Curiosity Mastcam Left photo taken on Sol 2378, April 15, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2380 duties.

The science team has been focused on determining which target in the vicinity of “Aberlady” will become the focus of the next drill campaign, reports Brittney Cooper, an atmospheric scientist at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image acquired on Sol 2377, April 14, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Target 3

“In the end, target 3 was recommended by rover planners for its flatter texture,” Cooper adds, as an Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) raster of other targets showed there wasn’t a large difference in composition between the two.

“Once formally included in plan activities, target 3 will be given a proper name consistent with those being used in the ‘Glen Torridon’ region,” Cooper notes.

Dump pile

The rover recently took a Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) open cover image of the Aberlady sample dump pile and then an arm retract to get it out of the way for a Mastcam multispectral observation of the dump pile that was to follow.

“Next, a Navcam dust devil survey and suprahorizon movie are included to monitor clouds and dust devils in the current transition from dusty to cloudy season,” Cooper explains.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photos produced on Sol 2379, April 16, 2019, inspecting latest drill hole.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Science block

Then a Chemistry and  Camera (ChemCam) 10×1 vertical Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) and Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) observation on the Aberlady drill tailings and a Mastcam documentation image, Cooper says, will wrap up a one-hour science block.

“After sunset, two APXS rasters on two differently toned drill tailing targets are planned to run until the wee hours of the night,” Cooper reports, when Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin) will take over with its third integration on the Aberlady drill sample, “using X-ray diffraction to identify the signals of the minerals present in the sample.”

Bump ahead

Lastly, standard Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) passives and Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) observations were included to continue monitoring the environmental conditions at the current workspace.

For Curiosity, Cooper concludes, the goal is to finish up at Aberlady, and bump to target 3 for “Drill Sol 0.”

Curiosity Navcam Right B image taken on Sol 2379, April 16, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Leave a Reply