Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1726, June 14, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is performing Sol 1727 science duties.

“After a successful drive, our parking spot included a nice patch of Murray bedrock to allow us to perform contact science,” reports Rachel Kronyak, a planetary geologist at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

That contact science involves use of the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and its Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS).

“Our target for contact science is “Jones Marsh,” a dark patch of the Murray,” Kronyak adds.

Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 1726, June 14, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

On the roll

The Curiosity geology group has also planned a suite of observations of Vera Rubin Ridge (VRR), which the robot is progressing towards.

Curiosity’s Mastcam is slated to perform a multispectral observation on “Freeman Ridge,” a small butte just in front of VRR that shows interesting color variations, Kronyak notes.

Laser zaps shown in this Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo taken on Sol 1725, June 13, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

The rover’s Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) is scheduled to take a mosaic of VRR using its Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) to complement the Mastcam mosaic that was taken in an earlier plan. Also, an additional Mastcam mosaic will be made of “Spaulding Mountain,” an area of exposed Murray formation blocks along the robot’s drive path.

Curiosity Front Hazcam Right B image acquired on Sol 1726, June 14, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Environmental observations

“We will then complete a drive, do some post-drive imaging of our new location, and finish up today’s plan with some environmental observations,” Kronyak explains. “These include tau, line-of-sight extinction, and sky survey measurements with Mastcam to assess how much dust is in the atmosphere.”

The plan also calls for performing standard Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) and Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) activities.

Curiosity Navcam Right B image taken on Sol 1725, June 13, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“With VRR on the horizon and the fantastic Murray formation underneath our wheels,” Kronyak concludes, “there is never a shortage of things to image!”

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