MISSION UPDATES | December 5, 2018

Sol 2252-2253: The Hunt for Red Jura

Written by Abigail Fraeman, Planetary Geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Sol 2252-2253: The Hunt for Red Jura

Even though they looked promising from a few meters away, this morning's workspace images showed us that the red Jura rocks we had hoped to drill are too fractured to drill safely. The texture of these rocks is actually fairly typical of the red Jura rocks, so finding one that is drillable may be challenging. But we're not giving up right away! The science and engineering teams identified another promising rock candidate just a few meters away, and we're going to bump towards that area in today's plan to get a closer look. As Surface Properties Scientist (SPS) today, I worked with the rover drivers to evaluate the geological properties of the terrain we will cross during this drive to ensure we won't drive over any rover hazards.

We will take some time to do science before the drive. In the morning of sol 2252, we have a long remote sensing science block where we will collect ChemCam and Mastcam observations of targets named "Knochan Crag," "Skatie Shore," and "Conan Mains." We'll also snap some Mastcam stereo images of additional potential drill targets in the area named "Dunecht" and "Stronecraigs." After the drive on sol 2253 we'll take an observation of the sky using ChemCam in passive (no laser) mode, along with additional environmental science measurements that include some taus, sky survey, crater rim extinction image, and dust devil searches.

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Dust has certainly been blowing around in Gale Crater lately. An image of the MAHLI calibration target that came down yesterday (sol 2248) was so much cleaner than an image of the same target taken a few weeks ago when the planet-wide dust storm had just started to abate! (sol 2161)