Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1814, September 13, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has just begun Sol 1815 science duties – and the scenery is outstanding.

Curiosity continues the ascent up Vera Rubin Ridge. The focus of a last weekend plan was on carefully documenting the changes in stratigraphy as the robot leaves the Murray bedrock.

For the robot, there is a bevy of interesting targets and contrasting colors, note rover science team members.

Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1814, September 13, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Stunning views

“As we’ve seen from the past several weeks and months of imaging, Curiosity’s approach to and ascent of the Vera Rubin Ridge (VRR) has provided us with stunning views of the Mount Sharp terrain,” reports Rachel Kronyak, a planetary geologist at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. “Our parking spot after this weekend’s drive was no exception.”

Curiosity Rear Hazcam Right B photo acquired on Sol 1814, September 13, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity’s action plan is to continue its trek up the lower strata of the VRR and have no shortage of multi-colored bedrock targets to image and analyze.

Dark bedrock target

A two sol plan – Sol 1814, 1815 — scripted a touch-and-go Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) analysis, Kronyak adds, plus a full suite of Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photos of the dark bedrock target “Pumpkin Nob.”

“We’ll also perform a multispectral Mastcam observation on ‘Weymouth Point,’ a region of VRR terrain just ahead of Curiosity,” Kronyak notes. Following a drive by the rover, on tap is taking standard post-drive images and a Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) active observation.

Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B image acquired on Sol 1814, September 12, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Mars environment

On Sol 1815, scientists have put together a short mid-day science block, during which environmental researchers will conduct a suprahorizon movie, a dust devil survey and standard Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) observations.

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