Curiosity Navcam Right B image acquired on Sol 2095, June 28, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Now performing Sol 2096 duties, NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has made a steep drive on Sol 2094 and is back over the crest of Vera Rubin Ridge and enjoying the view of flatter terrain ahead.

That’s the report from Lauren Edgar, a planetary geologist at the USGS in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“Everything was going smoothly and we were excited to plan some potential contact science, until we found a rock under the left front wheel that might make Curiosity unstable during arm activities,” Edgar explains.


Weekend plan

At the last minute Mars scientists swapped out Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI)

MAHLI and Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) activities for some additional remote sensing.

“We still packed a lot of science into the two-sol plan, and we’ll have another opportunity to do contact science in the weekend plan,” Edgar explains.

The first sol plan included a Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) and Mastcam observations of “Crosby” and “Hekkla Lake” to characterize the bedrock at this location.

“This plan is also full of atmospheric observations to monitor the ongoing dust storm, which will provide some great data from the surface regarding this unique event,” Edgar adds.

Curiosity Mastcam Left image acquired on Sol 2094, June 27, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


Rover deck

“We also planned Mastcam imaging of the rover deck to monitor the accumulation and movement of fine material,” Edgar continues, “as well as a number of ChemCam calibration activities under high atmospheric opacity conditions.”

The plan calls for the robot to continue driving to the south and it will acquire post-drive imaging to prepare for the weekend plan.

Curiosity Navcam Right B image acquired on Sol 2095, June 28, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Hoping for clear skies

Overnight, the rover’s Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin) was slated to carry out the last analysis of the Duluth drill sample.

A second sol plain outlined more atmospheric monitoring and calibration activities, along with a ChemCam Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS) observation to autonomously target bedrock in the rover’s new location.

“Hoping for clearer skies,” Edgar concludes, “and fewer loose rocks under our wheels!”

New map!

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Meanwhile, a new Curiosity Rover location map for Sol 2094 has been issued.

The map shows the route driven by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity through the 2094 Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars (June 28, 2018).

Numbering of the dots along the line indicate the sol number of each drive. North is up. From Sol 2092 to Sol 2094, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 114.27 feet (34.83 meters).

Since touching down in Bradbury Landing in August 2012, Curiosity has driven 11.91 miles (19.17 kilometers).

The base image from the map is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE) in NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.


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