Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 2121, July 25, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now carrying out Sol 2121 tasks.

Reports Michelle Minitti, a planetary geologist at Framework in Silver Spring, Maryland, Mars dealt scientists a winning hand, yielding a sufficiently flat parking space after a recent short bump that allows Curiosity to proceed with a plan to drill in an area of the “Vera Rubin Ridge.”

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo taken on Sol 2120, July 24, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“Our current parking spot does not exhibit as strong a hematite signal from orbit as the site of our last drill attempt,” Minitti notes, “but it still importantly provides an opportunity to sample the ‘Pettegrove Point’ member of the Vera Rubin Ridge.”

Curiosity Mastcam Left photo acquired on Sol 2120, July 24, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Drill target

The focus of late has been almost solely on characterizing the drill target, melodiously named “Ailsa Craig,” using the robot’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) after brushing it with the rover’s Dust Removal Tool.

“The rover will also place the drill in contact with the target and push into it to test the target’s stability for drilling,” Minitti adds. If luck holds, Curiosity will soon attempt new drilling activities.

“The science team managed to squeeze one observation unrelated to drilling into the plan…a single image of the sky to monitor the dust in the atmosphere,” Minitti concludes.

New road map

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Meanwhile, a new Curiosity traverse map through Sol 2120 has been issued.

The map shows the route driven by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity through the 2120 Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars (July 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 2119 to Sol 2120, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 6.52 feet (1.99 meters), bringing the rover’s total odometry for the mission to 12.10 miles (19.47 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 Left photo acquired on Sol 2120, July 24, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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