MISSION UPDATES | November 24, 2020

Sols 2954-2957: Rest and Be Thankful

Written by Fred Calef, Planetary Geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
The "Rest and Be Thankful" target is located up and to the left of the image center.

The "Rest and Be Thankful" target is located up and to the left of the image center. This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2951. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

We're planning four Martian days covering sols 2954 through 2957 ahead of the U.S. holiday break. Holidays, for me, are times to celebrate, reflect, or mourn. For some, it can be all three at once. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, I'd like to share a quote from Paula Peters of the Mashpee Wampanoag: "We are still here to acknowledge them, learn from them, talk about them, and give gratitude to the creator for them." While the "them" was in reference to the material objects from their culture that endures to this day, I think "them" can also mean our loved ones past and present.

Today, the science team reflected on the rocks on one of the many "benches" we're traversing over on our way to significant sulfate outcrops identified from orbit. Over the planning sols, we'll take five ChemCam observations named after the Scottish locations "Achnagarron" ("Field of the Geldings"), "Achnaha" ("Field by the Stable"), "Achnacarry" ("Field by the Wier"), "Achininver" ("Field by the River Mouth"), and "Achnasau" ("Field with the Barns") along with Mastcam documentation images of each. Additional observations include a Mastcam mosaic "along strike" (i.e. in the direction of the rock bedding plane) to the bench and a distant ChemCam RMI mosaic of the sulfates ahead. Before we drive off on sol 2956, the appropriate "Rest and Be Thankful" target, named after an actual location where hikers stopped in Scotland, will be cleaned by the Dust Removal Tool (DRT) and measured with APXS. Afterwards, we'll continue to drive ~75 meters towards the sulfates and take a Mastcam mosaic of the arm workspace in front of the rover, a Navcam cloud search movie, and a MARDI image looking at the rocks underneath the rover.

I recommend being like that target and "rest and be thankful" for the coming week.