MISSION UPDATES | March 16, 2021

Sol 3061: The Fascination of Hilly Landscapes

Written by Susanne Schwenzer, Planetary Geologist at The Open University
The 'Nontron' drill hole is visible in front of the rover.

This image was taken by Front Hazard Avoidance Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3060. The ‘Nontron’ drill hole is visible in front of the rover. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

With the drill campaign well under way, we get to take in all the vistas of the magnificent landscape around us. The image above is taken by the front hazard camera and shows the new drill hole and the landscape around us. Mont Mercou is a fascinating place with lots of structures visible. So the team spent some of today’s planning to discuss these beautiful details and to prioritize what we want to look at, so that we do not miss anything. It’s always good to have a bit of discussion and share all the details we individually discover, be it in the way the rocks are layered or the differences in colour or how many veins there are. If you want to, you can browse the raw images section of the website to get an impression of all those details!

Tosol, it is a SAM focused day, with SAM doing its EGA measurement. This means we are also a little closer to the question I posed back on the sol 3056-3057 blog: Is there nontronite in the Nonton drill hole? If there is, there will be water released from the sample in characteristic patterns – and with that I mean at specific temperatures while the sample is being heated gradually from its ambient temperature to about 900°C.

SAM is not the only instrument busy today, though. ChemCam is taking a long-distance view with its remote micro imager onto a hill in the background of Mont Mercou, while Mastcam continues to work on completing a mosaic that covers entire Mont Mercou.