Curiosity Front Hazcam Right B image acquired on Sol 1836, October 5, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Deep into Sol 1836, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover ran into uplink issues due to a Deep Space Network technical problem.

Reports Abigail Fraeman, a planetary geologist at NASA/JPL in Pasadena, California, Mars researchers worked hard to generate what they affectionately dubbed a “Frankenplan.”

That plan is defined as a schedule in which one mashes elements that were already prepared (the contact science hoped for on sol 1835) with new elements (a drive).

“We were able to pull this off because we were planning two sols today (1836-1837) instead of the one sol we planned yesterday,” Fraeman adds.

Vertical exposure

The plan on sol 1836 is to start with a remote sensing block that has the rover’s Chemistry and Camera (LIBS) observations of targets “Ecca” and “Lucknow.”

“These are the same targets we had planned to do contact science on yesterday. We are also taking Mastcam mosaics of target “Limpopo” and a nice vertical exposure that we may visit in the future,” Fraeman adds.

Mars scientists additionally managed to fit in a Mastcam tau observation and a Mastcam multispectral observation of an area named “Hotazel.” We will use the multispectral observation to document the spectral properties of the terrain in front of us. 

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo taken on Sol 183, October 3, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Bedrock properties

After finishing the remote sensing science block, researchers will repeat contact science that they had planned. The purpose of these contact science measurements is to document the properties of the bedrock on this middle plateau on Vera Rubin Ridge. “We will also squeeze in one more Mastcam tau measurement and a crater rim extinction image before the sun sets,” Fraeman explains.

“Our main activity on sol 1837,” Fraeman concludes, “is a drive to the east to continue on our exploration of Vera Rubin Ridge. We will collect a Mastcam multispectral observation of the brushed targets Ecca and Lucknow before we drive away. Whew!”


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Griffith Observatory Event