MISSION UPDATES | August 4, 2020

Sol 2843: On Your Marks SAM, Get Ready...!

Written by Catherine O'Connell-Cooper, Planetary Geologist at University of New Brunswick
observation of the drill hole on Mars

ChemCam observation of the drill hole (taken on sol 2839), this image will be retaken in today’s plan to help future targeting of the drill hole. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL. Download image ›

We are at the "Mary Anning" drill site, getting ready for the next experiment here at this exciting drill site. Yesterday’s plan saw some drill sample delivered to the Chemical and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument, and we are eagerly awaiting the first results of that analysis. Today we planned a Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) preconditioning activity to get ready for sample drop off to SAM and analysis later in the week, which will catalogue the composition and check for traces of organic molecules in these rocks. SAM is a very power hungry instrument, so we are budgeting most of our energy across this week around the SAM activities. As the “precon” activity takes up most of our available energy today, the geology theme group (GEO) limited itself to re-imaging the drill hole (shown in the cover image) using ChemCam, Mastcam and Navcam. This will allow us to refine targeting of the drill hole by ChemCam, APXS, and MAHLI in future plans, when power is not as constrained as it is right now! We squeezed every last bit of power available for today’s planning, so that the environmental theme group (ENV) were able to get in some monitoring activities, looking for dust devils and dust in the atmosphere, as well as standard REMS (weather) and DAN activities.