Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo produced on Sol 3767 March 12, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover at Gale Crater is now performing Sol 3770 duties.

A recent two sol scripted plan (Sols 3769-3770) called for the robot to wrap up its remaining drill campaign and workspace liens at the Tapo Caparo site.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo produced on Sol 3769, March 15, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

A weekend plan ran successfully, “though we had a known issue which caused several of our remote sensing activities planned for the weekend to not execute,” reports Elena Amador-French, Science Operations Coordinator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. A more recent plan was therefore “jam packed with recovering any remaining remote sensing observations of our area and some contact science.”

Curiosity Right B Navigation Camera image taken on Sol 3769, March 14, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Float rock

For Curiosity’s robotic arm work, the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) instrument was slated to look at two targets: “Tucupita” and “Mariapiri.”

Also, the plan called for use of the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument to investigate the composition of “Mariapiri” and an offset position of drill tailings.

“Tucupita is an interesting potential float rock in our workspace. A float rock is an out of place rock that does not appear to be part of the greater bedrock. On Earth (and Mars) these can appear after eroding from a different stratigraphic unit, for example,” Amador-French adds.

Curiosity Right B Nav Camera photo acquired on Sol 3768, March 13, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


“Comparing the difference in composition and texture of Tucupita compared to the bedrock in the workspace can provide clues into how the region has eroded over millions of years,” Amador-French reports. “The Mariapiri target is a small fracture that formed after we drilled Tapo Caparo. This fracture provides a small window into what the subsurface looks like texturally in the area.”

Curiosity Right B Navigation Camera photo taken on Sol 3766, March 11, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Leave a Reply