Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1526 November 21, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1526 November 21, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars is just wrapping up Sol 1528 duties.

Given a recent rover drive of roughly 52 feet (16 meters), that gives the robot a total drive distance to just over 9.3 miles (15 kilometers) since it landed in August 2012.

Keep in mind that I have been told a human field geologist would click off that mileage in about a day’s time!

That said, Curiosity’s weekend drive has put the robot in place for a new drill target: “Precipice.”

Another Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1526 November 21, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Another Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1526 November 21, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Holiday weekend plan

“We have a three sol plan…as we head into the long holiday weekend and prepare for drilling next week,” reports Ryan Anderson, a planetary scientist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

On Sol 1528, Mastcam was slated to take a 3×10 mosaic to provide context for the drill site, followed by Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) images of the drill bit and a Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) twilight image of the ground beneath the rover.

Look for dust devils

On the following sol, Anderson notes that the robot’s Navcam and Mastcam are scheduled to start the day with a set of atmospheric observations to watch for dust devils and measure the amount of dust in the atmosphere.

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1526, November 21, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1526, November 21, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Following that, ChemCam has a passive sky observation, followed by active measurements of the targets “Thomas Bay,” “The Anvil,” and “The Ovens.”

Curiosity’s Mastcam will then have a change detection observation on the targets “Hulls Cove” and “Big Heath” – along with documentation of the ChemCam targets, including the autonomous software-selected surface target from sol 1526.

Environmental data gathering

The rover’s Mastcam and Navcam are then slated to repeat some of the atmospheric observations from the morning.

Curiosity Navcam Right B image taken on Sol 1526, November 21, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Navcam Right B image taken on Sol 1526, November 21, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“In contrast to our busy Sol 1529, sol 1530 will be relatively quiet,” Anderson adds, with a focus on downlinking data and normal background data collection from the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) and the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) device.

Road map

Base image of the map is from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Base image of the map is from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE).
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

A new map has been posted showing Curiosity’s traverse through Sol 1526.

The map shows the route driven by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity through the 1526 Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars as of November 21, 2016.

Numbering of the dots along the line indicate the sol number of each drive. North is up.

The scale bar is one kilometer (roughly 0.62 mile).

From Sol 1521 to Sol 1526, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 29.98 feet (9.14 meters), bringing the rover’s total odometry for the mission to 9.33 miles (15.01 kilometers).

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