MISSION UPDATES | January 27, 2021

Sols 3015-3016: Can You Dip Your Toe in When It's Always Cold and Dry?

Written by Scott Guzewich, Atmospheric Scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Parts of the Curiosity rover are visible in this Mars panorama

This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3013 (2021-01-27 00:07:33 UTC). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Today Curiosity is sitting on a geological contact within the “fractured intermediate unit” and we’re investigating the “rubbly” portion of that unit. This Navcam image clearly shows the boundary between the smooth and pebbly portion of the unit and the large blocky portion we are investigating on this brief “toe dip” into the rubbly area. We will perform contact science with APXS and MAHLI on one of these blocks, termed “Beaupouvet,” and take Mastcam multispectral and mosaic images of it and other rocks in the workspace. ChemCam is acquiring passive spectra of its calibration target while the team investigates an issue with some observations last week. After contact science, we’ll drive back into the smoother pebbly portion of the unit as we continue to head for the sulfate unit higher on Mt. Sharp. On the second sol of our plan, we’ll have a sequence of activities to search for and image dust devils. We’ll also look for evening clouds, which typically become more abundant this time of year as we approach the northern hemisphere spring equinox on Mars.