MISSION UPDATES | April 2, 2021

Sols 3078-3080: A Sandy Stop Near ‘Mont Mercou'

Written by Kristen Bennett, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center
A patch of sand and a 7-meter outcrop on mars

A patch of sand and a 7-meter sedimentary outcrop are visible in this image taken by the Front Hazard Avoidance Camera (Front Hazcam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3076. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Curiosity is continuing to make her way around "Mont Mercou" to capture as many angles as possible of the 7-meter tall sedimentary outcrop. Today the rover stopped at a patch of sand (shown in the image above), so the science team divided our focus between the sand at our feet and the outcrop towering above us.

The plan includes many images of Mont Mercou. There are several Mastcam mosaics that cover the outcrop, including some stereo observations. There is also a ChemCam RMI, called “Montpeyroux,” of interesting sedimentary structures that are visible from this side of the outcrop.

The plan also focuses on the sand that is in the rover’s workspace. There are two contact science targets: “Scoor” on a ripple crest and “Garve” on a trough. Mastcam and MAHLI will each take images of these targets, while APXS will focus on Garve.

Finally, Curiosity will drive further around Mont Mercou. At first the rover will drive just a little bit and use MAHLI to image the wheels as they turn. Next, Curiosity will complete a longer drive to continue circling around to the top of Mont Mercou.