Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 2053, May 16, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is carrying out Sol 2054 science duties.

Reports Abigail Fraeman, a planetary geologist at NASA/JPL in Pasadena, California:

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo taken on Sol 2052, May 15, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“Our sol 2054 plan was limited by a small morning downlink. Occasionally, the flight paths of the Mars orbiters over Gale Crater don’t have favorable geometries for relays with Curiosity, and this means our data downlink passes are smaller than average. Today we received only 1.6 MB (Megabytes) of data at the start of our planning day. This was just enough to tell us the drive executed successfully and the rover was healthy, but not enough to include any new images from our current spot.”

Another small downlink several hours into planning, Fraeman adds, gave scientists the first view of a drill target “smack in the middle of our workspace”- a rock that has been dubbed “Duluth.”

Untargeted activities

The plan now calls for most of Sol 2054 completing “untargeted” activities.

Data from Curiosity’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) will be collected from the ChemCam calibration target. Also, the robot’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) is slated to take photos of the sky. Mastcam will snag a photo of the rover deck. Additionally, the Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) will be used on a target chosen autonomously by the rover using the Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS) software.

Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 2053, May 16, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Phobos in focus

“We will also make observations to characterize our environment and the dust in the atmosphere, including a Mastcam tau observation and images of the crater rim, and Navcam images of the sky and horizon,” Fraeman explains. On Sol 2055, Phobos, one of the two moons of the Red Planet, will be imaged as it passed in front of the Sun. “These data help us better constrain the orbit of this small, potato shaped moon, she concludes.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona



Traverse map

A Curiosity traverse map through Sol 2051 has been issued.

The map shows the route driven by Curiosity through the 2051 Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars (May 16, 2018).

Numbering of the dots along the line indicate the sol number of each drive. North is up. The scale bar is 1 kilometer (~0.62 mile).

From Sol 2047 to Sol 2051, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 1.94 feet (0.59 meters), bringing the rover’s total odometry for the mission to 11.84 miles (19.06 kilometers).

The base image from the map is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE) in NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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