Curiosity Front Hazcam Left B image acquired on Sol 1863, November 2, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech



NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now carrying out Sol 1864 duties.

The research plan calls for the robot to return to wheeling about at Vera Rubin Ridge.

“Curiosity will finally be back on the move. The rover made an unexpected stop of nearly two weeks in the current location due to several things ranging from failed uplinks to insufficient arm heating and a camera glitch,” reports geochemist, Roger Wiens, the rover’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) principal investigator at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Curiosity Navcam Left B photo taken on Sol 1863, November 2, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“It reminds us that everything must work just right to successfully operate a robot on Mars,” Wiens adds. In addition to thorough remote and contact analyses of this stop, Curiosity had several other notable accomplishments, including placing the drill down on the ground for a test, and dropping off a sample of “Ogunquit Beach” dune soil to the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite for evolved gas analysis, he explains.

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo acquired on Sol 1863, November 2, 2017.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Hop and stop

The rover team is planning two sols of operation. Curiosity had a drive of roughly 82 feet (25 meters) planned for Thursday, hoping to stop between two sandy areas.

Before the drive, Curiosity is doing ChemCam observations on “Gravelotte,” “Sibasa,” and “Brooklands.”

Additionally, the rover’s Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) is to observe “Sibasa” and make an overnight integration on “Gamka,” both after use of a Dust Removal Tool (DRT) brushing.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) image acquired on Sol 1863, November 2, 2017. MAHLI is located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) is slated to make observations of the two targets as well as of the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) ultraviolet sensor.

The robot’s Mastcam was slated to follow up on all of the Mars surface targets.

Ultraviolet Sensor (UVS) as imaged on Sol 1863, November 2, 2017 by Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI).
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Passive observations

On the second night, Curiosity’s ChemCam was scheduled to take two passive observations to test its detector noise levels at two different temperatures. Observations also include Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) and Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD), as well as Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) passive integrations.

Curiosity is to perform post-drive imaging to set up for weekend operations, Wiens concludes.

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