Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 2737, April 18, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now engaged in Sol 2739 duties.

Curiosity encountered an issue with its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), reports Melissa Rice, a planetary geologist at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.

Up in the air

Curiosity Mast Camera Right photo acquired on Sol 2737, April 18, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Mast Camera Right photo acquired on Sol 2737, April 18, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

New imagery shows the MAHLI instrument literally up in the air due to an issue with MAHLI on sol 2735 that caused Curiosity’s arm motion to stop before the instrument was positioned on the rock target “Creig.”

“Before the issue occurred, Curiosity had used the Dust Removal Tool (DRT) to brush the target clean,” Rice explains. The good news is that the robot’s Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument still acquired its data on sol 2735, even though the arm was pointing it up and away from the intended rock.

“This dataset can tell us about the chemical composition of Mars’ atmosphere,” Rice adds, “and we had been intending to collect this information in the near future anyway. Looks like Curiosity was just eager to study the atmospheric chemistry ahead of schedule!”

Curiosity Rear Hazard Avoidance Camera Right B image taken on Sol 2738, April 19, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Resume driving

The focus of late has been on diagnosing the issue with MAHLI. In addition, Curiosity will continue to explore the vicinity by taking Mastcam images of the Creig DRT spot…the rover’s wheel tracks, the pediment behind the rover,” Rice says.


Curiosity Right B Navigation Camera image acquired on Sol 2738, April 19, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Right B Navigation Camera image acquired on Sol 2738, April 19, 2020.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curiosity will also use the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument to study small-scale features in the outcrop, which is rife with veins and nodules: these targets are named “Beinn_an_Dudhaich,” “Beinn_Alligin,” “Beinn_Mhor,” “Ben_Arthur,” and “Ben_Wyvis.”

“Once the issue with MAHLI is understood,” Rice concludes, “Curiosity will resume driving northeast to the next area of interest.”

Leave a Reply