MISSION UPDATES | November 19, 2019

Sol 2590: Making a U-Turn

Written by Fred Calef, Planetary Geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
A view of possible pebble-forming rocks in front of the rover. A rock designated as "Quarff" is in the middle-left of the image.

A view of possible pebble-forming rocks in front of the rover. A rock designated as "Quarff" is in the middle-left of the image. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

As we continue the Central Butte campaign, the rover is traversing along an ever narrowing ledge. To continue forward, we need to take a few steps back and make a U-turn around to a less steep section to proceed. This ledge-forming material itself is an interesting pitted mudstone outcrop that we'd like to investigate. This sol, we did a touch-and-go maneuver taking APXS, ChemCam, MAHLI, and Mastcam measurements on a block called "Nedd," which may be pebble forming and contributing to the surface texture we see from orbit and on the ground. In addition, we'll get some Mastcam imaging on "Quarff," where we think there's some dipping strata telling us how these rocks were laid down in the past. Also, we'll acquire Mastcam of "Banffshire," our next drive location. We wrap up the drive with some observations looking for dust devils and clouds for understanding wind direction. Last, but not least, a MARDI image will be taken to document the smaller rocks ("clasts") that make up the surface.