MISSION UPDATES | February 10, 2020

Sols 2669-2671 Successful Drill at Hutton!

Written by Rachel Kronyak, Planetary Geologist at University of Tennessee
Sols 2669-2671 Successful Drill at Hutton!

We were greeted this morning with images of our newest (and 24th!) drill hole on the surface of Mars! The Front Hazcam image above shows the drill in action at target “Hutton.” As a fitting celebration, a box of donut holes was passed around the ops rooms at JPL.

Our weekend plan of activities centers around characterizing our drilled sample as well as conducting additional scientific observations. In the Friday (Sol 2669) plan, Curiosity will first conduct a series of “portioning characterization” experiments. This is to help us understand how much rock powder the drill collected and to ensure that we’re able to deliver samples of adequate size to our SAM and CheMin instruments. First, a portion will be delivered to the workspace and we’ll take before and after Mastcam images for documentation. We’ll repeat this process two more times, delivering additional portions to the SAM inlet cover and taking corresponding Mastcam images. After portioning characterization, Curiosity will use the ChemCam RMI to take images of the Hutton drill hole.

On Saturday (Sol 2670) morning, we will use Mastcam and ChemCam to collect remote science data on the drill hole and our nearby surroundings. With ChemCam, we’ll perform a passive (no laser) observation on the Hutton drill tailings. Next we’ll use the ChemCam laser to probe the targets “Roxburghshire,” a dark gray vein, and “Shettleston,” a float rock hypothesized to come from the nearby Greenheugh pediment caprock. We will also perform several environmental observations including a tau and crater rim extinction with Mastcam, and with Navcam, a sunrise movie, sky survey, and zenith movie.

On Sunday (2671), we’ll take a few Mastcam mosaics including a stereo mosaic of the nearby Western butte and Greenheugh pediment areas as well a large 360° mosaic. In the evening, we’ll wrap up our weekend plan with a long APXS observation of argon in the atmosphere.