Dunes as captured by Curiosity Mars rover’s Navcam Right B on November 24, 2015, Sol 1173. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Dunes as captured by Curiosity Mars rover’s Navcam Right B on November 24, 2015, Sol 1173.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has driven toward the Bagnold Dunes.

The main focus of the plan is to monitor the dunes and document the bedrock along the way, explains Lauren Edgar of the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Using the rover’s Mastcam observations are to be made of two of the dunes, as well as a small sandsheet near the robot.

Navcam observations were to be staged to monitor the atmosphere and search for dust devils, Edgar adds.

Also on the check list are creating Mastcam mosaics to monitor the dunes and bedrock under different lighting conditions.

Late afternoon lighting can be very useful to bring out subtle textures in the dunes and rocks, “and will help us figure out the best time of day to image these features during the Bagnold Dune campaign,” Edgar points out.

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