MISSION UPDATES | October 29, 2020

Sols 2926-2927: Honing in on 'Hedgehope Hill'

Written by Catherine O'Connell-Cooper, Planetary Geologist at University of New Brunswick
A rock formation called Hedgehope Hill on Mars

The "Hedgehope Hill" is visible on the upper left of this image taken by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2924. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS. Download image ›

Sometimes in geology, as in life, it helps to look at the same thing from different perspectives. Accordingly, this plan sees us getting very close to “Maybole” (the first of a series of resistant elongated rock features that we call "benches" in this area) and then pulling way back and looking again.

First, MAHLI will acquire a series of 15 images, focused on “Hedgehope Hill” in the upper left of the Mastcam image shown above. This sequence of images (known affectionately as a “MAHLI Dog's Eye”) will allow the compilation of a mosaic 40-centimeter long, at a standoff (distance from the rock surface) of 15-20 centimeters, which will give a wealth of detailed information. Using the mosaic, sedimentologists can determine details about everything from grain sizes and shapes to small scale sedimentary structures in this laminated rock. Then, once we finish our other objectives here, we will drive around 40 meters to a new location for the weekend, where Mastcam will image Maybole and the area to its east. Combining both the very detailed mosaic and the longer distance imagery will help us to understand the stratigraphy and to hopefully gain valuable insights into the evolution of these resistant bench features.

As the mosaic will take a full hour to acquire, we had to practice restraint for the rest of the plan! GEO planned active ChemCam LIBS analysis on two targets here, “Tingwall” towards the top of the Maybole ledge and “Ting” towards the bottom. Mastcam will take further images of the Maybole outcrop, including documentation of the ChemCam targets. ENV will take standard Navcam dust devil movies and document the dust in the atmosphere, via a Mastcam tau (opacity) measurement.

At our new location for the weekend, Mastcam and Navcam will survey the workspace, getting post-drive workspace imagery to facilitate science observations in the weekend plan.