MISSION UPDATES | August 16, 2022

Sol 3565: Over, Around, and Through

Written by Michelle Minitti, Planetary Geologist at Framework
Image of obstacles, large ripples and several boulders, that guard the Paraitepuy Pass.

This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3564. Credits: NASA-JPL/Caltech. Download image ›

We filled much of today’s plan imaging the wonders around and ahead of us as we pick our way through “Paraitepuy Pass” - the towering buttes, geologic relationships, and layers that have drawn our attention for a literal decade. But it is also fun to look back on how we got to where we are. The image above traces a small segment of our path traversing the obstacles that guard the pass - over one of the large ripples, around several large boulders - leading us to a point where we are nearly through the pass. I particularly enjoy seeing the choice of diverting the drive oh-so-close to the towering “Bolivar” butte to our starboard side so our wheels could cross the (presumably!) shallowest part of the large ripple. It is great to see yet another successful ripple crossing, hearkening back to the first big one way back on Sol 535 at “Dingo Gap.”

Before we cross yet one more ripple, we planned imaging from the scale of vistas to small bedrock blocks. ChemCam will image the spectacular “Kukenan” butte, and will team up with Mastcam to image an intriguing rubbly ridge extending from the north side of Bolivar. Mastcam will add to our coverage of the “Orinoco” butte, and Bolivar butte with mosaics along its base including the “Karia Island” and “Ayanganna” targets. The interesting texture and color of the former target also made it a target for Mastcam multispectral analysis. We will acquire one Mastcam image of “Antonio,” the lone rock poking out of the ripple in front of the rover which has a lumpy texture. DAN passive runs in parallel with all these geologic observations and our drive, punctuated by a DAN active post-drive. RAD and REMS will keep their regular tabs on our environment throughout the sol.