One of many Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) selfie photos taken on Sol 2291, January 16, 2019. MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now wrapping up Sol 2291 duties.

The robot is concluding a single sol of activities on Sol 2291, reports Rachel Kronyak, a planetary geologist at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

“As we begin to wrap up our activities at the Rock Hall drill site, Sol 2291 is chock full of science observations,” Kronyak reports. That sol was to begin with an hour-long science block.

Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo taken on Sol 2291, January 16, 2019.

Dust levels

Curiosity’s environmental group (ENV) planned several activities to measure increasing dust levels in the atmosphere; these observations will occur at the start of the science block.

Following ENV’s activities, the geology group (GEO) planned a Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) observation on a soil target near the rover named “Loch Monar” as well as a long-distance Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) image of the sulfate unit on Mount Sharp, Kronyak adds.

Following ChemCam, Mastcam will take images of targets “Loch Monar” and “Stroma.”

“The “Stroma” target is an interesting small rock just in front of the rover,” Kronyak points out.

Curiosity Navcam Right A photo acquired on Sol 2289, January 14, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Self portrait imagery

After the science block, the plan calls for taking a series of images with the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera.

Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo taken on Sol 2291, January 16, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“First, we’ll take a 57-frame self portrait, or selfie,” Kronyak notes. “Up next for MAHLI is part one of a wheel imaging campaign, which we do periodically to monitor the health of the wheels.”

Drive slated

The plan calls for more images to be taken after a Curiosity drive later on in the week.

Overnight, the to-do list has the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) performing an analysis on the Rock Hall dump pile. “This will be our second observation on the dump pile,” Kronyak explains, as a weekend analysis didn’t get the entire pile within APXS’s field of view.

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo taken on Sol 2291, January 16, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo taken on Sol 2291, January 16, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Tuesday of this week was a no-planning “soliday,” which happens approximately every 38 days. “These solidays allow our Earth schedule to catch back up with the slightly longer Mars day. We will resume planning Sol 2292 on Wednesday,” Kronyak concludes.

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