Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill


Now in Sol 2086, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover continues to probe the Vera Rubin Ridge.

Christopher Edwards, a planetary geologist at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona notes that the last time Curiosity drove anywhere was 30 martian days ago.

Curiosity Front Hazcam Right B photo acquired on Sol 2085, June 18, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“A lot has happened in these past 30 sols. The rover got its groove back and successfully carried out a feed extended percussion drill activity and delivered drilled rock powder samples to the analytical instruments internal to the rover,” Edwards adds.








Resurrected drilling duties

Two instruments, the robot’s Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin) and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) mass spectrometer/gas chromatograph/tunable laser spectrometer suite — have been without fresh samples to analyze for months.

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 2084, June 17, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“Of course over the time while the drill was inoperable, Curiosity still carried out some fantastic scientific investigations examining the nature of the Vera Rubin Ridge,” Edwards points out. “With its newly resurrected drilling capabilities, Curiosity will do one last pass over the Vera Rubin Ridge units, now that the rest of the instrument suite onboard can have access to this and future drill samples.”

Hit the road

Edwards reports that after completing the last little bit of drill related activities designed to characterize the sampling site in detail Curiosity will hit the road on the second sol of this three sol plan.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo produced on Sol 2083, June 16, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“However, the rover won’t be driving very far due to the rough terrain, only around 13 meters [43 feet]. We’ll carry out the usual suite of imaging at this site following the drive to make sure we can acquire the needed data to support contact science in the next plan. In the coming months, Curiosity will end its stint on the Vera Rubin Ridge and continue up Mt. Sharp,” Edwards concludes.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo produced on Sol 2083, June 16, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


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