Curiosity's Mastcam Left camera image taken on Sol 1260, February 21, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity’s Mastcam Left camera image taken on Sol 1260, February 21, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is on the prowl during Sol 1262, driving toward Naukluft Plateau.

“We’re gearing up for a nice long drive toward the “Naukluft Plateau,” reports Ryan Anderson, a planetary scientist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center.

Anderson explains that the sol 1262 plan is to start off with Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) studies of the bedrock targets: “Gemsboktal” and “Ghaub.”

The rover’s Mastcam is to be used to document those bedrock targets, also to be used to take a picture of the interesting wind-blown ripples of the target “Hoachanas.”

Driving northwest

After that activity, Anderson adds that the plan calls for the rover to drive some 230 feet (70 meters) or so to the northwest, stopping on a small ridge. “After the drive, the rover will do standard post-drive imaging of our new surroundings.”

Curiosity Navcam Left B image, taken on Sol 1261, February 22, 2016. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Navcam Left B image, taken on Sol 1261, February 22, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The plan also calls for Curiosity’s Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin) to be used overnight to analyze a sample from Scoop #5 on the target “Gobabeb.”

The Sol 1263 schedule includes untargeted observations.

Dust and sand build-up

Mastcam will observe the rover’s deck to assess how much dust and sand are on the rover, and ChemCam has two long distance Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) mosaics of the stratigraphy of the Peace Vallis alluvial fan. “These can be untargeted because they’re so far away that the camera pointing doesn’t really change much when we drive,” points out Anderson.

Self-inspection of its wheels. Curiosity's Mastcam Left snagged this image on Sol 1260, February 21, 2016 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Self-inspection of its wheels. Curiosity’s Mastcam Left snagged this image on Sol 1260, February 21, 2016
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

 

As always, planned rover activities are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.

 

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