Curiosity Front Hazcam Right B image taken on Sol 1821, September 20, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is carrying out science duties in Sol 1822. It’s “onward and upward” for the robot, reports Lauren Edgar, a planetary geologist; at the USGS in Flagstaff, Arizona.

On Sol 1821, Curiosity successfully completed contact science activities at “Pennessewassee” and “Passadumkeag,” Edgar notes. “Perhaps in an effort to get to more easily pronounceable rock targets, today’s tactical team planned a nice long drive towards our next waypoint on Vera Rubin Ridge.”

Clouds above

The scripted Sol 1822 plan begins with a Navcam movie to look for clouds above the northern rim of the crater. Then Curiosity will turn its attention towards nearby bedrock targets, using both Mastcam and its Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument to assess the spectral character of a recent dust removal target called “Passadumkeag” and to assess the composition and sedimentary structures exposed at “Hypocrites Ledge.”

“We’ll also use Mastcam to monitor the movement of fines on the rover deck,” Edgar explains.

Curiosity Navcam Left B photo taken on Sol 1819, September 18, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Gearing up for drive

Then Curiosity will gear up for a drive of roughly 130 feet (40 meters), as the robot works its way towards the next waypoint.

Downlink data volume was a recent challenge, so the team had to think carefully about the priorities of post-drive imaging to prepare for possible touch-and-go contact science and other remote sensing in the next plan.

Curiosity Rear Hazcam Right B image acquired on Sol 1821, September 20, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Mountain-climbing robot

The afternoon post-drive imaging block also contains some extended Navcam coverage for additional geologic context and targeting, as well as two Navcam observations to search for clouds and monitor the wind direction near the zenith, Edgar notes.

“With drives like these,” Edgar concludes, “we’re really reminded that we have a mountain-climbing robot on Mars!”

Curiosity Mastcam Right image of rover brushes, taken on Sol 1818, September 17, 2017.                                 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS




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