MISSION UPDATES | June 1, 2021

Sols 3136: Roving Out of Dodge… Hopefully!

Written by Lucy Thompson, Planetary Geologist at University of New Brunswick
Hazcam image showing the APXS placed on the Fossemagne bedrock target on the morning of Sol 3134.

Hazcam image showing the APXS placed on the Fossemagne bedrock target on the morning of Sol 3134. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech Download image ›

Our recent attempts to drive have been stymied by problems related to MAHLI and the remote sensing mast (RSM). The planned RSM diagnostic and recovery activities in the previous plan resulted in us not driving away in the 4-sol holiday plan. The RSM activities planned today will hopefully be successful, and we will rove out of Dodge, with a planned drive distance of ~60 m. Prior to the drive we had time to plan a suite of short science observations using ChemCam LIBS to investigate the bedrock composition here (“Fossemagne”) and Mastcam to document the Fossemagne target (also a previous APXS target), as well as other recent APXS rock targets “Villars” and “Festalemps.” We have certainly acquired a lot of compositional data here on the edge of Mont Mercou with both APXS and ChemCam, taking advantage of the time. Navcam will also acquire a line of sight image to monitor the atmosphere.

The amount of data that we will downlink prior to the start of our next plan is relatively small. This resulted in a lot of effort to make sure that we have the necessary imaging down in order to facilitate science in our next workspace, and more importantly, continue driving onwards and upwards. After the drive, MARDI will also image the terrain immediately beneath the rover wheels. Standard RAD, REMS and DAN activities round out this plan.

We are all looking forward to a new view!