MISSION UPDATES | September 14, 2020

Sol 2883: Still Taking in the Surroundings

Written by Michelle Minitti, Planetary Geologist at Framework
This image was taken by Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2882.

This image was taken by Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2882. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL. Download image ›

As the SAM team pores over their data from last week’s wet chemistry experiment on the "Mary Anning 3” sample, the rest of the team continued the comprehensive survey of the chemistry and mineralogy of our home since Sol 2829. We will revisit the mellifluously-named “Le Ceasnachadh,” pictured above, to acquire more passive ChemCam spectral data from the gray, bulbous layers that cover the top surface of the target. We will shoot both "Fountainhall” and “Sandlodge Mine” with the ChemCam laser to investigate their chemistries, as they are both adjacent to intriguing, previously-analyzed targets. Fountainhall is near the “Formartine” and “Foulden” targets, and Sandlodge Mine is a sandy swale near the “Ayton” target.

Navcam will acquire some images over one the communication passes in the plan, a test use of Navcam that might eventually allow us to obtain more science or drive farther in future plans. In each plan, we regularly take engineering camera images to help us document activities and monitor the state and position of the rover, and those images require time and power. The ability to use the engineering cameras over a pass means Curiosity can execute two activities - communicating and taking engineering images - in parallel rather than in series. This would leave more time and power for science observations or driving. In addition to this test imaging, Navcam will also contribute to the science in this plan, shooting a thirty minute dust devil movie. DAN will passively measure the ground under the back of the rover for a nice long four hour stretch. Our environmental instruments also have nice long measurement stretches - REMS will run for more than 10 hours and RAD will run the entire sol.

This fairly straightforward sol activity-wise also puts us in the best position to have sufficient power for whatever activities the rest of the week holds.