MISSION UPDATES | May 13, 2020

Sols 2763-2764: Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) is Getting Ready

Written by Ryan Anderson, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center
A black and white panorama of Mars

This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2749. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›​

There was a hiccup with the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument in Monday’s plan preventing it from running the “preconditioning” steps to get ready for sample analysis, but after studying the issue the SAM team says that everything looks ok. So, we’re planning to try again with SAM preconditioning on the afternoon of sol 2763, so that we can go ahead with a SAM analysis of the "Glasgow" drill sample over the weekend.

While SAM gets ready, the other instruments are keeping busy: Sol 2763 starts with Navcam images of the rover deck and a movie to watch for dust devils. Navcam and Mastcam will then look at the atmosphere to the north, toward the crater rim. ChemCam has two active observations, one of a bedrock target called “Ballagan,” and one of a vein called “Carlin Tooth.” Mastcam will then do a “tau” measurement, looking at the Sun to measure dust in the atmosphere.

On Sol 2764, we’ll repeat the rover deck monitoring and the north-facing images with Navcam and Mastcam, plus a Navcam movie facing north to watch for clouds, and a larger Navcam dust devil movie. Mastcam will then take pictures of the two ChemCam targets from Sol 2763, followed by some stereo mosaics. These extend a previous mosaic to capture more images of some interesting bedrock fractures and lineations. Finally, Mastcam will repeat its tau observation of the Sun.