MISSION UPDATES | December 1, 2020

Sol 2959: A Late Slide and a Touch-and-Go at 'Edinburrie'

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

This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2958. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Planning today started 3 hours later than normal (known as a “late slide sol”) due to the late arrival of data relative to Earth time. We were all eagerly awaiting the results when they came down around 11am Pacific, confirming that yesterday’s ~51 m drive went well and we have some good outcrop in front of the rover to investigate. Today is also known as a “touch-and-go” – an opportunity to do short duration contact science before getting back on the road.

I was on shift as SOWG Chair today and the plan came together easily. First, Curiosity will acquire APXS and MAHLI observations of the target “Edinburrie” to systematically characterize bedrock as we transition between stratigraphic units. Then we’ll stow the arm and have a short science block which contains ChemCam and Mastcam observations of a nodular bedrock target named “Bruggs” and a Mastcam tau to monitor dust in the atmosphere. Then Curiosity will continue making progress to the southeast with a ~30 m drive, towards the bright blocky area seen on the horizon in the above Navcam image. After the drive we’ll acquire imaging to help with context and targeting in tomorrow’s plan. We also planned another autonomously selected ChemCam AEGIS target, and a ChemCam calibration activity. And last but not least, we’ll take a standard MARDI image to keep track of the changing terrain beneath the rover.