MISSION UPDATES | August 24, 2017

Sol 1796: Elevation -4220 Meters

Written by Roger Wiens, ChemCam Principal Investigator

Curiosity completed a 30.3 meter drive yestersol, climbing another 2.4 meters in elevation. The rover is still in a soil-dominated region near the base of "Vera Rubin Ridge." The planned route takes Curiosity to the gentlest slope up the ridge. As part of that route, the rover has already climbed more than 15 meters from the elevation of the base of the ridge a little farther to the west, where the rover first approached the ridge. The highest portion of the ridge is still towering some 30 meters above the rover. Curiosity's current elevation is -4220 meters.

The SOWG meeting started with some beautiful poetry by ChemCam Science Payload Uplink Lead (sPUL) Raymond Francis about how (excitedly) distracting the recent Earth-Moon eclipse was for Mars operators, some of whom ended up doing operations remotely from eclipse sites earlier in the week. The last verse of the poem concludes:

The eclipse is no longer an imagined abstraction;
Its image remains a persistent distraction.
To see it oneself provoked wondrous reaction
That can hold us still rapt, when it's time for Mars action.

Today's Mars action plan includes an analysis by APXS on "Tinker" (bedrock immediately in front and to left of rover arm shadow in the image in the link), along with MAHLI observations of the same, a REMS UV observation, a DAN passive observation, and ChemCam targeting of "Tinker" and "Mosquick" (a darker knob on bedrock nearby). Mastcam will also image these targets (5x2, right for "Tinker", single right for "Mosquick") along with "Babbidge Ledge" (4x1 right, of bedrock slightly farther up the ridge), and follow-up imaging of the ChemCam AEGIS target from Sol 1795. A drive of ~20 meters is planned to take under an hour, with DAN active, and Navcam and Mastcam imaging from the new location to be used for the next sol's planning of observations.