MISSION UPDATES | November 15, 2022

Sols 3653-3654: A Scenic Stop

Written by Lauren Edgar, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center
This image was taken by Right Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3652.

This image was taken by Right Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3652. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Over the weekend Curiosity made great progress towards a location that the team identified as a good imaging stop. We came in this morning and confirmed that we have arrived at the desired location, with a great vantage point looking towards Gediz Vallis ridge, as seen in the above Navcam image. Friday’s blog described why we wanted to come to this spot, and today we had the chance to start acquiring those observations!

The terrain to climb up to this location was a little challenging, so unfortunately we weren’t able to use the robotic arm for contact science today, but that didn’t stop the team from planning a ton of great remote sensing observations (after all, that’s what made us want to come to this site!). The highest priority is a large Mastcam mosaic of Gediz Vallis ridge, which we hope to use to decide where Curiosity will go next. Then ChemCam will assess the target “Guariba” to characterize the new rocks in our workspace. Another high priority in today’s plan is a large ChemCam Long Distance RMI mosaic, to get an even better view of the distant stratigraphy at Gediz Vallis ridge. We’ll also acquire Mastcam stereo images to document the sedimentary structures near the rover, and a sandy trough in our workspace. Then the rover will bump to a slightly different position to set us up for contact science in Wednesday’s plan. On the second sol, Curiosity turns her eyes to the sky, with an hour of remote sensing activities to characterize atmospheric opacity and search for dust devils. I’m looking forward to seeing the results from these big mosaics and deciding where to go next!