Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1939, January 19, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Now performing duties in Sol 1941, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is busy studying bedrock transition to better understand the textural and chemical changes across this transition.

Reports Ken Herkenhoff, a planetary geologist for the USGS in Flagstaff, Arizona, the robot performed a drive on Sol 1939, placing it next to the bright/dark transition territory.

Curiosity Front Hazcam Right B image taken on Sol 1940, January 20, 2018/
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

On the plan is use of Curiosity’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) and Right Mastcam observations of targets “Mallaig” and “Criffel.”

Multispectral mosaics

The rover’s Mastcam will also acquire multispectral mosaics of the transition and of the material toward the south, Herkenhoff adds, material that shows evidence for clays in orbital data. Also on tap, the robot will produce smaller mosaics of nearby bedrock target “Fetlar” and the more distant “Hallival” target, and images of the Sun and the crater rim to measure the amount of dust in the atmosphere.

Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 1940, January 20, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Herkenhoff adds “that’s just the beginning!”

On the darker side

On Sol 1940, the script called for Curiosity’s robotic arm to be deployed to acquire full suites of Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) images of “Knoydart,” a block on the darker side of the transition, and of Mallaig.

Also, the robot’s Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) will be placed on Mallaig for a short integration, then on Knoydart for a longer, overnight integration.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) taken on Sol 1940, January 20, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Cleaning/maintenance activity

The Sol 1941 plan is dominated by a cleaning/maintenance activity of Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite – a task that requires significant power.

“Early in planning we expected that power would constrain the number of activities that we could plan, but in the end all of the requested scientific observations made it into the plan,” Herkenhoff notes.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) taken on Sol 1940, January 20, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Busy weekend

On the books for Sol 1942, the Mars machinery is slated to drive toward the southeast and acquire the usual post-drive imaging needed for Monday planning, Herkenhoff explains. Then Navcam will search for dust devils and clouds and the Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) will snap another image of the ground near the left front wheel during evening twilight.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 1940, January 20, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

 

 

 

Finally, early on Sol 1943, Navcam will again search for clouds and Mastcam will measure dust opacity in the atmosphere.

“It’s looking like another busy weekend” for Curiosity, Herkenhoff concludes.

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo acquired on Sol 1940, January 20, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

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