MISSION UPDATES | April 21, 2021

Sol 3096: Parked at 'Bardou' for the Next Steps on Drill Hole 31

Written by Susanne Schwenzer, Planetary Geologist at The Open University
Bardou drill hole on Mars

The 31st drill hole, named 'Bardou' is visible in this image taken by the Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3095. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Drilling is always exciting, and the image above shows our 31st drill hole, named ‘Bardou.’ Have a look at yester-sol’s blog, where it also features prominently and was shown from a hazard camera perspective, tosol the image is from the left navigation camera. Can you spot the tiny hole? It’s just 0.6 inch in diameter, and I find it fascinating how structured the surface looks. There is a lot to see here, some things seem to be cross-cutting each other, which is always interesting. But it would be way too early to make any interpretation at this point. For now, we are looking forward to learning all about the mineralogy and chemistry of the sample. The next instruments to investigate it will therefore be SAM and CheMin, and CheMin will receive its sample in today’s plan.

While the chemical laboratory is busy with the preparation to measure this new sample, the cameras are continuing to look at the interesting features all around. ChemCam is peeking into the distance at what is mapped from orbit as the sulfate unit, to investigate textures in the units Curiosity will encounter in the future. Mastcam has a large mosaic in the plan to investigate the sedimentary structures around "Mont Mercou." In addition, there are environmental monitoring activities, looking at atmospheric opacity, dust devils and the clouds.