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NASA Science. Mars Exploration Program. Curiosity's Mission Updates. In the News...

Sols 2727-2728: Finishing up at the Edinburgh Drill Site
Posted on Tuesday April 07, 2020


Read article: Sols 2727-2728: Finishing up at the Edinburgh Drill Site

In the weekend plan the remainder of the "Edinburgh" drill sample was dumped, which means that we are almost finished with activities in this drill location. This two-sol plan is filled with activities to characterize the dump pile and drill hole as well as remote sensing observations.

This two-sol plan should finish up the activities at the Edinburgh drill site, and we expect to drive away on Wednesday!

Written by Kristen Bennett, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center



Sols 2724-2726: Dumping Sample and More Remote Sensing for the Weekend!
Posted on Monday April 06, 2020


Read article: Sols 2724-2726: Dumping Sample and More Remote Sensing for the Weekend!

Curiosity is still at the Edinburgh drill site as part of a mini campaign to sample the Greenheugh pediment. We're finishing drill-related analyses and activities, and the three-sol weekend plan is focused on dumping sample from the drill bit assembly and documenting the dump pile and drill tailings.

I was the Science Operations Working Group (SOWG) Chair today and it was a busy but fun day of remote operations. The plan kicks off with a ChemCam observation of the Edinburgh drill hole (as seen in the above ChemCam RMI image) to get some extra data points to characterize the drill site, as well as the "Calders Sandstone" bedrock target, and Mastcam documentation. Then Curiosity will dump the sample and document the pile with Mastcam and MAHLI, followed by APXS. At the end of the first sol the rover will pause and take in the view at twilight – including a Navcam image of the horizon in which Earth and Venus should be visible! Then it's back to work with an overnight APXS integration on the dump pile. On the second sol Curiosity will take a ChemCam long distance RMI mosaic of the pediment capping unit to assess the stratigraphy and sedimentary structures exposed on the flank of Gediz Vallis. Additional ChemCam RMI mosaics will be acquired on the third sol, followed by a Mastcam multispectral observation of the dump pile, and Mastcam documentation of some interesting dark layers in the mound stratigraphy. Throughout the plan there are also a number of the Mastcam and Navcam observations to complete a photometry experiment. The rover will also continue to monitor atmospheric activity with a Navcam line of sight observation, dust devil survey, and Mastcam tau observation, and a whole suite of activities early on the morning of Sol 2727. While everyone is staying safe at home, it's especially nice to hear so many voices from our team members and to look forward to exciting new data from Mars!

Written by Lauren Edgar, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center



Sols 2722-2723: Portion to Exhaustion – The Drilled Fines, Not Curiosity!
Posted on Wednesday April 01, 2020


Read article: Sols 2722-2723: Portion to Exhaustion – The Drilled Fines, Not Curiosity!

The primary focus of our two-sol plan is to prepare the drill bit assembly to dump the remaining "Edinburgh" drilled sample (portion to exhaustion), so that it can be analyzed in the upcoming weekend plan with the APXS and MAHLI instruments for chemistry and texture respectively. Sample has successfully been delivered to both Curiosity's internal CheMin and SAM instruments, and we are awaiting the results of the mineralogy and volatile/isotope chemistry, with the 3rd night of CheMin analysis in this plan. The Edinburgh sample represents the blocky, dark grey sandstone, pediment-capping unit that overlies the Murray mudstone. The science team are interested to see how the mineralogy and chemistry might differ between these two rocks types, given that they were likely deposited in different environments.

As the APXS strategic planner today, it was a relatively quiet day, but the APXS team are eager to analyze the Edinburgh drilled powder that we plan to dump from the rover at the weekend! I will be busy on Friday helping to plan this measurement and thinking ahead to APXS observations we would like to make once we drive away from here.

Written by Lucy Thompson, Planetary Geologist at University of New Brunswick



Sols 2720-2721: Extend Those Mosaics!
Posted on Tuesday March 31, 2020


Read article: Sols 2720-2721: Extend Those Mosaics!

The priority for the sol 2720 plan is to drop off and analyze a sample of the Edinburgh drill hole in SAM, but we've got plenty of remote sensing in the plan too, much of it building on our previous observations from this spot. We start each morning with a Navcam dust devil survey. On Sol 2720, Mastcam has a stereo mosaic of a nearby hilltop, extending a previous mosaic to look for changes in the weathering behavior of the pediment cap rock. This is followed by ChemCam observations of two sandstone bedrock targets named "Tron Kirk" and "Dunedin" and extensions of two long-distance RMI mosaics of the "washboard" surface of the pediment. Mastcam will document the ChemCam targets, and then take some pictures of the SAM inlet before and after sample dropoff. Navcam also has an 8-frame movie toward the south to watch for atmospheric activity like clouds. APXS then has an overnight atmospheric observation (yes, APXS can measure the atmosphere too!).

On Sol 2721, ChemCam has a vertical measurement inside the Edinburgh drill hole. After Mastcam documents that observation, it will add some frames to its own mosaic of the washboard pattern on the pediment. Navcam will then take a picture toward the north to study the amount of dust in the atmosphere. The rest of sol 2721 will be taken up by SAM's analysis of the Edinburgh sample.

Written by Ryan Anderson, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center



Sols 2717-2719: The Poetry of Drilling on Mars
Posted on Monday March 30, 2020


Read article: Sols 2717-2719: The Poetry of Drilling on Mars

Curiosity's drill campaigns are like poetry in fixed verse. A predefined set of activities has to occur in a sequence: first Curiosity must assess an outcrop for drilling, then drill and extract a sample, then process and characterize the sample, then deliver the sample to the CheMin instrument for analysis, then prepare the SAM instrument, then deliver the sample to SAM for analysis, and finally dump the sample on the ground.

As for the other science observations:



Mastcam peers at the

Enigmatic outcrop with

A panorama.



ChemCam shoots three rocks:

"Albany," "Alloway," and

"Alexandria."



Pediment surface

Revealed by ChemCam's Remote

Micro Imager.



Navcam movies seek

To capture swirls of dust that

Sweep the horizon.





Written by Melissa Rice, Planetary Geologist at Western Washington University



Sols 2715-2716 One More Time
Posted on Thursday March 26, 2020


Read article: Sols 2715-2716 One More Time

As the Edinburgh drill campaign continues, and the CheMin instrument awaits the first taste of the bedrock in front of us, the science team focuses on filling out Greenheugh pediment observations as well as responding to early results we've already received.

Just like our rover instruments, stay safe and healthy!

Written by Fred Calef, Planetary Geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory



Sols 2713-2714: Check Your Work!
Posted on Tuesday March 24, 2020


Read article: Sols 2713-2714: Check Your Work!

The drill successfully dug into the "Edinburgh" target over the weekend, the first sandstone the drill has attempted to conquer since the engineering team hacked a new drilling method back in 2018.

The skies got plenty of attention today, as well. Navcam will acquire movies looking for dust devils at two different times of day, as well as images to consistently monitor the amount of dust in the atmosphere. Navcam will also throw in a movie looking for clouds for good measure!

Written by Michelle Minitti, Planetary Geologist at Framework



Sol 2710-2712: Full Drill Ahead!
Posted on Friday March 20, 2020


Read article: Sol 2710-2712: Full Drill Ahead!

In light of recent events, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has transitioned to teleworking for most employees. For the last few weeks, we have been making preparations so that our rover operations can be carried out with the JPL-based members of the team working remotely. Luckily, most of the science team has been working remotely for years! I've been serving as a Geo Keeper of the Plan (GKOP) for the last ~5 years, and most of that time was spent working remotely from the University of Tennessee. So, for most folks, it's business as usual, which has helped smooth our transition to full teleworking.

Stay safe, and continue to explore Mars with us!

Written by Rachel Kronyak, Planetary Geologist at University of Tennessee



Sol 2706: Science Team is Go for Drilling!
Posted on Tuesday March 17, 2020


Read article: Sol 2706: Science Team is Go for Drilling!

During the acquisition of the MAHLI images on Sol 2705, an arm hiccup prevented the sequence from completing. But enough images were successfully acquired that it's not necessary to repeat the MAHLI sequence, and the arm issue is well understood so that no special recovery activities were required.

So it was an interesting and exciting day for me as SOWG chair!

Written by Ken Herkenhoff, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center



Sol 2703-2705: Assessing a possible drill target at 'Edinburgh'
Posted on Friday March 13, 2020


Read article: Sol 2703-2705: Assessing a possible drill target at 'Edinburgh'

Our small bump in Wednesday's plan left Curiosity in a good position to examine a potential drill target that we have named "Edinburgh." This weekend, we will DRT Edinburgh and observe it with ChemCam, APXS, MAHLI, and Mastcam's multispectral filters. We will analyze these observations to help make a decision on Monday about whether we want to continue with a full drill in this area or move on.

The other geology-focused activities in the weekend plan include ChemCam observations of targets named "Tentsmuir," "Glen Finglas," and "Glen Feshie," along with a 19x2 Mastcam mosaic of our surroundings. We will also conduct a series of environmental science investigations that include a measure of the amount of argon in the atmosphere using APXS, a dust devil survey, and several Navcam observations of far-away targets to characterize the amount of dust in the atmosphere. Finally, we will take a bunch of MAHLI images of the surface in front of us at different angles in order to understand how reflected light behaves with different viewing geometries.

Written by Abigail Fraeman, Planetary Geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory



Sol 2700: Photo Shoot
Posted on Tuesday March 10, 2020


Read article: Sol 2700: Photo Shoot

Today's plan focused on completing a major task of our science campaign investigating the Greenheugh Pediment: taking a large Mastcam stereo mosaic of the pediment capping unit and the distant Gediz Vallis ridge. Much of the mosaic's field-of-view is covered in this Navcam image. This large mosaic will help link the patterns seen from orbit with what we see on the ground and help us understand how the pediment and Gediz Vallis formed and what their relative ages are compared to the rest of the features we've explored.

After taking that mosaic and a Navcam dust devil survey (the Greenheugh Pediment also appears to be particularly prone to dust devils), we'll make a short drive to the west to reach our 3rd stop on this science campaign. After evaluating that location later this week, we'll decide which spot we'll want to drill.

Written by Scott Guzewich, Atmospheric Scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center



Sol 2699: What to Do After Climbing a Pile of Rocks (On Any Planet)
Posted on Monday March 09, 2020


Read article: Sol 2699: What to Do After Climbing a Pile of Rocks (On Any Planet)

​I got to spend some time this weekend climbing around on rocks here in Arizona, and I'm happy to report that our favorite Mars Science Laboratory is doing the same (except ... you know ... on Mars)! After Curiosity's strenuous climb onto the pediment-capping unit last week, she will do what I did: look at rocks, gaze into the distance, take pictures of everything, and shoot lasers. Ok, I didn't shoot any lasers, but ChemCam will!

We will start with the rocks (and lasers). ChemCam will take rasters of 'Machir Bay,' 'New Aberdour,' and 'An Carnach' to assess the chemical variability of the bedrock here. We will then take pre-DRT MAHLI images of Machir Bay and 'Forsinard Flows,' break out the DRT to dust off these targets, take post-DRT MAHLI images, and measure the bulk chemistry of these targets with APXS. Whew! Mastcam will also take images of this bedrock (a portion of which is in the Navcam image above) to study the fine-scale details.

This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA
This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2698. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›
In addition to interrogating the rocks under our wheels (so to speak), we will spend some time gazing into the distance. What a view we have from all the way up here on the pediment-capping unit! Mastcam will take advantage of our location to image nearby 'Tower Butte' (in the top left corner of this Navcam image) in order to examine surface textures. Then Navcam will look to the horizon for dust devils and to the sky for clouds. It's sounding more and more like Arizona!

In the background, DAN will be measuring the neutron flux from the subsurface to assess the pediment-capping unit's hydration and RAD and REMS will continue to measure the radiation and atmospheric environments, respectively, at yet another record elevation for Curiosity!

Written by Sean Czarnecki, Planetary Geologist at Arizona State University



Sols 2696-2698: Made it!
Posted on Friday March 06, 2020


Read article: Sols 2696-2698: Made it!

Kudos to our rover drivers for making it up the steep, sandy slope below the "Greenheugh pediment" (visible in the left side of the above image) and delivering us to a stretch of geology we had our eyes on even before we landed in Gale crater! The geology planning group honored the achievement of making it here by getting our cameras and laser on every little bit of rock we could manage.

MAHLI and APXS will analyze "Galloway Hills," cleared of dust beforehand by the DRT, and "Ardwell Bay." The former is on a smoother, flatter part of the sandstone we are parked on, and the latter is an example of the resistant features that dot the sandstone in this part of the pediment. MAHLI will also acquire a mosaic looking edge on at a package of sandstone layers at the bedrock target "Chinglebraes."

ChemCam will sweep across the terrain in front and to the left of us to gather data that will help us understand the chemical variability of the pediment here. 'Machrie Moor" and 'Templars Park" are comparable to Galloway Hills in that they are flatter, smoother patches of bedrock. 'Lowther Hills" is comparable to Ardwell Bay, as it is a collection of resistant features within the bedrock. 'Cheviot Hills" appears to be a bit more of an oddball - it's a dark, smooth block like those we have seen on "Western Butte" and "Tower Butte." ChemCam will tell us if it is linked to the rocks we have seen before, or if it is just a particularly dust-free example of the pediment rocks.

Mastcam has plenty to look at from our high perch. It will acquire a stereo mosaic looking across the scene, dubbed 'Enard Bay,' captured in the above Navcam image to get higher resolution and color views of the beds exposed there. Another large mosaic will cover the terrain into which we will drive over the weekend. The mosaic includes the drive target "East Lothian" and will give us an idea of the distribution of textures and structures of the bedrock we will be exploring for the near term. At the opposite end of the spectrum from a large mosaic, Mastcam will also take a single image of 'Gars Bheinn," one of the few blocks in the workspace that is relatively free of dust. The hope is that the image will give us a clearer view of the sandstone's grain size and texture.

Now that we do not have a steep cliff in our front windshield, the skies stretch largely unencumbered above and around us. Navcam will take a 360 degree look around for dust devils on two different sols, and will acquire movies looking for clouds both in the afternoon and early morning. Mastcam and Navcam will assess the dustiness of the atmosphere by gazing across Gale crater from our great viewpoint.

Written by Michelle Minitti, Planetary Geologist at Framework



Sols 2694-2695: Close to the Top!
Posted on Thursday March 05, 2020


Read article: Sols 2694-2695: Close to the Top!

A short drive was planned in the previous sol to place Curiosity just below the top of the pediment. The drive went extremely well, and the workspace available for tosol's plan is beautiful and full of tantalizing outcrops. The goal of this two-sol plan is to characterize the area just below the pediment capping unit to understand whether these rocks have a different chemistry than the rocks further away.

Curiosity is currently sitting on a 26 degree slope, but we were still able to plan for contact science! The team selected two locations that are thought to be just below the pediment capping unit to investigate with MAHLI and APXS: "Huttons Section" and "Clach Glas." Huttons Section was targeted by ChemCam in the previous plan and we added a Mastcam multispectral image of this target to this plan.

The plan also includes four different ChemCam targets to help characterize the variations in chemistry in this area. "Muir of Dinnett" and "Findhorn Bay" are ChemCam targets in different locations on the pediment capping unit. "Gleann Beag" was selected to be near the MAHLI and APXS target, Clach Glas. "Collieston" is targeting an area full of round nodules near the rover. Mastcam images of all the ChemCam targets are included in the plan. The Mastcam observation that includes Gleann Beag is a 7x5 mosaic that will cover the contact between the Murray Formation and the pediment capping unit. Additionally, Mastcam is taking a stereo mosaic called "Ochil Hills," which will cover a vertical outcrop of the edge of the pediment that we have previously imaged from a different angle.

In the second sol the plan is for Curiosity to finish the climb to the top of the pediment. The rover's current location is just below the top, so Curiosity only has a short way to go before she finishes her climb and we can start exploring the pediment capping unit. A MARDI video is planned during the drive, in which MARDI will take 12 pictures per minute looking down at the ground as Curiosity drives over the contact and onto the top of the pediment. We should have a great view awaiting us up there!

Written by Kristen Bennett, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center



Sol 2693: Have We Broken a Record? Not so Fast, Says Opportunity!
Posted on Tuesday March 03, 2020


Read article: Sol 2693: Have We Broken a Record? Not so Fast, Says Opportunity!

The planning started with intense discussions on the question of what to do, and for a very good reason. The sedimentology experts in the team had determined that we can see very interesting structures related to a possible contact between the Murray and the overlying pediment. We therefore had to decide early in planning if we wanted to try to collect contact science near the contact, or if we should continue with our climb to the top. In my role as Geo Science Team Lead I had to keep the planning on track – not an easy feat and I think I have to send out some chocolates to all who helped keep planning moving along! Orbital mechanics won't stop for us and make Mars wait in position until we are ready to uplink our plan.

Changing the plan from ‘keep moving' to ‘stay' is never taken lightly, and the discussions reflected this as we were weighing options. The reason for the discussion was that we found a site close to the contact that looked much more accessible, detail rich and valuable up close than it had originally looked from the bottom of the hill. This justified not driving all the way onto the top of the pediment today, and instead doing a small adjustment to allow us to do contact science at these interesting targets tomorrow.

The data we will be acquiring here is getting the team excited! In today's plan we have two ChemCam targets on bedrock: target "Ariundle" is in front of the rover, in fact, it is among the smaller rocks above the white patch in the image that accompanies this blog post. The ChemCam target "Hutton's Section" is higher up on the slope and thus closer to the pediment. We are expecting to see some differences in chemistry between the two. Mastcam has a mosaic in this plan, which covers the two targets and documents the sedimentary structures around them.

We will then slightly adjust the rover to prepare for an APXS measurement in the area of the Hutton's Section target. The adjustment should get us into a position to where we can reach the target with our arm. But if we indeed will be able to use the arm tomorrow is yet to be seen, because we are driving through very challenging terrain. On the last drive the tilt of the rover exceeded 30°. And, of course, that sparked the question if we are now holding the martian rover tilt record. Well, the colleagues who also did operations on the MER rovers reminded us that the MER rover Opportunity still holds the record by a fraction of a degree.​

In addition to these observations, the plan includes further imaging and a ChemCam AEGIS observation after the drive. This will set us up nicely for the next planning, hopefully with some contact science if it can be done safely – and then to continue the climb onto the pediment. Will we break the martian tilt record? The jury is still out – and a big shout of ‘awesome, thank you' goes to the engineers, who make Curiosity climb as never before!

Written by Susanne Schwenzer, Planetary Geologist at The Open University



Sol 2692: Any Impediment to Climbing the Pediment? None so Far!
Posted on Monday March 02, 2020


Read article: Sol 2692: Any Impediment to Climbing the Pediment? None so Far!

Curiosity successfully completed the first drive of the ascent path onto the Greenheugh pediment, and ended up at a 26.7 degree tilt and at the highest elevation so far on Mount Sharp! Kudos to the rover planning engineers at JPL who executed the ambitious drive perfectly!

The focus of planning today was to characterize the bedrock immediately underlying the pediment capping rock with ChemCam and Mastcam and to continue the ascent. ChemCam will shoot two bedrock targets ("Corriecravie" and "Shannochie") to document any compositional changes as we near the contact. This will help the team test hypotheses we have about water-rock interactions along the contact. Mastcam will be used to document the texture of these targets and to look more closely at the contact. There was not enough time in this plan to unstow the arm and do contact science as well as drive, and the priority is to ascend the pediment, so we chose the option of driving over contact science. We hope to do contact science later in the week, possibly at the contact tomorrow, and/or once we are on top of the pediment cap rock.

After what we hope will be another successful drive, there is a Mastcam clast survey, Navcam complete the 360, ChemCam AEGIS and MARDI planned. Standard REMS, DAN and RAD activities round out the plan.

Written by Lucy Thompson, Planetary Geologist at University of New Brunswick



Sols 2690-2691: Slight Delay to Curiosity's Attempt to Ascend the Pediment
Posted on Friday February 28, 2020


Read article: Sols 2690-2691: Slight Delay to Curiosity's Attempt to Ascend the Pediment

The drive up the slope immediately beneath pediment in the sol 2688-2689 plan did not execute for reasons that were well understood and straightforward to resolve in today's plan. We planned to recover the drive and other activities in our 2-sol weekend plan. We are still at the 'Hutton' drill site, and decided to continue characterizing the varied geochemistry of interesting vein systems we have been observing within the bedrock underlying the pediment. APXS was planned on two vein targets, 'Dounreay' and 'Dunbartonshire,' and ChemCam on a different vein, 'Glen Cannich,' 'Glenmoriston' and a depth profile on a previous target, 'Glen Rosa.' MAHLI will image the two APXS vein targets and Mastcam will image the ChemCam targets.

An early morning science block on Sol 2691 will allow monitoring of the atmosphere with a Navcam zenith movie and sky survey.

The first leg of our drive up the slope towards the pediment will hopefully execute on the second sol of the plan. Post-drive imaging will be acquired to aid in future drive planning and target selection at Curiosity's new location. The drive will be followed by another Navcam zenith movie (pointed in a different direction), as well as a DAN active and ChemCam AEGIS observation. Standard DAN, REMS and RAD activities occur throughout the 2 sols.

The whole team is excited to possibly make it up onto the pediment capping rock to see how similar or different it is from other units previously encountered on the mission, and to hopefully shed more light on the processes that have shaped Gale crater.

Written by Lucy Thompson, Planetary Geologist at University of New Brunswick



Sol 2688-2689: Into the Unknown
Posted on Wednesday February 26, 2020


Read article: Sol 2688-2689: Into the Unknown

Over the last couple of weeks, the Curiosity science team engaged in a series of long debates about where we should go after we completed our analyses of the Hutton sample. Our first option was to drive downhill and rejoin the strategically planned route that skirts the base of the Greenheugh pediment. The second option was to head the other way and drive uphill onto the top of pediment capping unit.

View of a potentially passible route onto the top of the Greenheugh pediment.
View of a potentially passible route onto the top of the Greenheugh pediment. (Area on the left).

Exploring Mars is always exciting, but for me, this has been a particularly fun and exciting time to be a part of the Curiosity science team. I love the feeling of exploring and venturing into the unknown. We don't know if we'll be able to make it onto the pediment capping unit here, but we know we'll discover something completely new if we do reach the top.

Written by Abigail Fraeman, Planetary Geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory



Sol 2686-2687: The Tail End of the Hutton Drill Campaign
Posted on Monday February 24, 2020


Read article: Sol 2686-2687: The Tail End of the Hutton Drill Campaign

We're wrapping up our Hutton drill campaign literally at the tail end. Specifically, today's plan focused on studying those drill "tailings" (the gray material surrounding the drill hole in this MAHLI image) with ChemCam, Mastcam, MAHLI, and APXS. This phase of the drill campaign helps compare the SAM and CheMin laboratory analyses with the data from our remote sensing instruments of the same material from the drill hole. It's always interesting to see that Mars' red color is sometimes literally only skin-deep and underneath can be much more of a lunar gray.

We also packed in a few additional observations of some nearby rock targets, including an intriguing fin-like structure sticking out of the ground nearby called "Dunbartonshire." We'll look at it also with MAHLI and APXS on the second night of our 2-sol plan. ENV included a dust devil movie, but has been unable to do much additional long-distance imaging work at our current location due to the cliff surrounding us on three sides blocking our view in most directions.

Written by Scott Guzewich, Atmospheric Scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center



Sol 2683-2685: And Still Using 'Many a Joule'!
Posted on Friday February 21, 2020


Read article: Sol 2683-2685: And Still Using 'Many a Joule'!

The title of this blog is a quote from my fellow blogger Dawn Sumner's poem in the sol 2676 to 2679 blog, and it seems the best way to capture our struggles once again. The reason for the focus on power is that we are still in the middle of the Hutton drill campaign. This gives us lots of things to do, but power constraints restrict what we can achieve each planning. But, we'll get this all done, we just need to be patient (not this blogger's personal best skill!). The focus of today's planning is to progress with the drill activities, mainly dealing with the remainder of the portioning and then dumping the samples and getting APXS overnight on it. There was a lot of discussion how to play that ‘power tetris' once again.

And we now have a lot in the plan! First, arm movements are required to carry out further portioning of the sample, and then dump the sample. Mastcam, APXS and MAHLI are documenting the chemistry and textures of the dump pile.

Documenting the area far and near is one of the priorities for ChemCam and Mastcam. There are two RMI mosaics to document the buttes around us, named "South Esk 2" and "Glenrothes 2," and there is a further RMI mosaic, named "Moray Firth." The latter is especially looking at the capping material of the butte – and the contact to the underlying rocks. All those images will serve to investigate the sedimentary features of the area and understand if wind or wate rformed these rocks. With the opportunity to image the buttes from three dimensions, there is great opportunity to get behind all the details.

Mastcam is joining the imaging campaign, with one single frame stereo image to join previous mosaics, and two mosaics: a 9x1 of the target "Craiglaw Point," which is to document the sedimentary structures at this location. Mastcam is also joining the RMI sedimentology campaign with a 3x1 of the target "Morav Firth." Of course, there are also images to document the ChemCam activities.

ChemCam is busy documenting the chemistry in the area of the Hutton drill hole as there is a lot of diversity in the rocks. The targets in this plan will therefore investigate three targets: "Glen Rosa," "Glen Quaich" and "Glen Shira." Of course, DAN and REMS are also busy doing their regular measurements. A lot to do, even for a three-sol plan!

To conclude the blog with the phrase the science planers used over and over again today, while working hard (and over-time!) to optimize every observation to minimize the use of power: "We are squeezing every last electron out of this today."

Written by Susanne Schwenzer, Planetary Geologist at The Open University




 

 

 

 

 

 

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