Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B image acquired on Sol 2168, September 11, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is performing Sol 2169 tasks.

The robot’s drill campaign at “Inverness” is starting, reports Kristen Bennett, a planetary geologist at the USGS in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“In the weekend plan Curiosity drove to an area that the team thought would be a good location for the next drill site on Vera Rubin Ridge. The drive was a success, and there is a block named ‘Inverness’ in the center of the workspace that was selected to be the next drill target,” Bennett explains.

Curiosity Navcam Left B photo taken on Sol 2168, September 11, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Two-sol plan

The two-sol plan (Sol 2168-2169) focuses on characterizing Inverness in preparation for the drill campaign. This includes removing dust from the surface of the rock with the Dust Removal Tool, as well as taking Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) images, Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurements, a Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) observation, and a Mastcam multispectral observation of Inverness.

“In addition to all of the measurements of Inverness, Curiosity will begin taking change detection images,” Bennett adds. “The rover will be sitting in one spot for some time during the drill campaign, so this is a good opportunity to see if any of the sand around Curiosity is being moved around by the wind.”

Dust Removal Tool readies targeted rock for drilling. Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) image produced on Sol 2168, September 11, 2018. MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The current plan also includes a Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) twilight image and Mastcam images of “Sandend” and “Skene.”

Putting holes in rocks

“But wait! There’s more! This plan also includes a Mastcam image of the target “Stoneyburn,” a Navcam dust devil survey,” Bennett adds, along with MAHLI night time images of the Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin) inlet.

Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin) inlet.
Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo taken on Sol 2168, September 12, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“This full 2-sol plan will set Curiosity up to start drilling into the next target on Vera Rubin Ridge later this week,” Bennett concludes. “Just another day planning to put holes in rocks on Mars!”

 

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