Curiosity Mast Camera Left image taken on Sol 2676, February 15, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2682 tasks.

Curiosity has kicked off her fifth Mars Year, reports Michelle Minitti, a planetary geologist at Framework in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The robot had a successful and busy schedule last weekend, operating both the Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin) and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite. The work is focused on the mineralogy, chemistry and isotopic composition of the “Hutton” drill sample.

Curiosity Chemistry & Camera Remote Micro Imager (RMI) telescope photo acquired on Sol 2681 February 20, 2020
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Curiosity Chemistry & Camera Remote Micro Imager (RMI) photo acquired on Sol 2680, February 19, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Second batch

“Based on the weekend’s results, SAM elected to analyze a second batch of Hutton to gain insight into its volatile and organic contents. Preparing for the SAM analysis and the analysis itself will take up the bulk of the power in our three sol plan, but we still had enough power left for additional science observations both near and far from the rover,” Minitti adds.

The rover’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) was slated to fire up its laser to acquire chemistry across a vein and the bedrock adjacent to it (“Salt Pan Bay”) and from the interior wall of the “Hutton” drill hole.

Curiosity Mast Camera Right image taken on Sol 2680, February 19, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mast Camera Right image taken on Sol 2680, February 19, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Distant imaging

ChemCam was also scheduled to use the Remote Micro Imager (RMI) telescope to acquire a ten image mosaic along the top of “Western Butte” (here dubbed “South Esk”) and a five image mosaic across a more distant butte (“Glenrothes”).

The robot’s Mastcam was called upon to cover the near- and mid-field with two large stereo mosaics that connect to the extensive and more distant mosaics Mars researchers now have of the “Glen Torridon” terrain that’s been explored by Curiosity over the last year.

Curiosity Mast Camera Right image taken on Sol 2680, February 19, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“The stereo data help us visualize the structural relationships between the many rock types around the rover,” Minitti notes.

 

Curiosity Rear Hazard Avoidance Camera Left B photo taken on Sol 2681, February 20, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Dust devils, clouds

The rover’s Navcam was slated to scan the skies near midday on Sol 2680 for dust devils, and then Navcam and Mastcam were to acquire images and movies later in the afternoon on Sol 2681 to assess the dust load in the atmosphere and look for clouds.

Also, Curiosity was set to perform Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) and Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) measurements to keep tabs on the weather and radiation within Gale Crater.

Curiosity Front Hazard Avoidance Camera Left B image acquired on Sol 2681, February 20, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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