Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 1782, August 11, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

 

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now wrapping up Sol 1782 science duties.

Rachel Kronyak, a planetary geologist at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, reports that the robot is busily taking measurements as it climbs Mount Sharp.

Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B image taken on Sol 1782, August 11, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

 

Up Mount Sharp

“Lately, one of our biggest science objectives is to conduct bedrock [Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer] APXS measurements with every 5-meter climb in elevation,” Kronyak notes. “This allows us to systematically analyze geochemical changes in the Murray formation as we continue to climb Mount Sharp.”

Curiosity Navcam Right B image acquired on Sol 1782, August 11, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

For example, a recent drive by Curiosity brought it 20 feet (6 meters) higher in elevation, so another “touch and go” was orchestrated.

 

 

 

Slopes of Vera Rubin Ridge

On tap is analyzing the Murray target “Thorne” with APXS and the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), followed by a short Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) observation on the same target.

Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 1782, August 11, 2017.

“We’ll also take several additional Mastcam images of ‘Devilled Rocks’ and ‘Butter’ which will document blocks on the slopes of the Vera Rubin Ridge (VRR),” Kronyak adds.

Following the robot’s “touch” activities, the plan is to “go” and complete another  drive.

 

 

 

Weekend plan

“To set ourselves up for a nice weekend plan, we’ll take some post-drive images,” Kronyak explains.

Standard Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) and Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) blocks of time are to be carried out.

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo acquired on Sol 1781, August 10, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“We should be arriving at our next VRR imaging stop after today’s drive,” Kronyak concludes, “so stay tuned for exciting Mastcam mosaics that we’ll be acquiring over the weekend!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clouds on the horizon

Meanwhile, JPL has issued an interesting view of clouds drifting across the sky above a Martian horizon.

An accelerated sequence of enhanced images from Curiosity can be seen here:

https://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/imgs/2017/08/msl-mars-clouds-PIA21840-full.gif

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