Curiosity Mastcam Left Sol 1194 on December 16, 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mastcam Left Sol 1194 on December 16, 2015.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

Curiosity on Mars has entered Sol 1196 recently driving nearly 155 feet (47 meters) around the lee side of Namib Dune.

“The latest Navcam images reveal many beautiful aeolian features on the slipface and interdune deposits,” reports Lauren Edgar, a research geologist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center and a member of Mars Science Laboratory science team.

The plan call for Mastcam imagery to be taken of the brink of the dune and its slipface to characterize the dune morphology, Edgar adds. “We’ll also use Mastcam to document an outcrop with an unusual purple hue.”

Curiosity Front Hazcam Right B Sol 1195, December 16, 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Front Hazcam Right B Sol 1195, December 16, 2015.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Also slated is driving the rover even closer to the dune slipface, taking post-drive pictures to prepare for the upcoming weekend of rover duties. A 360-degree Mastcam mosaic for geologic context is in the plan, as is monitoring the wind as Curiosity moves through the dune field.

Rover scientists are having a challenge staging all of the observations into a plan while staying within data volume constraints.

Edgar notes: “It’s hard to curb your imaging appetite when the views are so spectacular!”

As always, carrying out planned rover activities are subject to change due to a variety of factors.

NOTE: For more on Curiosity’s investigation of Martian dunes, go to this new video published on December 15, 2015.

The video spotlights Curiosity’s first investigation of active sand dunes on another planet. Studying the Bagnold Dunes on Mars will help scientists understand the physics of Martian dunes and how they move.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur_TeOs3S64&feature=youtu.be

This May 22, 2015, view from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) in NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the "Marias Pass" area where a lower and older geological unit of mudstone -- the pale zone in the center of the image -- lies in contact with an overlying geological unit of sandstone. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This May 22, 2015, view from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) in NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows the “Marias Pass” area where a lower and older geological unit of mudstone — the pale zone in the center of the image — lies in contact with an overlying geological unit of sandstone.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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