The image shows the Mastcam view as of Sol 2104, in which the nearby terrain is clearly visible, but nothing beyond the foreground and the entire scene looks a murky red-brown color due to the dust storm.
Curiosity Mastcam Left image acquired on Sol 2104, July 8, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has just begun Sol 2107 science duties.

The robot is heading back to the “Great Red Spot,” reports Roger Wiens, a geochemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

“Unhampered by the storm, Curiosity is heading back toward a site visited on Sol 2005 for what we hope will be the next drill target,” Wiens adds.

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo taken on Sol 2104, July 8, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Hematite-rich site

Jupiter is known for its “Great Red Spot”, which is a swirling storm thousands of kilometers in diameter.

Wiens notes that the rover drive destination could perhaps be called the “Great Red Spot on Mars” as it seems to indicate the presence of a reddish mineral, hematite, as seen from orbit and in rover spectra.

“Of course this spot is not at all as prominent from orbit as Jupiter’s Great Red Spot,” Wiens points out, “but the orbital spectra do predict this location to have one of the highest surface hematite abundances in this part of Gale crater.”

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo acquired on Sol 2104, July 8, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


Slight anomaly

The robot’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) was marked healthy over the weekend after repetition of a known event last week.

Curiosity’s Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) lost a small amount of science data over the weekend in a slight anomaly, but the instrument remains healthy, Wiens adds.

A new one-sol plan is being uplinked to the rover.

Drill targets

Activities will include a drive to cover most of the roughly 164 feet (50 meters) remaining to a planned drill target. There are three targets in the pre-drive workspace.

Curiosity’s robotic arm will deploy the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) to target “Chippewa.”

APXS will get two 15-minute integrations; MAHLI will image from 25 and 5 centimeter distances.

ChemCam will target “Animikie” nearby. Mastcam will document that target plus “Barnum”, a piece of bedrock in between the other two.


Navcam will continue checking the atmospheric opacity and Mastcam will collect a four-image mosaic of “Taconite_crater.”

The rover’s Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD), Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) and REMS will continue taking environmental data, Wiens explains.

A “soliday” — effectively a leap day in which Earth has an extra day relative to Mars – is occurring. “Our next sol of uplink will be on Wednesday,” Wiens concludes.

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

Rover reaches 12 miles

A Curiosity traverse map through Sol 2104 has been issued.

The map shows the route driven by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity through the 2104 Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars (July 09, 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 2102 to Sol 2104, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 174.46 feet (53.18 meters), bringing the rover’s total odometry for the mission to 12.00 miles (19.32 kilometers).

Curiosity landed on Mars in August 2012.

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

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