Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm, acquired this image on Sol 1943, January 23, 2018. Photo is part of a selfie mosaic soon to be released.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Scott Guzewich, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, reports that a recent drive of the Curiosity Mars rover has put the robot near the edge of the Vera Rubin Ridge.

“Curiosity diverted from our primary ‘Mount Sharp Ascent Route’ a couple weeks ago as we continued to investigate the outcrops of bluish-toned rock that are scattered around this region of the Vera Rubin Ridge,” Guzewich notes.

Curiosity Front Hazcam Right B image taken on Sol 1944, January 24, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The rover is now in Sol 1945 overlooking the “clay unit” that it will eventually reach.

Curiosity Rear Hazcam Right B image taken on Sol 1944, January 24, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech



Work to do

“We still have work to do in the hematite-rich Vera Rubin Ridge and so we must return to our original path eastward along the ridge and will begin that with a drive on the second sol of today’s plan,” Guzewich adds.

But before the rover departs, Curiosity will finish investigating the science goal of this location: studying a transition in rock tones between more gray-blue tones and those familiar martian orange-reds.

Contact science

Contact science is slated on one of the redder-toned rocks, “Loch Gairloch”, with Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), Guzewich explains.

That will be followed by a series of Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) rasters on a suite of both bluish and reddish rocks in the rover’s workspace: “Callander,” “Moidart,” and “Kirkcolm.”

Curiosity Navcam Left B photo taken on Sol 1944, January 24, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In addition, Mastcam images will be taken of those nearby targets as well as some more distant features, “Eriskay,” “Glen Tilt,” and “Broadford” along the rover’s future drive path, Guzewich concludes.


New traverse map

Meanwhile, a new Curiosity traverse map through Sol 1944 has been issued.

The map shows the route driven by the robot through the 1944 Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars (January 24, 2018).

Numbering of the dots along the line indicate the sol number of each drive. North is up. The scale bar is 1 kilometer (~0.62 mile).

From Sol 1942 to Sol 1944, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 47.88 feet (14.60 meters), bringing the rover’s total odometry for the mission to 11.21 miles (18.05 kilometers).

The base image from the map is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE) in NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image acquired on Sol 1943, January 23, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Navcam Right B photo acquired on Sol 1944, January 24, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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