Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B image acquired on Sol 2148, August 22, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


NASA’s Curiosity rover is performing Sol 2149 duties.

“With seventeen sampling holes and several test holes, you might imagine that Curiosity is creating a rather long and erratic golf course in Gale crater,” explains Roger Wiens, a geochemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. “After all, Alan Shepard shot a golf ball on the Moon.”

The first two martian sampling holes, at Yellowknife Bay, are several kilometers away from the third hole, at Kimberley, Wiens adds, which is several kilometers from all the subsequent ones in the Murray formation.

Curiosity Mastcam Right photo taken on Sol 2148, August 22, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


“The distances between the first several holes might be too long for golf links on Earth, but maybe with reduced gravity and very little wind resistance, a mighty drive of over a kilometer might be possible,” Wiens notes. Unfortunately, the size of the holes drilled by Curiosity, at roughly 16 millimeters diameter, are too small for golf balls…so golf enthusiasts will have to wait a little longer to play on Mars.

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo acquired on Sol 2149, August 23, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL



Drill hole

Golfing aside, Curiosity continues to analyze the samples from the Stoer drill hole.

The rover and its robotic arm are stationary until scientists receive a green light from the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite and Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin) analyses.

The main activity of Curiosity recently is more analysis time for CheMin, which will run in the background, adds Wiens.

Vein and concretion features

In the meantime, Wiens reports, ChemCam gets to shoot its laser at “Ainshval,” “Tarskavaig,” and “Loch Aline,” which are interesting vein and concretion features on the rock surface in the vicinity of the drill hole.

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo acquired on Sol 2149, August 23, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

The robot has recently-imaged vein material and the rover’s Mastcam is set to image the new targets and also take another picture of the drill tailings.

There are Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) change-detection images to be taken just after sunset and just before sunrise, Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) active and passive observations are to be done, a dust-devil survey by Navcam, and Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) and Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) data collects are also on the schedule.

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