MISSION UPDATES | September 7, 2021

Sols 3232-3234: Drill Hole Number 33!

Written by Abigail Fraeman, Planetary Geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
This image was taken by Mast Camera (Mastcam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3229.

This image was taken by Mast Camera (Mastcam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3229. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS. Full image and caption ›

Any morning where we get to plan Curiosity’s activities on Mars is a good morning, but mornings we find out we’ve successfully drilled are extra sweet. The subset of the Curiosity operations team who are located at JPL have a tradition of celebrating the rover’s successful drills by eating donut holes. Although it’s difficult to share a delicious box of donut holes while we’re all working remotely, the team has still found creative ways to keep the tradition alive. Over the weekend, we learned that Curiosity collected its 33rd drilled sample from the “Maria Gordon” drill location, so Project Manager Megan Lin shared a recipe for baked apple cider donut holes with everyone to celebrate this morning. Apple cider donut holes sound perfect for fall, so I know what I’ll be baking tonight! Mmmmm.

The star of today’s plan is delivery and analysis of drilled material from Maria Gordon to the CheMin onboard laboratory. These analyses will tell us detailed information about the minerals that are present in this rock. In addition to the CheMin activities, we will also acquire a few Mastcam mosaics, ChemCam RMI mosaics, and ChemCam LIBS observation of the drill hole wall and nearby bedrock target named “Holoman Island.” Some environmental science monitoring will round out the plan. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this rock is made of and continuing to study the geology exposed in our scenic location.