Curiosity Navcam Left B photo taken on Sol 2007, March 30, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2008 science duties, exploring variations in composition, texture, and color of its surroundings reports Lauren Edgar, a planetary geologist at the USGS in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Curiosity Navcam Left B image acquired on Sol 2007, March 30, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity recently drove 115 feet (35 meters) to the southeast, “which set us up for some great contact science on the rim of a small impact crater,” Edgar adds.

The robot is working its way toward Region 13 on Vera Rubin Ridge and investigating changes in bedrock composition, texture, and color.

Scientific weekend

A 3-sol plan (Sol 2008-2010) has been scripted with a lot of great science for the weekend, Edgar notes.

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 2006, March 29, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The first sol kicks off with Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) observations of “Beinn Dearg Mhor,” “Dun Caan,” and “Dalbeattie” to look for changes in chemistry within the red bedrock in the rover’s workspace.

Curiosity will then acquire Mastcam documentation of those targets as well as a mosaic to characterize a sandy trough on the floor of the small crater at “Saxa Vord.”

Hematite signature

Also in the plan is carrying out contact science (including Dust Removal Tool (DRT), Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), and Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the targets “Lanark” and “Dun Caan” and some overnight APXS integrations.

“These observations will help to compare orbital observations to surface characteristics, particularly as we move through an area with a high hematite signature in orbital spectroscopic data,” Edgar reports.

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo taken on Sol 2008, March 31, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Drive to southeast

On the second sol, Curiosity will acquire Mastcam multispectral observations of the DRT target “Lanark,” and the stratigraphy exposed in the wall of the small crater at the target “Stac Fada.”

“After completing science activities at this location,” Edgar continues, “Curiosity will drive to the southeast to investigate variations in color and sedimentary structures.”

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) photo produced on Sol 2005, March 28, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Mt. Sharp shots

On the third sol, the plan calls for an early science block for environmental monitoring activities. Later in the afternoon Curiosity will acquire long distance images using the Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) to characterize the yardangs and stratigraphy exposed higher on the slope of Mt. Sharp. Yardangs are sharp ridges formed by wind erosion.

Also on tap is acquiring several additional Navcam and Mastcam images to monitor atmospheric opacity, clouds, and scattering properties, Edgar concludes. “It’s going to be a busy weekend on Mars!”

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Traverse map

A new Curiosity traverse map shows the rover’s movement through Sol 2007.

The map shows the route driven by Curiosity through the 2007 Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars (March 30, 2018).

Numbering of the dots along the line indicate the sol number of each drive. North is up. The scale bar is 1 kilometer (~0.62 mile).

From Sol 2004 to Sol 2007, Curiosity had driven a straight line distance of about 103.75 feet (31.62 meters), bringing the rover’s total odometry for the mission to 11.54 miles (18.56 kilometers).

The base image from the map is from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE) in NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

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