Curiosity’s location as of Sol 3074. Distance driven 15.48 miles (24.92 kilometers).
This map shows the route driven by NASA’s Curiosity rover since landing in Gale Crater on August 5, 2012.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 3076 tasks.

The robot is continuing its investigation of “Mont Mercou,” the tall outcrop of bedded sedimentary rock, reports Mark Salvatore, a planetary geologist at the University of Michigan.

Curiosity Front Hazard Avoidance Camera Right B image taken on Sol 3075, March 31, 2021.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“The science team has been navigating around the base of the cliff after having successfully drilled into the “Nontron” bedrock target,” Salvatore adds. “By imaging the cliff at different viewing geometries, we are able to change both position and illumination conditions, helping us to fully map the observed structures and properties of these sedimentary rocks.”

Curiosity Rear Hazard Avoidance Camera Left B photo acquired on Sol 3075, March 31, 2021.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Bedrock material

In a newly orchestrated plan, the team has identified a nodular bedrock target to characterize using the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument on the rover’s arm, which will provide information about the chemical make-up of this bedrock material.

Curiosity Mast Camera Left image taken on Sol 3074, March 30, 2021.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity will also be acquiring many images using both the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) and Mastcam instruments, as the rover is now on the eastern side of the cliff face.

Cliff face navigation

“Following these observations, Curiosity will then navigate to the western side of the cliff face to perform a similar suite of imaging observations, Salvatore explains.

Curiosity Mast Camera Left image taken on Sol 3074, March 30, 2021.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

These rock outcrops, where researchers can see bedding from multiple angles, Salvatore points out, “are a treasure for geologists as we try to unravel the ancient environmental conditions that were once present in Gale crater. The team is cognizant of the value of this outcrop, and so we are making sure to acquire all of the observations that we need before driving away from this location.”

Curiosity Mast Camera Right photo acquired on Sol 3074, March 30, 2021.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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