Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager photo produced on Sol 3068, March 24, 2021.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover at Gale Crater is now performing Sol 3069 duties.

“It takes careful planning to manage the rover’s battery and power, much like we all manage our cell phone batteries and try to keep them charged. But we have to plan several sols ahead,” reports Scott Guzewich, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

This recent Mastcam image shows the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite inlet covers. Photo taken on Sol 3065, March 21, 2021.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Usually when Mars researchers plan a Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite activity, Guzewich adds, they expect a power “gift” in the next sol where SAM does not use as much power as we budgeted.

Curiosity Front Hazard Avoidance Camera Left image taken on Sol 3068, March 24, 2021.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

However, that was not the case, and combined with late changes to a recent plan, they had to deal with 5 percent less power than expected. That meant a drastic reduction in extra science time.

Curiosity Left B Navigation Camera photo acquired on Sol 3068, March 24, 2021.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

 

“We managed to still fit in a ChemCam [Chemistry and Camera] long-distance image mosaic, but otherwise are limited to our drill campaign activities” where the rover will dump the remaining powdered rock in the drill onto the surface and conduct contact science on that material with the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), Guzewich concludes.

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