Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B image taken on Sol 2395, May 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has just begun Sol 2396 duties.

The drop off of “Kilmarie” drill sample to the robot’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite on Sol 2293 appeared to be successful, reports Michelle Minitti, a planetary geologist at Framework in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Full results of the SAM analysis to be assessed.

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 2393 April 30, 2019, show sample inlet (one open) of the rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Volatile, organic makeup

“The results are needed to help determine if we will dive even further into the volatile and organic makeup of the Kilmarie sample,” Minitti adds. “There was no sitting around and twiddling actuators, however, even though the amount of power available was limited.”

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo acquired on Sol 2394, May 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Curiosity will gather more details about the Kilmarie sample mineralogy via another Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin) integration, and also pepper a suite of broken up bedrock fragments around the rover – “Deinabo,” “Durnhill,” and “Dumyat” – with Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) shots to compare their chemistry to that of the more-coherent bedrock that Kilmarie represents.

Curiosity Navcam Right B image taken on Sol 2394, May 1, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Looking uphill

The rover is slated to acquire a long distance Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) mosaic, Minitti explains, “looking uphill toward the part of the Mount Sharp stratigraphy that is observed to have a strong spectral signature of sulfate from orbit.”

Changes caused by the wind are to be monitored by comparing the single Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) image acquired in a new plan to one acquired right after Curiosity’s arrival at Kilmarie on Sol 2381.

Changes in the environment will be monitored with a Navcam cloud movie and regular Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) and Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) measurements.

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