Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B image taken on Sol 1861, October 31, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


“We are starting to suspect that Vera Rubin Ridge might be cursed,” reports Ryan Anderson, a planetary geologist at the USGS in Flagstaff, Arizona.

“After the challenges we faced last week, we were hoping for a successful weekend plan but alas, it was not to be. Over the weekend Curiosity’s arm didn’t heat up as much as it was supposed to, so the arm activity failed and most of the weekend plan was lost,” Anderson adds.

Keep trying

The game plan now is to try, try again.

NASA’s Curiosity rover is now in Sol 1861.

The Sol 1861-1862 plan is to see another attempt at dropping off the “Ogunquit Beach” sample in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suit, followed by SAM Evolved Gas Analysis (EGA) of the sample. SAM will heat the sample and measure what gases are produced.

Remote sensing recovery

On sol 1862, the plan calls for a science block where scientists will try to recover some of the remote sensing that was planned for the past weekend. This will begin with a Mastcam mosaic that builds upon some previous Mastcam images of “Region 7”, followed by Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) and Mastcam observations of the bedrock targets “Schmidtsdrif” and “Estecourt” as well as the soil target “Lisbon.”

Curiosity Rear Hazcam Left B photo acquired on Sol 1861, October 31, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Anderson notes that the science block will end the way it began, with another Mastcam mosaic building upon a different previous mosaic of an area currently called “Region 6.”

Drive ahead

Navcam is slated to also watch for clouds overhead and Mastcam will do a routine observation of the rocks and soil near the rover to check for any changes.

“Hopefully we have seen the worst of Vera Rubin Ridge’s ‘curse,’” Anderson concludes, “and we’ll be able to finish this SAM analysis and start driving again shortly!”

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