Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 2527, September 15, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is closing out Sol 2529 duties.

The Mars robot has scored its 23rd drill hole on Mars, reports Mark Salvatore, a planetary geologist at the University of Michigan. “Coming in at roughly 43 millimeters depth…and both the rover and new drill hole are happy and healthy!”

Salvatore noted that Curiosity drilled into the same block as a previous drill target over the weekend, reaching full drill depth with only a little percussion needed.

“The new drill hole is named, you guessed it, Glen Etive 2!”

Curiosity Mastcam Left p;hoto acquired on Sol 2528, September 16, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Drill hole, tailings

“Following the successful drilling this weekend,” Salvatore adds, “Curiosity spent lots of time documenting the new hole so that the science team could get to work on Monday morning with plans to characterize it. We’ll be planning all of the standard chemistry measurements of the drill hole and drill tailings starting on Wednesday.”

But first, Mars scientists plan to calibrate the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument to prepare for all of this upcoming work.

Calibration activities

Salvatore points out that on Sol 2529, Curiosity was to calibrate its laser-induced breakdown spectrometer by measuring its titanium calibration target.

Curiosity Navcam Right B image acquired on Sol 2528, September 16, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Then, on Sol 2530, the Mars robot will measure the imaging capabilities of the instrument by taking measurements of other calibration targets onboard the rover.

“These calibration activities take place every few weeks to make sure that the instruments are operating correctly and the data are as accurate as possible,” Salvatore explains. “By the time our chemistry measurements make it into Wednesday’s plan, we can be confident that ChemCam will continue to provide the fantastic data that it has been for the past seven years!”

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