MISSION UPDATES | May 22, 2020

Sols 2771-2774: Memorial Day – Not a Day Off on Mars!!

Written by Catherine O'Connell-Cooper, Planetary Geologist at University of New Brunswick
The shadow of Curiosity’s arm is visible against Mars' surface

Front Hazard Camera (FHAZ) image of our workspace – drill fines will be dumped on the bedrock to the left of the drill hole, just visible in the centre of the image. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›​

Drilling on Mars is an exciting business: those first images of a successful drill hole are always thrilling, even after 26 successful drill holes. Once the drilling is done though, each planning day becomes a battle to cram activities in, aiming to glean as much information as possible from the drill target, as efficiently as possible. Today, the geology theme group (GEO) planned a large four-sol plan (the US holiday Memorial Day on Monday is not a planning day), and we had to work very hard to fit in everything we wanted. Our wishlist of activities included continuing analysis of cached drill sample with CheMin, and then dumping the remaining sample (“drill fines”) and investigating it with Mastcam, MAHLI and APXS. We also wanted to continue our analysis of the bedrock and surroundings with ChemCam and Mastcam, which will investigate the targets “Stony Breck,” “Melodious Cave,” “Haymarket,” and redo an earlier target, “Rob Roy Way.”

On top of these GEO activities, the environment theme group (ENV) planned observations to monitor environmental conditions (dust, wind, temperature). Incredibly, we managed to fit everything in without having to sacrifice any of our coveted science activities, so Curiosity will be hard at work across this Memorial Day weekend!