Curiosity Front Hazcam Left A photo acquired on Sol 2257, December 12, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is wrapping up Sol 2257 tasks.

Reports Brittney Cooper, an atmospheric scientist at York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: “Even on Mars, where every second of Curiosity’s sol is planned, things don’t always go quite as expected.”

Curiosity Rear Hazcam Right A image taken on Sol 2257, December 12, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In this case, a planned drive of the robot stopped at the mid-drive point.

Bump to target

“We had to decide whether to finish the remainder of the previously planned drive, or bump towards a red Jura candidate and potential drill target,” Cooper adds. “After some thoughtful discussion, we decided to make the most of where Curiosity ended up, and planned a bump toward the nearby target “Rock Hall.”

“Rock Hall” is seen in this Curiosity Navcam Left A image acquired on Sol 2257, December 12, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Targeted Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) capabilities and Mastcam multispectral observations were then planned to characterize Rock Hall and confirm if it’s a member of the red Jura, Cooper explains.

 

Pre-load test

On the schedule is a bump (short drive) to have Curiosity set up for drilling and in position to test the hardness of Rock Hall with a drill pre-load test and ChemCam LIBS tomorrow, if need-be.

“Unfortunately, the amount of pebbles on top of Rock Hall,” Cooper points out, “will likely prevent our ability to use the Dust Removal Tool (DRT) on the surface, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be drilled.”

In addition to the targeted Mastcam and ChemCam activities, a 360° Navcam dust devil survey rounded off a one-hour science block to try and catch some late morning dust devils, Cooper concludes.

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

New roadmap

Meanwhile, a new Curiosity traverse map through Sol 2256 shows the route driven by the Mars rover through the 2256 Martian day, or sol, of its mission on Mars (December 11, 2018).

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 2255 to Sol 2256, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 29.78 feet (9.08 meters), bringing the rover’s total odometry for the mission to 12.35 miles (19.88 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 Left A image acquired on Sol 2257, December 12, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 2256, December 11, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Leave a Reply