Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B image taken on Sol 2132, August 5, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2133 duties.

Curiosity is ready to bump to a new drill site in the Pettegrove Point member, but not before gathering many observations at the rover’s current location.

Curiosity Navcam Right B photo taken on Sol 2132, August 5, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Reports Vivian Sun, a planetary geologist at NASA/JPL in Pasadena, California: “There are interesting color variations in today’s workspace, with grey, tan, and red gradients across the outcrop.”

The robot is set to document these color variations in detail with images from Mastcam and the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and chemical measurements from the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) and Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instruments.

Curiosity Navcam Left B photo acquired on Sol 2132, August 5, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“This is a lot of data to relay, but we expect downlinks from both the Mars Odyssey and the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter spacecrafts” – an action that was to take place over last weekend, Sun adds.

Laser shots

On Sol 2131, the geology theme group planned ChemCam measurements of the targets “Shiant Isles” and “Inchnadamph,” which are grey-toned rocks.

“The observation on Inchnadamph is especially interesting because ChemCam will shoot two sets of 150 laser shots into the rock to see if there are chemical variations with depth,” Sun points out. The APXS instrument will also make chemical measurements on a darker grey target “Mount Battock” and a lighter grey target “Scourie More,” in addition to a red target “Dobbs Linn” which will be brushed beforehand with the Dust Removal Tool (DRT).

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 2131, August 4, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

All of these targets will be documented with high-resolution Mastcam and MAHLI images.

Color variations

On Sol 2132, Curiosity is scheduled to acquire a Mastcam multispectral observation of all these targets to enable a detailed assessment of these color variations. Mastcam will also image the “Bullers of Buchan” target, which is an outcrop that may expose layering and nodules. Curiosity will then drive a few meters to our drill site.

Sun reports that Sol 2133 is packed with three science blocks filled with activities from the environmental theme group: Mastcam tau and crater rim extinction observations, Navcam zenith, suprahorizon, and dust devil movies, and Navcam line of sight observations. Curiosity will also make ChemCam passive measurements and an APXS atmospheric measurement.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) image produced on Sol 2132, August 5, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“All of these observations will help with our ongoing monitoring of the atmosphere as the dust storm settles,” Sun concludes. “After all of this, we look forward to seeing our drill workspace on Monday!”

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