Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 3504, June 15, 2022.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover at Gale Crater is now performing Sol 3504 duties.

Back on Sol 3496 the rover plan did not execute due to an issue onboard the rover that took a few days to investigate, reports Michelle Minitti, a planetary geologist at Framework in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Curiosity returned to normal operations, and researchers were able to accomplish everything that was in the Sol 3496 plan…and more.

Curiosity Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) photo acquired on Sol 3504, June 15, 2022.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

“More was possible because we had slightly different communication windows between Curiosity and Earth in this plan than in the Sol 3496 plan. This meant we could wait to drive to our next location on the second sol of this two sol plan giving us more time in this workspace,” Minitti adds.

Dust Removal Tool action as seen by Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). Photo produced on Sol 3503, June 14, 2022.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Cool evening temperatures

First and foremost, added was use of the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) because it could run in the cool evening temperatures of Sol 3503.

“We selected a nice smooth patch of bedrock,” Minitti notes, the target “Omai,” then brushed it with the Dust Removal Tool before imaging it with the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and analyzing it with APXS.

MAHLI will reattempt a small mosaic across the prominent resistant veins in this area at the target “Wandapa,” and will image the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam’s) “eye” to monitor the state of that part of the instrument.

Curiosity Front Hazard Avoidance Camera Right B image taken on Sol 3503, June 14, 2022.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Relationship to bedrock

“Another sol to plan meant we could add another ChemCam raster, as well. In addition to ‘Mahdia,’ the previously-selected bedrock target, we added ‘Murupu,’ a smoother material visible on the upper surface of the rock. This smoother material might be one of the veins that cut through the rocks here, so getting chemistry on it would be helpful to understand its relationship to the bedrock,” Minitti explains.

ChemCam replanned their long distance Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) mosaic of one of the features along the upper portion of “Gediz Vallis Ridge.”

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 3504, June 15, 2022.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Mastcam had a mix of previously-planned and new observations,” Minitti points out. “The former included three stereo mosaics, two of which covered the dramatic stratigraphy and layering in this area at targets ‘Serra Mara’ and ‘Eboropu.’ The third covered a smaller, but still interesting, area of sand motion near the rover at target ‘Karto.’”

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 3504, June 15, 2022.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Clear sailing?

“New observations included two stereo mosaics that stretched from our workspace to our drive target to help scout the path ahead and provide context for where we are headed,” Minitti reports. “Mastcam will also observe the brushed surface at Omai with its multispectral capabilities.”

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo produced on Sol 3503, June 14, 2022.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS), Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD), and Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) are to be back at it at their usual cadence.

Navcam is slated to acquire a dust devil movie, cloud movie, and an image to monitor the amount of dust in the atmosphere.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo produced on Sol 3503, June 14, 2022.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

 

 

“Hopefully Navcam sees clear sailing up ahead for Curiosity,” Minitti concludes, “after our break in the action!”

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