MISSION UPDATES | December 6, 2021

Sol 3319: Shoot the Gap

Written by Scott Guzewich, Atmospheric Scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
This is a black and white image of the rocky surface on Mars. A large hill is present in the background.

This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3318. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Curiosity is preparing to “shoot the gap”and dash through the Maria Gordon notch (the cliff-lined valley seen in the image above) in the sols ahead. Already we have a spectacular view of the 12 m (39 feet) tall cliff on the right/west side of the Notch and today’s plan included additional imaging of the cliff face. DAN is planning a mini-campaign to study the composition of the cliff face and we began preparing for that today with two DAN “active”sequences (when DAN generates neutrons to bombard the ground below the rover and help determine its hydration and composition) and a long DAN “passive”sequence (when we let the Universe provide the neutrons). We additionally scheduled brief contact science with APXS and MAHLI on a large block in the workspace, a drive, and a late afternoon Mastcam sky survey to study airborne dust particles.

Today’s drive will bring us into the edge of the valley seen in the image, where we can identify an ideal location for DAN’s planned campaign later this week.