MISSION UPDATES | May 10, 2020

Sols 2758-2760: First Taste of the 'Glasgow' Drill Sample

Written by Melissa Rice, Planetary Geologist at Western Washington University
This image was taken by Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2755.

This image was taken by Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2755. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL. Download image ›

Today’s image (above) shows the fine material called “drill tailings” that surrounds the new "Glasgow" drill hole. Some of the rock taken from inside the drill hole will be fed to the rover’s CheMin instrument on sol 2758. The X-ray diffraction patterns that CheMin acquires will tell us what minerals are present in the rock. That important data, in combination with Curiosity’s other instrument investigations, will help us untangle the complex history of how this outcrop formed, what the environment at Gale crater was like when it did, and how it has interacted with water between then and now.

In addition to CheMin’s taste of Glasgow, the ChemCam instrument will also give the drill target a sniff by shooting its LIBS laser inside the hole. ChemCam will also target other spots on the nearby bedrock at “Loch_na_Keal,” “Loch_Olabhat,” and “Loch_Trool.” With Mastcam, Curiosity will photograph the area with wide stereo mosaics, and will look at spots called “Ishriff_1” and “Ishriff_2” to see if the wind has moved any of the sand since Mastcam imaged these same locations 10 days ago. In addition, the ChemCam Remote Micro Imager will peer at the trough called “Calmac” on the Western Butte, and Curiosity will also perform several environmental monitoring activities this weekend.

As the Long-Term Planner for sols 2758-2760, my role is to look further ahead to the next few days and into the coming weeks. We will be chewing on the Glasgow sample for a while before we’re ready to spit it out and drive away – the SAM instrument will analyze the sample later this week, and CheMin will acquire more data as well – so today’s plan really is just a first taste!