MISSION UPDATES | May 5, 2021

Sols 3110-3111: A New Workspace!

Written by Abigail Fraeman, Planetary Geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
A black and white view of Mars

This image was taken by the Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3109. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

We’re on the road again! Curiosity drove ~44 meters on sol 3109, so we’ve left our scenic view at “Bardou” behind in the rear-view mirror… er… rear Hazcam… er…. actuaaaallllly, to be perfectly precise, front Hazcam since we drove backwards. It was exciting to start planning tosol with a new workspace at our wheels, and we also had views of rocks with great textures on the horizon.

Today’s plan will be a standard “touch and go” sol, meaning we’ll snap a few photos and laser a rock, squeeze in some quick contact science to analyze the area in front of the rover, and then drive on to our next target all before we need to send the data back so that it arrives on Earth in time for us to see it before making Friday’s plan. The contact science target today will be a vein named “Gourdon,” and we’ll also acquire ChemCam LIBS nearby on the same vein on a target named “Molieres.” We’ll additionally collect ChemCam passive spectral and Mastcam multispectral data on a different vein target named “Pech Du Loup,” and we’ll take several Mastcam images to capture the colors and textures of nearby rocks.

For our drive, we’re aiming for a target that is located just above a rock the team informally started describing as having tiger stripes. This “tiger stripe rock” is included in the above image, and I bet you can figure out which one it is! The apparent stripes are likely caused by veins that jut out at low angles and are more resistant to erosion than the surrounding rock. It should be great fun to get a closer of view of this and the surrounding rocks in Friday’s plan.