MISSION UPDATES | November 9, 2019

Sols 2581-2582: It's Soliday Time Again!

Written by Abigail Fraeman, Planetary Geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Sols 2581-2582: It's Soliday Time Again!

Happy soliday weekend! Those who are regular readers of the blog will recall that every few weeks the rover planners here on Earth celebrate a soliday. The term soliday is a play on the words sol and holiday, and describes the times when our Earth-based rover operations team plans only one Mars day to cover two Earth days. We do this help our Earth-based time zones sync up with Curiosity’s Mars-based time zones.

Even though this weekend’s soliday plan is only two sols instead of the usual three we plan for the weekends, it’s still chock full of science. Curiosity’s been exploring some truly outstanding rock outcrops recently! The big activities in the first sol of the plan include a DRT with MAHLI and APXS of a target named “Conachair,” as well as a MAHLI dog’s eye mosaic of a target named “Black Gutter.” In addition to those contact science targets, Curiosity will also collect some remote sensing observations including ChemCam and Mastcam observations on Black Gutter, “Mamores,” and “Widewall,” as well as some additional Mastcam observations on a target named “Kinraddie.”

Curiosity will wake up in the pre-dawn hours on the morning of the second sol of the plan and use ChemCam to see if any frost accumulated on the ground overnight. Science observations will resume in the middle of the day when Curiosity will take Mastcam multispectral observations of the Conachair DRT target and “Slangpos crater,” a small impact crater superposed on the rim of Gale crater. Curiosity will also capture some Navcam and Mastcam images that are designed to monitor the environment around Curiosity. These observations include a Mastcam tau, crater rim extinction observation, Mastcam sky column, and Navcam search for dust devils. Curiosity will then drive about six meters uphill to reach the next outcrop the science team wants to study.