MISSION UPDATES | September 30, 2019

Sol 2543-2544: Dumping Dirt on its Back

Written by Roger Wiens, Geochemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory
Sol 2543-2544: Dumping Dirt on its Back

Curiosity has been at this same location for all of August and September, which included a number of days of waiting for Mars to pass behind the Sun (“conjunction”), drilling two holes, and processing the samples. This image shows nine laser pits forming a line down the “Glen Etive 2” drill hole. Shock waves from the laser impact at the lowest point cleared debris that had settled at the bottom of the hole to allow analysis of the hole wall at that depth. Subsequent to this vertical raster, and after this image was taken, ChemCam also performed a rectangular 5x2 grid pattern in the hole.

The team is planning uplink commands for two sols on Mars. In the first sol a sample will be dropped into CheMin’s inlet on the deck of the rover, and the instrument will start its analysis. In my report to my team I show a picture of an elephant using its trunk to dump dirt on its back. That’s a far cry from what Curiosity is doing, but I like to find human or animal similarities to Curiosity. Mastcam will provide documentation of the drop-off and will also take an image of the SAM inlet to follow up from the weekend activities. On the second sol, ChemCam will analyze targets “Buldoo” and “Broo Gill,” and will take RMI images of eolian targets “Culbin Sands 1” and “Culbin Sands 2.” Mastcam will do a crater rim extinction and a Sun tau image, and will document the ChemCam targets. Navcam will do a dust devil movie and survey. DAN, REMS, and RAD will take data in the background.