MISSION UPDATES | July 10, 2020

Sols 2819-2821: Movin' Right Along in Search of Good Sights and Good Rocks

Written by Abigail Fraeman, Planetary Geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
surface of Mars

This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2817. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›​

On Wednesday, Curiosity successfully drove a whopping 102.5 meters over 159 minutes. This isn’t the longest drive Curiosity’s ever completed (the record is 142.5 meters on sol 665), but it did set a record for the longest drive ever planned from our quarantined dining room tables and couches. We’re making great progress on our summer road trip towards the sulfate unit, and are getting very close to our first “rest stop.” While I have fond memories of pulling over at the Delaware House during my many trips up and down the east coast of the U.S. as a child, Curiosity’s rest stop will be a location in the clay unit that we might decide to drill in order to collect one last clay-rich sample we leave the area.

We didn’t plan quite as long of a drive during planning today because of the visibility and types of terrain we’re in, but we do plan to drive another ~32 meters on the second sol of the weekend’s plan. Before that, we’ll collect ChemCam observations on targets named “Reivers Route,” “Moray Coastal Trail,” and “West Highland Way,” and take some Mastcam mosaics. We will also collect APXS and MAHLI data from a target named “Kintyre Way,” which is one of the larger rocks in the pebbly workspace in front of the rover today. Can you figure out the theme we used in selecting our target names today? Finally, Curiosity will collect the usual suite of observations to measure the environmental conditions, and image the ChemCam calibration targets after the drive on the third sol of the weekend plan.