Curiosity Front Hazcam Right B image taken on Sol 1960, February 10, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has just begun Sol 1961 operations and is to perform a weekend of activities at the same location it has been stationed at all week.

“While we’re ready and eager to see some new terrain, we had no shortage of interesting science targets to fill our plan,” reports Rachel Kronyak, a planetary geologist at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Long science block

On the first sol of the weekend plan (Sol 1961), the robot is to carry out a long science block filled with a suite of Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) observations: Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) measurements on bedrock targets “Glenfinnan” and “Skara Brae,” a long-distance Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) photo of the lower slopes of Mount Sharp, and a passive measurement of “Bloodstone Hill.”

Curiosity Navcam Right B photo acquired on Sol 1960, February 9, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

Change detection imagery

Curiosity is also scheduled to take a Mastcam image to document the LIBS targets and an additional Mastcam image for change detection.

“When we’re at a single location for an extended period of time, we like to take repeat Mastcam images of the same target area across multiple sols. This allows us to compare the images and look for any changes or movement in the field of view,” Kronyak explains.


Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) product from Sol 1960, February 10, 2018. MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

Also on tap, Curiosity will take a Navcam movie to look for dust devils.

Nighttime photos

In the evening, the rover will take Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) nighttime images of Glenfinnan and Skara Brae to take a closer look at some of the small-scale features within the rocks, with the additional benefit of some dust having been cleared by LIBS observations during the day.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) product from Sol 1960, February 10, 2018. MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

 

 

 

Kronyak notes that on the second sol, Sol 1962, the wheeled rover will drive to the next location at Vera Rubin Ridge, take some post-drive images, “and set ourselves up for an exciting week of contact and remote science!”

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