MISSION UPDATES | December 15, 2020

Sols 2972-2973: Rubble Bump

Written by Scott Guzewich, Atmospheric Scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Black and white image of Mars with part of Curiosity rover showing

This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2970. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Curiosity currently is sitting at the edge of two geologic units, and today’s plan was focused on helping find that boundary and begin to determine the differences between them. As you can see in the Navcam image, the ground under our wheels now has small pebbles and is generally smooth. But right ahead of us is a different unit with much larger blocks of rock that has a distinct “rubbly” texture in images from orbit. After a quick touch-and-go in today’s plan on one of the pebbles nearby (“Torness”), Mastcam will take a large stereo mosaic of the boundary between these two geologic units and ChemCam will target three nearby rocks for LIBS analysis. Then we’ll perform a short drive (a “bump” in rover-speak) onto this rubbly unit where we’ll plan more contact science in Wednesday’s plan.

Meanwhile, farther ahead is a large sand sheet that we’ll investigate after the New Year. ENV is keeping an eye on dust devil activity over the sand sheet with two Navcam dust devil searches.