Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B photo taken on Sol 2154, August 28, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has just entered Sol 2155.

Reports Michelle Minitti, a planetary geologist at Framework in Silver Spring, Maryland, if all had gone according to plan over the weekend, scientists would be seeing a nice pile of drill fines in a rover image.

Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 2154, August 28, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Alas, a slight hiccup in the sample dump process meant that the ‘Stoer’ sample was still in the drill and turret. Fortunately, the vast majority of the weekend activities executed unhindered by the sample dumping fault,” allowing the team to focus on recovering the dump-related activities.

Sample dump

Reattempted sample dump appears successful in this Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo taken on Sol 2154, August 28, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“We had enough power to reattempt the sample dump,” Minitti adds, with the robot’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) imaging on the dump pile, and two Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) integrations on the dump pile.

Planned Mastcam and Navcam images of the workspace after the sample is dumped will enable scientists to target the dump pile with Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) in the next couple of sols.


A MAHLI image of the drill hole and tailings will help researchers plan APXS placement on the tailings shortly.

Waning dust storm

“In addition to making forward progress on drill activities, Curiosity continued to learn more about the dust kicked up by the now-waning dust storm conditions,” Minitti says.

A weekend dress rehearsal of a ChemCam passive observation of the Sun was successful, a new plan included the complete observation.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 2153, August 27, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“Typically, we avoid pointing ChemCam at the Sun (really, all cameras!), but this carefully designed observation will acquire ChemCam passive data that will characterize the spectral properties of the atmospheric dust kicked up by the dust storm,” Minitti concludes.


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