Curiosity Mastcam Left image acquired on Sol 1785, August 14, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now in Sol 1787, driving over last weekend over MSL drove over 105 feet (32 meters) to a sandy area with a few bedrock blocks.

However, the robot’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) has suffered an anomaly, reports Ken Herkenhoff, a planetary geologist and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in Flagstaff, Arizona. Trouble-shooting is underway.

Curiosity Front Hazcam Right B image acquired on Sol 1786, August 15, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Marked sick

The instrument “was marked sick” after the acquisition of the first Remote Micro Imager (RMI) telescope mosaic of Vera Rubin Ridge, Herkenhoff adds.

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo of Vera Rubin Ridge taken on Sol 1783, August 12, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

“The instrument is in a safe state and turned off, but no other ChemCam observations were successful last weekend. The instrument team will need at least one sol to recover,” so no ChemCam activities were being planned.

Herkenhoff explains that the team concluded that it is not essential to acquire RMI data from the previous or current position, and agreed that they should stick with the touch-and-go rover activities that were strategically planned.

Curiosity Rear Hazcam Right B image acquired on Sol 1786, August 15, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Target list

On the target list for Curiosity is “Emery Cove” for a short Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) integration and a trio of Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photos.

After Curiosity’s robotic arm is stowed, Herkenhoff says that rover’s Right Mastcam will take a picture of a rock named “Hupper” that appears to show cross-bedding and acquire two mosaics of “Shooting Rock” to test techniques for improving the image resolution while the RMI is unavailable.

“The two mosaics will be identical,” Herkenhoff points out, “except for a small pointing offset between them which should allow them to be combined into a ‘super-resolution’ mosaic.”

Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1786, August 15, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech



Dust devil search

Also on tap is use of Curiosity’s Navcam to search for dust devils before a drive, planned to be about 92 feet (28 meters) long. In addition to the usual post-drive imaging, Navcam will take a couple half-frames of the top of Vera Rubin Ridge to enable accurate targeting for an upcoming plan.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Lastly, the robot’s Mastcam will measure the amount of dust in the atmosphere, and the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) will take a standard twilight image before the rover recharges overnight, Herkenhoff concludes.




New road map

A new Curiosity traverse map through Sol 1786 shows the rover’s position as of August 15, 2017.

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 1785 to Sol 1786, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 52.02 feet (15.86 meters), bringing the rover’s total odometry for the mission to 10.63 miles (17.10 kilometers).


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




Leave a Reply

Griffith Observatory Event