Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1197, December 19, 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1197, December 19, 2015.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Landing on Mars in August 2012, NASA’s Curiosity rover has driven closer to and imaged the lee side of Namib Dune, “and they reveal a lot of great details about the dune morphology,” reports Lauren Edgar, a research geologist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Today, Sunday, is a day without planning to allow Earth and Mars schedules to sync back up, Edgar notes. The rover has entered Sol 1199.

Curiosity’s camera system count is now over 290,000 images of the surrounding Mars landscape.

 

Slated activity is dumping the “Greenhorn” post-sieve sample and then analyzing it with both the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and the robot’s Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS).

Another Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1197, December 19, 2015 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Another Curiosity Mastcam Left image taken on Sol 1197, December 19, 2015
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The plan calls for Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) viewing of targets “Duineveld” and “Spitzkop” to study the grain size and morphology of different parts of the dune’s slipface, Edgar explains.

Mastcam imaging of several targets for change detection is built into the plan.

On the schedule is testing of software for autonomous target selection, and using Mastcam and Navcam to monitor the Martian atmosphere.

Curiosity's robotic arm busy at work, shown in this Navcam Left B image, taken on Sol 1198 December 20, 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity’s robotic arm busy at work, shown in this Navcam Left B image, taken on Sol 1198 December 20, 2015.
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.

Edgar adds: “We’ll be in the same location for a little while, so hopefully we’ll have the chance to observe some sand movement!”

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