MISSION UPDATES | November 30, 2020

Sol 2958: Digesting a Long Weekend Full of Data

Written by Lauren Edgar, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center
Black and white view of Mars

This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2956. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

While many in the U.S. spent the long weekend resting and giving thanks, Curiosity was hard at work investigating rocky outcrops and driving back to the path that we’ve planned to ascend Mt. Sharp. The ~69 meters drive over the weekend put the rover in front of the patch of outcrop seen in the above Navcam image, but not quite close enough to plan contact science. So today’s one-sol plan is focused on remote sensing observations and a drive.

The plan begins with several Navcam observations to monitor dust in the atmosphere, search for dust devils, and monitor the movement of fines on the rover deck. Then ChemCam will investigate the bedrock target “Kergord,” followed by Mastcam imaging to characterize bedding orientations and troughs. There’s also an interesting small crater nearby named “Brogaig” that we can only see from this location, so the team planned a Mastcam mosaic for documentation. Then Curiosity will continue to drive to the southeast followed by more remote sensing. The afternoon science block includes an autonomously selected ChemCam AEGIS target, a Mastcam clast survey, Navcam context imaging, and additional monitoring of dust in the atmosphere and on the rover deck. I’ll be on shift as SOWG Chair tomorrow so I’m getting caught up, digesting all of the recent data, and asking for seconds.