Curiosity Navcam Right B image taken on Sol 2539, September 27, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has just begun performing Sol 2540 science duties.

Reports Kristen Bennett, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, recently planned use of the rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite did not fully complete.

Curiosity Front Hazcam Right B photo acquired on Sol 2539, September 27, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“There was an issue in the set of planned SAM activities that resulted in those activities not completing. While we diagnose the issue, we are taking a break from drill activities and filling the plan with lots of remote science,” Bennett notes.

Retaking observations

Part of the plan will include retaking observations that did not complete on sol 2537.

Curiosity Rear Hazcam Left B image acquired on Sol 2539 September 27, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This includes Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) observations of “Peeblesshire,” “Perthshire,” and the offset from the “Glen Etive 1” dump pile.

Peeblesshire and Perthshire are both pebbles near the drill site.

Curiosity Navcam Right B image taken on Sol 2539, September 27, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

Mt. Sharp mosaic

“Additionally, the plan includes a ChemCam LIBS observation and a corresponding Mastcam image of “Stove,” which is a target located between the two drill locations,” Bennett adds. “There will also be a Mastcam mosaic of Mt. Sharp that will be taken late in the day to test what the best time of day is for these observations.”

Curiosity Navcam Right B image taken on Sol 2539, September 27, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Stony Side” is a ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager (RMI) mosaic that is pointed back towards Vera Rubin ridge to capture an outcrop that is along the edge of the ridge.

Ice crystals in the clouds

“There will also be a dust devil movie, a supra-horizon movie for cloud monitoring, a line-of-sight observation, and a cloud altitude observation,” Bennett explains.

 

“Several Mastcam observations are included to estimate the amount of dust in the atmosphere: a tau observation and a crater rim extinction observation. There will also be a phase function sky survey, which is used to measure the angular scattering of light by clouds. Observations such as this one help us to constrain the shape of the ice crystals in the clouds.”

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo acquired on Sol 2539, September 27, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

 

 

 

A recent Curiosity rover plan includes ChemCam RMI sky flats, Bennett points out. This is a routine observation to check for dust on the ChemCam optical window.

“Hopefully this will be a brief intermission and we will be back to drill analysis activities in the weekend plan,” Bennett concludes.

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