MISSION UPDATES | April 20, 2021

Sol 3095: 31 Flavors of Drilled Samples

Written by Abigail Fraeman, Planetary Geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
A view of Mars taken by Curiosity

This image was taken by Front Hazard Avoidance Camera (Front Hazcam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3094 (2021-04-20 04:02:30 UTC). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

We had a great morning on Curiosity planning today because we were greeted by an image of our newest drill hole, “Bardou!” Bardou is Curiosity’s 31st drilled sample, and for those of you keeping score at home, it’s also the 16th sample collected using our modified drilling technique and the seventh sample we’ve drilled while on entirely remote ops. Wowza.

Planning today was aided by a large “power gift” we received when it took less power to drill into the soft rock than we had anticipated. With all the extra energy, the team decided to have an extended remote sensing science block that included observations of the composition of the atmosphere using ChemCam, ChemCam passive spectra on the drill tailings, a Mastcam multispectral image of the drill tailings, and a Mastcam stereo mosaic of interesting textures nearby the rover. When we’re done with all of this remote sensing, Curiosity will drop portions of the drilled sample onto the closed SAM inlet cover so we can study the drilled material and prepare to deliver it to CheMin and SAM later this week. I’m looking forward to seeing what we find up here on top of "Mont Mercou!"