MISSION UPDATES | December 9, 2021

Sols 3321-3322: Old Martian in the Mountain

Written by Scott Guzewich, Atmospheric Scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
This is a black and white image of the Maria Gordon notch which is a low hill on Mars.

This image was taken by Right Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3319. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

After a challenging day yesterday due to issues on Mars and Earth, today went far smoother as we planned 2 sols that will continue our activities in the visually stunning Maria Gordon notch. On the first sol we will have ChemCam activities with a LIBS target on a nearby bedrock slab and then a passive observation to study atmospheric dust, ice, and gases. Then we’ll place the arm on “Cladh Hallan” for contact science with APXS and MAHLI.

On the second sol, Curiosity will wake up early to catch the morning sunlight on the west face of the cliff wall lining the notch and image it with Mastcam and Navcam. Then after additional science with Navcam, Mastcam, and ChemCam, the rover will drive just to the right of the corner of the cliff seen in the image above. From our current location, it can’t help but remind me of the Old Man in the Mountain that used to be in New Hampshire. At this parking location, we’ll conduct a focused science campaign with DAN over the weekend to study the makeup of the cliff wall itself.