Curiosity image taken on Sol 1202 using its Navcam Left B camera on December 24, 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity image taken on Sol 1202 using its Navcam Left B camera on December 24, 2015.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has entered Sol 1203, recovering from an issue with its robotic arm.

Engineers ran diagnostics to better understand what happened with the arm. It is very likely that the arm hardware is okay, but the diagnostics will allow rover operators to avoid the problem in the future.

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1200, December 22, 2015. Note view of the arm in the position where a fault occurred. The dump pile is visible just beyond the arm. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1200, December 22, 2015. Note view of the arm in the position where a fault occurred. The dump pile is visible just beyond the arm.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Due to the arm issue, samples of “Greenhorn” were dumped and there was work done to get the arm in full swing. There were some concerns about analyzing the dumped sample before Martian wind blew the specimen away.

 

 

Holiday plan

A four sol “holiday plan” covering Sol 1202-1205 was scripted, reports Ryan Anderson, a planetary scientist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona and a member of the Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) team on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) project.

On Sol 1202, the plan called for a repeat of ChemCam RMI and Mastcam change detection images of the nearby dunes. Then the arm will finish its sample dumping and cleaning activities, and the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) was slated take some images of the dump pile and the robot’s Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) was to analyze that sample.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on December 23, 2015, Sol 1201. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on December 23, 2015, Sol 1201.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Dune observations

Today, Ryan notes, the schedule calls for repeating the Mastcam change detection observations of the dunes.

Mastcam is also slated to re-take some of the dune images from a recent 360 degree panorama with different exposure and focus settings.

ChemCam is scheduled to take two laser analyses of the targets “Aus” and “Aukas” and Mastcam is to take supporting images of that task.

“After that, we’ll take one more MAHLI image of the dump pile and then stow the arm,” Ryan adds.

 

Dump pile

On Sol 1204, ChemCam is on tap to collect some atmospheric observations, with the laser turned off, plus observations of the “Greenhorn” dump pile with the laser off and then with the laser on, Ryan reports.

The rover’s Mastcam will also observe the dump pile, using all of its different color filters. It will also measure the amount of dust in the atmosphere by looking at the sun, and will take some images of the rover’s deck to see any evidence of wind-blown sand possibly gathered there.

Curiosity's Traverse Map Through Sol 1196. This map shows the route driven by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity through the 1196 Martian day, or sol, of the rover's mission on Mars as of December, 18, 2015. Numbering of the dots along the line indicate the sol number of each drive. North is up. The scale bar is 1 kilometer (~0.62 mile). From Sol 1194 to Sol 1196, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 97.41 feet (29.69 meters). The base image from the map is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE) in NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Curiosity’s Traverse Map Through Sol 1196.
This map shows the route driven by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity through the 1196 Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars as of December, 18, 2015.
Numbering of the dots along the line indicate the sol number of each drive. North is up. The scale bar is 1 kilometer (~0.62 mile). From Sol 1194 to Sol 1196, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 97.41 feet (29.69 meters).
The base image from the map is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE) in NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

“Sol 1205 will be a light day,” explains Ryan. Curiosity is to take some measurements to update ground controllers regarding the robot’s tilt and orientation, and the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) is set to collect atmospheric measurements.

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

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