Curiosity Front Hazard Avoidance Right B Camera image acquired on Sol 2639, January 8, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2639 tasks.

When planning began for Sol 2639, the robot’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite was still marked sick, so the strategically planned bump from one place to another was replaced with targeted science.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo taken on Sol 2639, January 8, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

That’s the word from Kenneth Herkenhoff, a planetary geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Re-planned bump

The robot’s Mastcam will extend the stereo mosaic of Western Butte and take a multispectral set of images of the “Ben Eighe” outcrop. After the re-planned bump to fix the rover’s recent wheelie, the special software is to be used to autonomously acquire Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) observations of two targets in the new workspace, Navcam will search for dust devils, and Curiosity’s Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) was to again acquire an image of the ground behind the left front wheel during twilight.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo taken on Sol 2639, January 8, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

Late during tactical planning this afternoon, Herkenhoff adds, SAM was marked healthy, “so things are looking up for Sol 2640-2641 planning tomorrow.”

Science block

In an earlier report from Ryan Anderson, also a planetary geologist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center, researchers found out over the weekend the planned “bump” to get the rover in position for contact science didn’t execute.

Curiosity Right B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 2639, January 8, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

That meant researchers were greeted with the familiar view of the Curiosity workspace from last week.

“Although it was disappointing that we weren’t able to do contact science,” Anderson adds, “the bright side was that instead we got a massive 2 hour science block!”

Camera mosaics

The rover was in a great position to observe the Gediz Valles deposits (informally named “the claw”) on top of the Greenheugh Pediment, so the Sol 2638 plan had three more ChemCam Remote Micro-Imaging (RMI) camera mosaics in addition to the two collected over last weekend.

“The giant science block also allowed us to fit two ChemCam chemistry observations in. One was a follow up observation right next to the vein target Hascosay that was observed on sol 2636,” Anderson notes.

Curiosity Rear Left B Hazard Avoidance Camera photo acquired on Sol 2639, January 8, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Interesting chemistry

“Hascosay had some very interesting chemistry, so the new target ‘Northon’ will take another look just a few centimeters away,” Anderson adds. “The other ChemCam chemistry target is a small rock named ‘Bruntsfield’ that looked a bit different than some of the other rocks in the area. Mastcam will document the two chemistry targets and then will collect a 3×1 mosaic of a group of rocks named “Clachtoll” to study their textures.”

Curiosity Mast Camera Right image taken on Sol 2638, January 7, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The Sol 2638 plan was rounded out with some atmospheric observations: a dust devil movie at the end of the long science block, and a couple of movies to watch for clouds early in the morning on Sol 2639.

Note: Dates of planned rover activities described are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.

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