MISSION UPDATES | March 24, 2020

Sols 2713-2714: Check Your Work!

Written by Michelle Minitti, Planetary Geologist at Framework
Mars surface as seen by Curiosity on Sol 2711

This image was taken by Right Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2711. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech Download image ›

The drill successfully dug into the “Edinburgh” target over the weekend, the first sandstone the drill has attempted to conquer since the engineering team hacked a new drilling method back in 2018.

As any good student would at the end of a test, it is now time for Curiosity to check her work! Curiosity will drop three small portions of rock powder from the drill onto various rover surfaces, and then Mastcam will image those portions. This is a good way to check the sample in the drill before it is delivered to CheMin and SAM.

Portion characterization is the main goal of the plan, but the science team added other observations to the plan. ChemCam hit a slight hiccup on the last sol of the weekend plan, but one that was straightforward to recover from at the start of the plan today.

ChemCam will first recover observations from the weekend including a passive spectral observation of the Edinburgh drill tailings piled up around the drill hole, and a long distance RMI mosaic across the “Greenheugh pediment” target “Three Lochs.” ChemCam will then get an analysis from its titanium calibration target. Navcam will acquire a mosaic covering the top of the pediment and Mt. Sharp to enable the team to target future Mastcam and ChemCam observations as far as our rover eyes can see.

The skies got plenty of attention today, as well. Navcam will acquire movies looking for dust devils at two different times of day, as well as images to consistently monitor the amount of dust in the atmosphere. Navcam will also throw in a movie looking for clouds for good measure!