Bright block in the image center is Curiosity’s next potential drill spot, “Broad Cairn.”
Curiosity Navcam Right B photo taken on Sol 2414, May 22, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2416 science tasks.

Reports Fred Calef, a planetary geologist at the NASA/JPL in Pasadena, California, after Curiosity made a short drive of roughly 20 feet (six meters) to “Hallaig,” the science team began the investigation of a new potential drill target named “Broad Cairn,” a flat spot on a bright block in the clay-bearing unit.

Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B photo acquired on Sol 2415, May 23, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Dust removal

“To confirm whether this location is high in potassium (K), the rover was commanded to clean off the spot with the dust removal tool (DRT),” Calef adds, then take some close-up pictures with its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo produced on Sol 2415, May 23, 2019. MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

This was followed by an Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) integration at the right time of day to maximize the data quality.

“Since getting the data back expeditiously was the highest priority, other science observations were pushed to the next planning sol,” Calef concludes. “For now, the science team waits with bated breath for the results.”

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 2414, May 22, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Navcam Left B image taken on Sol 2415, May 23, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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