MISSION UPDATES | May 6, 2020

Sols 2756-2757: Presenting Our Newest Drill Sample, 'Glasgow!'

Written by Vivian Sun, Planetary Geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Close-up view of a drill hole on Mars

This image was taken by Mast Camera (Mastcam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2754. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech Download image ›

Our second try at drilling the "Glasgow" target proved successful and this morning we welcomed our 26th drill hole on Mars! (See picture above.) It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a little over a month since we drilled our last sample “Edinburgh.” Curiosity is certainly making quick progress in the “Glen Torridon” region.

The focus of today’s two-sol plan is portion characterization, which is the next step in our drill campaign sequence. This portion characterization step consists of Curiosity’s arm dropping a few portions of drill powder onto a surface, with Mastcam imaging before and after to check the drilled sample before delivering it to CheMin and SAM.

Aside from this important and exciting activity, the team also planned a variety of remote sensing activities to study the rocks and environment around Glasgow. ChemCam will be observing two targets on nodular bedrock, “Polwarth” and “Rob Roy Way,” which may give us insight into how these rocks interacted with water. Another two targets, “Valsgarth” and “Lunnain,” are located on less nodular portions of bedrock, and will help us characterize the typical composition of the rocks at our drill site. ChemCam’s final observation in this plan is a long-distance image of “Puffin,” which is a nodular crossbedded portion of the pediment cap.

A number of Mastcam images and mosaics are planned, including a large mosaic of a trough feature that continues the coverage from a mosaic in the previous plan. Part of this Mastcam mosaic will also expand high-resolution imaging of our workspace, which will help us target higher-resolution features in future plans. A MARDI image will also be acquired, and will serve as the baseline image for future change-detection observations while we are parked at the Glasgow drill site. Rounding out our plan is a suite of environmental observations aimed at characterizing local atmospheric conditions, especially now that we’re entering the season where dust activity may be picking up. As the Geology Keeper of the Plan today, it was a lot of fun putting together such a busy plan with the whole team!