MISSION UPDATES | March 17, 2020

Sol 2706: Science Team is Go for Drilling!

Written by Ken Herkenhoff, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center
This image of the Edinburgh bedrock was taken by MAHLI onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2703

This image of the Edinburgh bedrock was taken by MAHLI onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2703. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS. Download image ›​

During the acquisition of the MAHLI images on Sol 2705, an arm hiccup prevented the sequence from completing. But enough images were successfully acquired that it's not necessary to repeat the MAHLI sequence, and the arm issue is well understood so that no special recovery activities were required.

We were therefore able to plan full contact science today, with DRT brushing of a bedrock target named "Eshaness."

Navcam will be used to search for dust devils and clouds, and Mastcam will take stereo image pairs to extend the mosaic of the hilltop. ChemCam planned a horizontal LIBS raster on a bedrock block dubbed "Corstorphine Hill" and another vertical raster on Glen Finglas using tighter point spacing. The Right Mastcam will take images of both ChemCam targets and of Glen Feshie, which was obscured by the arm when it was imaged on Sol 2705.

After an afternoon nap, MAHLI will acquire a full suite of images of the Eshaness brush spot and images from 25 and 5 cm of a soil patch named "Balliekine." APXS will then hover over Balliekine for an evening integration before the instrument is placed on Eshaness for an overnight integration.

Finally, early on the morning of Sol 2707, CheMin will perform funnel piezo and wheel move activities in preparation for the next drill target. During multiple discussions today, the science team concluded that we should go ahead and drill the Edinburgh bedrock target in our next plan.

So it was an interesting and exciting day for me as SOWG chair!