Curiosity Mastcam Left Sol 1443 August 27, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1443, August 27, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

On Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover has just begun Sol 1446 activities.

The robot work plan for last weekend went well, reports Ken Herkenhoff at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“The rover’s batteries have enough energy to proceed with another drive on Sol 1446,” Herkenhoff adds.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1443, August 27, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1443, August 27, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Laser measurements

New Mastcam images of the nearby buttes have been reviewed by science planners, prior to laying out details of a two-sol plan.

On Sol 1446, the schedule calls for Mastcam to extend coverage of previously-planned mosaics, and the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) will use its laser to measure the chemistry of “Muchinda” on a large outcrop block.

After the drive, ChemCam will autonomously make another observation using the Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS) software.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1444, August 28, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1444, August 28, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Upcoming: new drill sample

Overnight, Curiosity’s Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin) is slated to prepare and analyze an empty sample cell in anticipation of a new drill sample.

Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1444, August 28, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1444, August 28, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

 

Lastly, Herkenhoff notes that early on Sol 1447, the rover’s Mastcam and Navcam are on tap to measure the dust in the atmosphere and search for clouds. Most of these observations will be repeated, he notes, just before local noon and late in the afternoon to look for short-term changes.

Brush inspection image taken by Curiosity's Mastcam Right camera on Sol 1444, August 28, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Brush inspection image taken by Curiosity’s Mastcam Right camera on Sol 1444, August 28, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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

One Response to “Curiosity Mars Rover: New Views, New Drill Sampling Planned”

  • Kye Goodwin says:

    In the second image there are two dark “flows” left of center. They start where the sand slope meets the escarpment and extend downward on the sand slope, which is typical. The one to the right is narrower, may be branched slightly, and appears to come out of a narrow fissure, as these often do.. The one to our left is wider, has a rounded terminus and carries shifted blocks of crust that are still dusty, hence brighter than the fresh sand. There are many, many better examples than these along the Gale traverse.

    These mini-streaks have a great deal in common with the RSLs, are just as active, and just as mysterious. Lately they have raised planetary protection concerns.

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