Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 2102, July 5, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is performing Sol 2104 duties.

Scott Guzewich, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland reports that a primary goal for recent planning was for the robot to approach its next drill location on the Vera Rubin Ridge.

To do so, Curiosity is paralleling the north side of the ridge during a new drive while documenting the geochemistry of the bedrock the rover is currently parked on.

Curiosity Front Hazcam Right B image acquired on Sol 2102, July 5, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Dust storm update

Curiosity is also to continue studying the ongoing planet-encircling dust storm.

A warning from the rover’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) initially prevented ground controllers from employing ChemCam for data gathering, but it was cleared up later and will be ready for Monday’s planning.

“We therefore took advantage of the unexpected availability of science time to include some routine Mastcam calibration activities and additional observations of the dust storm,” Guzewich notes.

Curiosity Mastcam Right photo taken on Sol 2100, July 3, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Reached its “peak”?

The amount of dust over Gale Crater, Guzewich adds, has been slowly declining over the last two weeks and it’s possible the dust storm has reached its “peak.”

“Whereas on Earth we have thousands of surface weather stations and a constellation of spacecraft observing the weather, on Mars we are comparatively blind to global conditions. But based on what data we do have, we may now be entering — or soon entering — the period where the massive amount of dust in the atmosphere will slowly settle out, and Mars’ shrouded surface may once again be clearly visible from space,” Guzewich explains.

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