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

 

Solar eclipses on Mars

Not to be outdone by yesterday’s solar eclipse, “solar eclipses happen on Mars too, although the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos are too small to completely cover the Sun like on Earth,” Fraeman explains.

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1792, August 21, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“Curiosity has had the opportunity to observe several of these awesome celestial events throughout the mission, including one back in 2013 when even the rover couldn’t help but take a pause in the middle of a drive to look skyward,” Fraeman points out.

Here on Earth, Curiosity science team member Fred Calef’s unique pinhole viewer shows crescent shadows during yesterday’s eclipse.
Credit: Fred Calef

“Fortunately, with special solar filters already built into the rover’s cameras, Curiosity didn’t need to worry about ordering eclipse glasses last minute” in order to capture spectacular images.

 

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