MISSION UPDATES | December 4, 2019

Sol 2606-2607: If You See a Shadow, 6 More Months of Winter?

Written by Scott Guzewich, Atmospheric Scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Sol 2606-2607:  If You See a Shadow, 6 More Months of Winter?

​Today’s science team faced some tough decisions during today’s planning. The geologists had to choose between investigating a plethora of interesting rock targets in the workspace, as seen in this Navcam image, or limit the observations at this location in favor of continuing to drive uphill to get a better view of Western Butte. After some discussion, it was decided to perform a “touch-and-go,” where we use the arm to study rock targets “Staxigoe” and “Totegan” with APXS and MAHLI, perform some additional remote sensing science with Mastcam and ChemCam, and then drive during the mid-afternoon.

I served as environmental science theme group lead today and in addition to our routine observations with REMS and DAN, we included Mastcam observations of atmospheric dust opacity (how much dust is in the atmosphere above us) and a Navcam movie to observe water ice clouds. This Navcam movie uses some clever geometry to calculate the height of clouds above the surface based on the shadows they cast on Mt. Sharp. We’re currently in the colder, cloudy winter season on Mars and will be for months to come!