Curiosity Navcam Right B image acquired on Sol 2454, July 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now in Sol 2455, performing science duties.

Curiosity Navcam Right B photo taken on Sol 2454, July 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Reports Melissa Rice, a planetary geologist at Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington: “Curiosity is currently near the top of Harlaw Rise, having made a slight diversion from the southward drive through the clay-bearing unit to explore the nice exposures of rocks on this hill.”
 A recent plan called for Curiosity to investigate two rock targets in front of the rover: “Perth” and “Aberdeen.”

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo produced on Sol 2454, July 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Closer look

There is only enough time in this plan to put the arm on one of these two targets, Rice adds, so Perth will get a closer look with the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) microscopic imager and Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument, and “Aberdeen” will get shot by the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) laser.

“The Mastcam cameras will document both targets. After that, Curiosity will make a short drive further up the hill to a spot where both of these rock types might be better exposed,” Rice points out.

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo acquired on Sol 2453, July 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Name game

“Why do we give names like “Perth” and “Aberdeen” to Curiosity’s rock targets? How does the largest city in Western Australia end up right next to a Washington State timber town? As a Long-Term Planner for the Curiosity science team, one of my responsibilities is to keep track of the names that the team uses, and to make sure that they fit within the theme for this portion of the rover’s traverse,” Rice explains.

Curiosity is currently in a region of the team’s geologic map called the Torridon Quadrangle, named after a village in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland, Ricet adds, which is near an important geological formation called the Torridonian Supergroup.

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo acquired on Sol 2453, July 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“Therefore, all of the names assigned to targets in this region of Curiosity’s traverse come from landforms, geologic formations, and towns in that part of Scotland. So the namesakes of today’s ‘Perth’ and ‘Aberdeen’ rock targets on Mars are the same as those of all the other Perths and Aberdeens out there: Perth, Scotland, and Aberdeen, Scotland,” Rice says.

Front Hazcam Left B image taken on Sol 2454, July 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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