Curiosity Front Hazcam Left A photo acquired on Sol 2223, November 7, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

 

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2224 tasks.

On Sol 2222, Curiosity drove over 30 feet (roughly 10 meters) towards the “Lake Orcadie” location.

Curiosity Front Hazcam Left A image acquired on Sol 2224, November 8, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Reports Lauren Edgar, a planetary geologist at the USGS in Flagstaff, Arizona the hopes are that the robot will be able to drill the gray Jura member there.

A new plan is focused on characterizing the target “Highfield,” a bright patch of outcrop and included pre-planned activities as part of standard drill site characterization.

Drill target prep

First Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) will carry out a short integration on the intended drill target, followed by two Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) images.

Curiosity Mastcam Right photo taken on Sol 2223, November 7, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Then the plan calls for use of the Dust Removal Tool to brush the target, followed by Mastcam imaging and a full suite of MAHLI images.

“Then we’ll do a drill pre-load test, which means that we’ll put weight on the drill bit to make sure the surface can support it,” Edgar notes, “and if it makes marks on the surface this might give us an indication of how hard or soft the surface is.”

Optimistic on sampling

Overnight, Curiosity will acquire a longer APXS integration on “Highfield.”

“We were pretty tight on both power and data volume…so it was a bit of a challenge to prioritize everything, but we’re optimistic that this will be our chance to sample the gray Jura member,” Edgar adds. “I’m eagerly awaiting our downlink and hoping that we’ll be ‘go’ for a full drill hole here!”

Curiosity Navcam Right A photo acquired on Sol 2224, November 8, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 2222, November 6, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo acquired on Sol 2223, November 7, 2018. MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

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