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

 

Now just wrapping up Sol 1530 tasks, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is ready to take on a multi-sol plan of operations.

The robot has a Thanksgiving holiday weekend task list that involves sols 1531-1533.

Reports Ryan Anderson, a planetary scientist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona:

“We are in place at our next drill location “Precipice” so there will be no driving in the plan, just a lot of science and preparation for drilling!

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

 

 

Trio of targets

The plan calls for starting off Sol 1531 with Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) observations of Precipice as well as the targets “Frenchman Bay” and “Hunter’s Beach.”

That activity is to be followed by Mastcam documentation of all three targets.

“I also managed to fit a request for some Navcams of Mt. Sharp in the Sol 1531 science block to enable some long distance RMI [Remote Micro-Imager] observations next week,” Anderson adds.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1529, November 24, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1529, November 24, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

Distant foothills

After the science block of tasks, Curiosity is slated to do the “pre-load test” on the drilling target to improve the accuracy of the drill next week. Precipice will also be brushed off, and the rover’s Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) is to settle in for an overnight measurement.

Anderson points out that on Sol 1532, the plan is to start off with a Mastcam observation of the distant foothills of Mt. Sharp, multispectral imaging of the Precipice target (along with the associated calibration target), and imaging of the rover deck to watch for changes in the sand and dust that have collected there.

Sample dump

Curiosity’s Mastcam is then to take a stereo image of the location where the previous drill sample will be dumped.

ChemCam has an observation of a target called “Breakneck Pond” which will then be documented by the robot’s Mastcam.

“We will round out the science block with Mastcam and Navcam atmospheric observations. Finally, on Sol 1533, we will dump out our previous drill sample and do an APXS measurement on the dump pile,” Anderson concludes.

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo taken on Sol 1529, November 24, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo taken on Sol 1529, November 24, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

As always, projected dates of rover activities are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the martian environment, communication relays and rover status.

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