Curiosity Mastcam Left photo acquired on Sol 2527, September 15, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2529 duties.

Reports Vivian Sun, a planetary geologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, it’s go for drilling at Glen Etive 2.

Curiosity Front Hazcam Right B image acquired on Sol 2528, September 16, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“After studying the results from the ‘Glen Etive 1’ drill hole over conjunction, the team has decided to proceed with a second drill hole at a nearby location, dubbed “Glen Etive 2,” on the same rock slab,” Sun adds.

Rock composition

This second drill will allow scientists to do a more detailed set of Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite and Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin) analyses to better understand the composition of this rock.

Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B image acquired on Sol 2527, September 15, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“We kicked off the drilling campaign for Glen Etive 2 with a series of activities on Sols 2525 through 2528. On Sol 2525, we commenced with initial triaging of the Glen Etive 2 target, which included a preload test to help determine if the rock surface will be stable for drilling,” Sun explains.

Pebbly materials

To continue wrapping up observations from the first drill campaign, scientists also planned Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) observations over two pebbly areas near where the Glen Etive 1 sample was dumped.

“The APXS measurement of the Glen Etive 1 dump pile,” Sun points out, “included some pebbly materials in the field-of-view, so these extra measurements will help us tease out the true composition of the sample fines.”

The Curiosity science team has decided to proceed with a second drill hole at a nearby location, dubbed “Glen Etive 2,” on the same rock slab. NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on Sol 2525
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Pre-drill imaging

A Sol 2525 preload test was successful, so Mars researchers moved forward with the full drill activity on Glen Etive 2 in the Sol 2526-2528 plan.

“This includes the requisite pre-drill imaging, as well as SAM and CheMin activities to prepare for ingestion and analyses of the Glen Etive 2 sample next week,” Sun reports.

Other rover activities included Mastcam multispectral documentation of both the Glen Etive 1 and future Glen Etive 2 drill holes, ChemCam observations of the Glen Etive 1 drill tailings and dump pile, and a suite of atmospheric monitoring observations.

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo acquired on Sol 2527, September 15, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Also planned were several activities focused on monitoring and maintaining Curiosity instruments, including Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) imaging of the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) ultra-violet sensor and Mastcam imaging of the MAHLI magnet.

“Getting all of these activities into this packed weekend plan was quite the effort, but well worth it to get our next drill sample,” Sun concludes. “We can’t wait to see the results!”

Curiosity Navcam Right B photo taken on Sol 2528, September 16, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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