MISSION UPDATES | July 6, 2021

Sol 3170: Drilling… and Some Science on Top!

Written by Mariah Baker, Planetary Geologist at Center for Earth & Planetary Studies, Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
Nasa's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Left Navigation Camera on Sol 3165, at drive 1992, site number 89.
This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3165. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

After a few sols of preparation, the rover is ready to execute her next drill on Mars! Since drilling and associated characterization activities can eat up a lot of power, the team didn’t anticipate being able to do much else in tosol’s plan. But an unexpected “power gift” (when the rover uses less energy than we had budgeted in the previous plan) allowed us to schedule almost an hour of additional science time – a welcome surprise!

To take advantage of this opportunity, the team scheduled a small set of observations to study the local geology and environment. Two Mastcam mosaics were planned, one covering a small butte and another covering a patch of bedrock with linear nodule features. A ChemCam RMI observation will be used to get a closer look at a distant rock outcrop (shown in the Navcam image above), and a set of Navcam images will be used to characterize ongoing cloud activity. If all goes according to plan, we’ll have a new drill hole on Mars by tomorrow… as well as some bonus science data to boot!