Curiosity Right B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 3352, January 10, 2022.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover at Gale Crater is now performing Sol 3353 duties.

“On the second sol of the weekend plan, Curiosity took an unexpected break,” reports Michelle Minitti, a planetary geologist at Framework in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The robot stopped its arm motion on the way to deploying the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to image the wheels for their regular check up.

“As such, her arm is jutted up in the air,” Minitti adds, “and the rest of the rover stayed there the rest of the weekend. The science and engineering teams very much care that Curiosity is waving her hand in the air, and quickly set about recovering the arm so we could complete wheel imaging and our drive to ‘The Prow.’”

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo taken on Sol 3353, January 11, 2022.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Interesting bedrock and structures

Before take two of wheel imaging and the drive, Minitti explains that there was an opportunity to gather more data from the interesting bedrock and structures on this area.

On the plan was use of the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) to shoot “Sucre,” a horizon filled with resistant nodules, to see if the nodules belie a chemistry change.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo taken on Sol 3353, January 11, 2022.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

ChemCam was then slated to acquire Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) mosaics of two different parts of The Prow, “Ptari” and “Panari,” “to give us more insight into the structure we are heading toward,” Minitti reports.

Curiosity’s Mastcam will support ChemCam by imaging Sucre and another target from the weekend, a dark, flat resistant feature that was targeted by ChemCam autonomously.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo taken on Sol 3353, January 11, 2022.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Prominent layering

Mastcam is to keep additionally busy with stereo mosaics of “Indio” and “Mutum,” – “both areas with prominent layering that might help reveal the orientation of the bedrock, and a single image of ‘Maverick Rock,’ which earned its name from the complex mix of bedrock that appears present within,” Minitti adds.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo taken on Sol 3353, January 11, 2022.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Throughout the plan, there’s monitoring of the environment below and above the robot with the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) experiment passive and active, regular Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) measurements, and use of the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD), a Mastcam image to keep tabs on the amount of dust in the atmosphere, and Navcam images to look for dust devils and clouds.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo taken on Sol 3353, January 11, 2022.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“We expect that when we return for planning,” Minitti concludes, “we will have all these science goodies in the bag, as well as new wheel images and a new parking spot by The Prow. Stay tuned!”

Curiosity Right B Navigation Camera photo taken on Sol 3353, January 11, 2022.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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