Curiosity Navcam Right B image taken on Sol 2469, July 18, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2470 duties.

Reports Scott Guzewich, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Curiosity finds itself parked in front of a fascinating area of martian bedrock with clearly lighter and darker colored areas next to each other.

Curiosity Navcam Left B photo taken on Sol 2468, July 17, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“This will be a ‘full’ contact science location and the rover will spend the next few sols examining the rocks in this immediate area just in front of the Southern Outcrop,” Guzewich adds.

Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 2468, July 17, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Full dust-removal treatment

A target on the lighter-colored bedrock was termed “Solway Firth” and is a Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) target and the full dust-removal tool treatment before Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) observations.

Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 2468, July 17, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The second contact science location (without the dust removal) will be “Nith” on the darker-colored bedrock.

Drill inspection

A second sol plan is slated to include a rare ChemCam image of the rover’s drill bit, Guzewich notes, “to examine how it has been worn during our years on Mars.”

Curiosity Navcam Right B image taken on Sol 2469, July 18, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“We are into the cloudy season on Mars and included two Navcam movies to study the water ice clouds that frequent the skies above Gale Crater in the afternoons and evenings this time of year,” Guzewich adds. “Lastly, Mastcam will take a large, and sure to be spectacular, mosaic of the nearby Southern Outcrop.”

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