MISSION UPDATES | October 23, 2020

Sols 2921-2923: On the Road Again!

Written by Ken Herkenhoff, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center
This image was taken by Mast Camera (Mastcam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2842. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS. Download image ›

This image was taken by Mast Camera (Mastcam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2842. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS. Download image ›

We are finally planning to drive away after finishing up at the “Groken” drill hole location, so it was an exciting planning day for me as Science Operations Working Group (SOWG) chair. On Sol 2921, MAHLI will take an image of the APXS target on the sample dump pile, then ChemCam's RMI will take some images of the drill bit after it was successfully used to create three drill holes on the Mary Anning/Groken bedrock block. APXS will be placed on the Groken drill tailings for an overnight integration, then MAHLI will take an image of that target on Sol 2922. Another MAHLI "selfie" is planned for Sol 2922, followed by ChemCam LIBS rasters on bedrock targets "Scaraben" and "Ness." Then the RMI will acquire a 13-frame extension of the "Housedon Hill" mosaic and the Right Mastcam will image the two LIBS targets. The Navcams will be used to search for dust devils and measure atmospheric extinction along with Mastcam. Overnight, CheMin will perform another analysis of the Groken drill sample, then Mastcam will look for changes at the "Upper Ollach" target on Sol 2923. Then, at long last, MSL will drive almost 60 meters toward the "Maybole" outcrop to the south. The post-drive imaging will include an 8x3 Left Mastcam mosaic that will help the tactical team select contact science and drive targets on Monday. Finally, MARDI will take an image of the surface behind the left front wheel during twilight. It's been a productive and interesting drill campaign, but it will be good to get back on the road again!