Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1552, December 17, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Now in Sol 1555, the Curiosity Mars rover made a short weekend drive. The robot is now at a new location “with plenty of science targets to choose from,” reports Ryan Anderson, a planetary scientist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. “It has been quite a while since we had a plan with this many new target names!”

The Sol 1555 plan starts off with a remote sensing science block. Navcam and Mastcam both have atmospheric observations, and then the Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) will analyze four targets: “Somes Sound,” “Schoodic Peninsula,” “South Bubble,” and “Schooner Head.”

Curiosity acquired this Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo on December 17, 2016, Sol 1552. MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity’s Mastcam is slated then to acquire a number of mosaics covering the targets “Old Soaker,” “Squid Cove,” “Sieur de Monts,” “Goat Trail” and “Bald Peak.”

Short bump

Later on Sol 1555, the plan calls for a short “bump” to position the rover for possible contact science, Anderson explains. “After the bump, we’ll collect some post-drive images to help with targeting.”

On Sol 1556, on the schedule is use of the robot’s Navcam to make an atmospheric observation to watch for clouds.

Sol 1557 is slated to involve a routine engineering diagnostic activity for the Hazcams, “but otherwise Sols 1556 and 1557 are pretty quiet,” Anderson concludes.

Curiosity Rear Hazcam Right B image taken on Sol 1554, December 19, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Dates of planned rover activities are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.

Traverse map

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Curiosity website has posted a new “Traverse Map” showing the robot’s trek through Sol 1553.

The map shows the route driven by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity through the 1553 Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars, as of December 19, 2016.

Numbering of the dots along the line indicate the sol number of each drive. North is up. The scale bar is 1 kilometer (~0.62 mile).
The base image from the map is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE) in NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

From Sol 1526 to Sol 1553, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 24.20 feet (7.38 meters), bringing the rover’s total odometry for the mission to 9.34 miles (15.03 kilometers).

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