Curiosity Front Hazcam Left A photo taken on Sol 2311, February 5, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars is well into Sol 2312 operations.

Curiosity is targeting small bedrock patches, pebbles, and soil reports Roger Wiens, a geochemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Over the weekend Curiosity completed a drive over 65 feet (20 meters).

Curiosity Navcam Left A image taken on Sol 2311, February 5, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Heading east

“Curiosity is heading east and will be driving below the upper side of Vera Rubin Ridge, toward waypoint 2. One of the goals for this portion of the traverse is to image the rock layers along its upper slope, but so far the slope appears to be mostly covered with soil,” Wiens notes.

Curiosity Navcam Left A image taken on Sol 2311, February 5, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A recent plan included observations of what appears to be small bedrock targets, with Mastcam, Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam), and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) observations of target “Isbister,” ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager (RMI)-only observation of “Magnus,” and Mastcam observation of the ChemCam Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS) target from the weekend.

The robot’s Mastcam was tasked with imaging “Knockfarril Hill,” “Crawton,” and “Elgol.”

Curiosity Navcam Left A image taken on Sol 2311, February 5, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Pebbly surface

Following a planned drive of 144 feet (44 meters) and post-drive imaging, the rover’s Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) will get a view of the pebbly surface in the new location, and the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD), Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) and the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS)

RAD, DAN, and REMS are on tap to take measurements, Wiens says, along with Mastcam mosaic and Navcam horizon and dust-devil surveys.

“The plan also includes a number of engineering checks, including one on the current thermal environment,” Wiens adds.

Road map

Meanwhile, a new Curiosity traverse map through Sol 2309 has been issued.

The map shows the route driven by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity through the 2309 Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars (February 04, 2019).

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

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 2306 to Sol 2309, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 62.57 feet (19.07 meters), bringing the rover’s total odometry for the mission to 12.48 miles (20.08 kilometers).

The base image from the map is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE) in NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Curiosity Navcam Right A photo acquired on Sol 2311, February 5, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo produced on Sol 2311, February 5, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Image shows the target “Brent” in the lower right corner; it was analyzed with ChemCam and APXS, and imaged with MAHLI over the weekend. It is a rounded pebble roughly an inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. In spite of the fact that it has been rounded by mechanical abrasion, it still shows faint layering. You can also see inclusions that are partially filled with brighter material. Marching vertically across the face of the pebble are five laser pits from ChemCam. The bottom of each pit has a telltale whitish appearance.
Curiosity MAHLI Sol 2308, February 2, 2019
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Leave a Reply