MISSION UPDATES | September 9, 2022

Sols 3589-3591: There's Plenty to See Around Here

Written by Lauren Edgar, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center
This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3580.

This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3580. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Curiosity is back to planning after an issue with the rover’s arm in last weekend’s plan. The engineers are still making sure we understand what happened before doing more contact science or driving. That means that today’s 3-sol plan is focused on remote sensing and environmental monitoring, and there is a lot to see in this area! Curiosity is in a beautiful valley with intriguing buttes in every direction, some interesting bedrock blocks in our workspace, and windblown fines scattered throughout. The diverse landscape can be seen in the above Navcam image.

I was on shift as SOWG Chair today, and the team planned a lot of great science observations. On the first sol, GEO planned ChemCam LIBS of a bedrock block, as well as a Mastcam multispectral observation, and some imaging of loose sediment to look for changes. The plan also includes Mastcam imaging of sedimentary structures and diagenetic features, and bedding within the Chenapau butte and adjacent channel. GEO also planned a MARDI image to look for changes in the past week. The second sol includes two long distance ChemCam RMI mosaics to investigate the stratigraphy at a butte named Deepdale, featured in the above Navcam image. The third sol includes another LIBS target on a bedrock block, and a Mastcam mosaic to assess bedrock weathering. In addition to characterizing the geology and geochemistry, ENV is going to keep the rover busy looking at the sky. The team planned observations to monitor dust in the atmosphere, search for dust devils, monitor clouds, and search for cosmic rays. Looks like a busy weekend on Mars!