MISSION UPDATES | February 19, 2020

Sols 2680-2682: Can You Smell What Sam Is Cooking?

Written by Michelle Minitti, Planetary Geologist at Framework
This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2674.

This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2674 (2020-02-13 15:48:56 UTC). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

​Curiosity kicked off her fifth Mars Year with a successful and busy weekend, running both CheMin and SAM to increase our knowledge of the mineralogy, chemistry and isotopic composition of the “Hutton” drill sample. Based on the weekend’s results, SAM elected to analyze a second batch of Hutton to gain insight into its volatile and organic contents. Preparing for the SAM analysis and the analysis itself will take up the bulk of the power in our three sol plan, but we still had enough power left for additional science observations both near and far from the rover.

ChemCam will fire up its laser to acquire chemistry across a vein and the bedrock adjacent to it ("Salt Pan Bay”) and from the interior wall of the “Hutton” drill hole. ChemCam will also use the RMI to acquire a ten image mosaic along the top of "Western Butte” (here dubbed “South Esk”) and a five image mosaic across a more distant butte (“Glenrothes”). Mastcam will cover the near- and mid-field with two large stereo mosaics that connect to the extensive and more distant mosaics we have of the “Glen Torridon” terrain we have been exploring over the last year. The stereo data help us visualize the structural relationships between the many rock types around the rover.

Navcam will scan the skies near midday on Sol 2680 for dust devils, and then Navcam and Mastcam will acquire images and movies later in the afternoon on Sol 2681 to assess the dust load in the atmosphere and look for clouds. REMS and RAD will keep tabs on the weather and radiation within Gale.