Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B photo taken on Sol 2434, June 12, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now carrying out Sol 2435 duties.

Reports Mariah Baker, a planetary geologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland: “It’s a good thing that Curiosity doesn’t have any competition on the road as she drives fervently across undulating terrain towards a large geologic ridge of unknown origin…informally named Waypoint 4.”

This Navcam image acquired on sol 2432 shows some of the rubbly terrain in front of Curiosity as well as the “Waypoint 4” ridge we are driving towards (upper right corner).
Curiosity Navcam Right B image acquired on Sol 2432, June 10, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Long drive

Following a long 144 feet (44-meter) drive to put the robot into its current location (on a similar, but smaller ridge), and two more drives of 82 feet (25-meters) were planned for this week to put the rover into a good vantage point for imaging the side of the ridge.

Curiosity Navcam Left B photo taken on Sol 2434, June 12, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“But the team decided to put the pedal to the metal and try to make it to this ridgeline in just one drive. Ridge features are common throughout the Glen Torridon unit, so characterizing the morphology and chemical composition of these ridges can place important constraints on their formation and on the overarching geologic history of this region. This will be the goal of our investigation at Waypoint 4,” Baker says. “Although her current priority is getting to the large ridge as quickly as possible, Curiosity will still conduct science along the way.”

Curiosity Navcam Left B photo taken on Sol 2434, June 12, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

End-of-drive location

Various contact science and remote sensing observations are planned, including Chemistry and Camera Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) on the target “Portessie,” and Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on target “Smoogro.”

Mastcam stereo images will also be acquired on “Portessie” and “Lossie.”

“Once these activities have concluded, the rover will start her lengthy drive over to Waypoint 4. Post-drive imaging, including standard Navcam, Hazcam, and Mastcam mosaics as well as an extended Navcam upper tier mosaic, will help us assess our end-of-drive location and will provide the first up-close look at the ridge in question,” Baker points out.

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




Road map

A newly released map shows Curiosity’s traverse through Sol 2432.

The map shows the route driven by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity through the 2432 Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars (June 10, 2019).

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 2429 to Sol 2432, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 112.26 feet (34.22 meters), bringing the rover’s total odometry for the mission to 12.88 miles (20.73 kilometers).

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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