MISSION UPDATES | June 16, 2021

Sol 3151-3152: Making Great Progress

Written by Abigail Fraeman, Planetary Geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
This black and white image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3149.

This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3149. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Curiosity drove another ~60 m in our last plan, so we were once again greeted with images from a brand-new location on Mars this morning. The workspace in front of Curiosity is crisscrossed by straight, high standing veins that are more resistant to erosion than the softer underlying bedrock. The veins and nodules in this region, both of which formed when groundwater moved through sediment as it became rock, continue to impress!

Today we planned two sols for Curiosity, the 3,151st and 3,152nd of the mission. On the first sol, we’ll start with a short APXS observation of a bedrock target named “Varennes.” Then we will collect a ChemCam LIBS observation of a nodular target named “Salignac Eyvigues” as well as some telescopic RMI mosaics of the terrain ahead. We’ll also snap Mastcam images of Salignan Eyvigues and additional mosaics of some of the impressive veins surrounding the rover. We then plan to drive further along our strategic route that climbs Mt. Sharp, followed by an evening APXS observation to measure argon in the atmosphere. The second sol of the plan is all about monitoring the environment at Gale crater. We’ll collect some ChemCam passive spectra of the sky above for atmospheric composition, as well as Mastcam and Navcam images to monitor the dust in atmosphere. The day rounds out with an early evening attempt to look for clouds, and we also have the usual cadence of RAD, REMs and DAN observations throughout the plan.