Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1319 April 22, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 1319 April 22, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

At this writing, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is carrying out Sol 1320 duties.

“It’s always exciting when we get to drill a new sample on Mars,” notes Lauren Edgar, a research geologist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona reports.

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1315, April 18, 2016 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1315, April 18, 2016
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Contact science went well on Sol 1319 Edgar explains, with a drill pre-load test suggested that the “Lubango” block might have moved slightly, but the plan is to drill in the weekend plan.

“In addition to the main drill activities, the plan includes several targeted science blocks, which will be used to characterize the drill location and search for the next potential drill site on unaltered Stimson bedrock,” Edgar points out.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on Sol 1319, April 22, 2016. MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on Sol 1319, April 22, 2016. MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Fingers crossed

Also on the weekend plan is Mastcam multispectral characterization of the drill hole, followed by several Mastcam mosaics.

“The color information provided by Mastcam is really helpful in distinguishing altered versus unaltered bedrock. We also planned a small mosaic to assess a fracture that crosscuts an impact crater,” Edgar says.

 

 

The science script also calls for shooting several Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) targets to assess the block that is set for drilling, and a few sites that the rover might bump to next.

Weekend science block includes an additional target to assess unaltered Stimson bedrock.

“Fingers crossed,” Edgar concludes, “for a successful drilling campaign!”

Curiosity inspection of its wheels using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on April 18, 2016, Sol 1315. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity inspection of its wheels using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on April 18, 2016, Sol 1315.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1315, April 18, 2016 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1315, April 18, 2016
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

 

 

Wheel inspection

Curiosity also recently performed a detailed look at its wheels, monitored on a regular basis due to damage caused by the one-ton rover rolling over Mars rocks since landing in August 2012.

 

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