Front Hazcam Left A image acquired on Sol 2244, November 28, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2245 duties.

Reports Susanne Schwenzer, a planetary geologist at the Open University, Milton Keynes, in the United Kingdom: “Curiosity woke up to Mr. Rogers ‘Please would you be my neighbor’ this morning to welcome InSight…and then got very busy at the Highfield drill site.

Curiosity Rear Hazcam Right A photo taken on Sol 2244, November 28, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Every plan has its personality, and the upcoming one is that of a gymnast – at least as far as the arm is concerned,” Schwenzer reports.

Arm action

That plan calls for Curiosity to dump the Highfield sample, which requires several Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) looks and use of the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS). But the plan also requires swinging the arm out of the way so other instruments can have their unobscured look at the dump pile, Schwenzer adds.

Curiosity Mastcam Right photo taken on Sol 2243, November 27, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“Of course, the main activity is to look at the Highfield dump pile with all instruments available,” Schwenzer notes. “APXS will get the chemistry, and Navcam, Mastcam and MAHLI will have a close look.”

In addition, a Mastcam multispectral and a Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) passive observation will add to the information collected from the dump pile.

Meteorite? Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo acquired on Sol 2242, November 26, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Shiny meteorite?

“Not only the arm, but also ChemCam is very busy these two sols, as in addition to the dump pile activities, it will look at four samples, two of which are re-targeted,” Schwenzer explains.

“One of the samples that we try to get a better look at is ‘Little Colonsay.’ The planning team thinks it might be a meteorite because it is so shiny. But looks can deceive, and proof will only come from the chemistry,” Schwenzer points out.

“Unfortunately, the small target was missed in the previous attempt, and with the information from that, Curiosity will try again,” Schwenzer says.

Curiosity ChemCam Remote Micro-Imager photo taken on Sol 2242, November 26, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Confirm its nature

Another very small target is the target “Flanders Moss,” which shows an interesting, dark colored coating, for which chemistry is required to confirm its nature. Two additional targets, “Forres” and “Eildon,” are to add to the database of the grey Jura bedrock before the robot leaves the Highfield site next week.


“Beyond ChemCam, Curiosity will document the workspace with a Mastcam M34 mosaic, and of course document all ChemCam targets, Schwenzer adds. “Finally, the environmental observations continue with a crater rim extinction, Mastcam Tau and dust devil monitoring. …a busy two sols on Mars!”

Curiosity Mastcam Right image taken on Sol 2242, November 26, 2018.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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