Curiosity Mars rover made use of its Mastcam: Left camera to take this image on May 25, Sol 995.   Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mars rover made use of its Mastcam: Left camera to take this image on May 25, Sol 995.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has been characterizing the terrain and bedrock exposed in Marias Pass.

The robot’s recent drive has set in motion up close study of the contact between two different types of bedrock: the underlying Pahrump unit and the overlying Stimson unit.

That’s the word from Lauren Edgar, Mars Science Laboratory science team member and research geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Curiosity draws closer to explore two different types of bedrock, as seen in this Navcam Left B image taken on May 27 on Sol 997. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity draws closer to explore two different types of bedrock, as seen in this Navcam Left B image taken on May 27 on Sol 997.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Edgar said the plan now is focused on characterizing the contact in this new location, “and then bumping even closer to the outcrop to prepare for contact science” this week.

Dust devils, Phobos and Deimos

Curiosity’s ChemCam instrument is slated to assess the chemistry on either side of the contact.

The plan also includes some Mastcam mosaics to document the sedimentary structures, Edgar adds. Using Navcam observations, the search is also on for whirling dust devils in the area.

By Curiosity bumping up ever-closer to the outcrop the Mars machinery will acquire images for future targeting.

In an overnight duty, Curiosity is to acquire Mastcam images of Phobos to study aerosols in the atmosphere of Mars. Earlier, on Sol 995, Curiosity was to acquire several Mastcam observations of Deimos and stars to assess the nighttime atmospheric opacity.

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