MISSION UPDATES | April 26, 2017

Sol 1678: A smooth planning day

Written by
Ken Herkenhoff, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center
Lauren Edgar, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center

MSL drove another 33 meters on Sol 1677, and again is surrounded by rocky outcrops partly covered by dark sand. Although Rover Planner support was available for "touch and go" contact science, the GEO science theme group decided that the limited reachable outcrop did not warrant contact science, and that driving is the top priority for this plan. APXS data were successfully acquired on Sol 1677, so are not urgently needed in this new location. The plan for Sol 1678 therefore focuses on remote sensing, with ChemCam 10x1 rasters on "Hancock Point," a darker exposure of bedrock, and "Crocker Mountain," a more normal-looking bedrock exposure. Mastcam context imaging of these targets will be followed by mosaics of nearby exposures that show sedimentary structures. Because the drive plan is likely to end up with bedrock in the arm workspace, we added a 3x2 Left Mastcam mosaic of the workspace to the post-drive imaging block, in case we can plan a touch and go tomorrow. Two ChemCam AEGIS activities and a Navcam zenith movie are planned after the drive. Thanks to the efficient work done by the science theme groups, planning went very smoothly today, making it an easy day for me as SOWG Chair.