MISSION UPDATES | July 1, 2020

Sols 2810-2815: No Holidays on Mars

Written by Scott Guzewich, Atmospheric Scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Surface of Mars

This image was taken by Rear Hazard Avoidance Camera (Rear Hazcam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2809. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›​

To give the (American) Earthlings a holiday on Friday, we planned 5 sols of activities for Curiosity today. But our rover will certainly not be taking any days off, with a mix of science and engineering activities over the long weekend. We are continuing to update the rover computer’s flight software, which will preclude nearly all science activities during the first and last sols of those 5 sols. In between is a fairly normal 3-sol weekend plan.

We started planning today with the realization that the rover had adjusted its position from the previous sol and the front left wheel moved downward onto the surface. This uncertainty in our position precluded contact science at this location, but GEO still scheduled a full list of remote sensing science with ChemCam and Mastcam before we drive away over the weekend.

Mars is in the middle of the dusty season currently (southern hemisphere spring) and the amount of dust in the atmosphere has been increasing over the last 2 weeks, although it is still within typical values for the season above Gale Crater. For the long weekend, I added several additional activities to the rover’s plan to monitor atmospheric dust devils so we’re aware if any storms develop.