Curiosity Navcam Right B image taken on Sol 1957, February 6, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is just starting Sol 1959 operations.

Michelle Minitti, a planetary geologist; for Framework in Silver Spring, Maryland, says expect “old site, new tricks.”

Turns out that recovering from a recent fault with the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite “proved more challenging than expected, so our planned drive to the patch of pale tan bedrock in the image above did not take place,” Minitti explains.

Curiosity Navcam Right B image taken on Sol 1957, February 6, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

New, less-common observations

Mars researchers took advantage of the fact that the robot has been parked at the same site for several sols to acquire both new and less-common types of observations.

Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 1957, February 6, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) peppered Mt. Sharp with long distance mosaics, imaging a dramatically-layered unit pasted on the flank of Mt. Sharp above the rover, and various steep slopes to look for evidence of grain motion downhill.

 

Dawn’s early light

In a departure from the normal mid- or late-day imaging blocks available to the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), Minitti says the science team planned an early morning arm backbone to get dawn’s early light on the target “Arnaboll.”

Before the MAHLI images of Arnaboll were to be taken, ChemCam will shoot it with a raster to clear off dust and measure chemistry. Also, the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) is slated to perform a long overnight integration to add to the chemistry data collected from the site.

Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 1957, February 6, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Unusual depression

The robot’s Mastcam is set to acquire a mosaic of “Soay,” a small, unusual depression about 26 feet (8 meters) ahead of the rover, and a multispectral observation of two targets previously shot by ChemCam, “Cocksburnpath” and “Harra Ebb.”

“Both these targets have a purplish red color, and the goal is for the Mastcam spectral data to illuminate how (or if!) iron-bearing minerals contribute to those colors,” Minitti adds.

Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1957, February 6, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

 

Atmospheric dust

“We were able to fit in multiple sets of environmental observations across both sols, with early morning and afternoon observations of dust in the atmosphere, and movies looking for clouds and dust devils,” Minitti reports.

Lastly, the rover’s Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) experiment will passively probe the subsurface around Curiosity for over seven hours.

Leave a Reply

Griffith Observatory Event