MISSION UPDATES | October 1, 2020

Sols 2899-2900: Sniffing the Air

Written by Ashley Stroupe, Mission Operations Engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
A close-up view of Curiosity's arm at work on Mars

Curiosity "checks out her arm" in this image taken by the Right Navigation Camera on Sol 2897. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

Tomorrow on Mars, we will celebrate 2900 sols on Mars with the Curiosity Rover!

The priority in today’s two-sol plan is the completion of the back-to-back atmospheric measurements by the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument (SAM). SAM will be analyzing the methane content of the nighttime Mars atmosphere using its tunable laser spectrometer. This will help to fill in our understanding of the seasonal changes in the atmosphere.

In addition to the very power-intense SAM activity, we were also able to squeeze in some additional remote science observations on the second sol of the plan. ChemCam added several frames to the ongoing RMI mosaic of the target “Housedon Hill” (a.k.a. Housedon) – a target on the higher levels of Mount Sharp – in order to better understand the geology. These frames will be added to the dozens already taken. We also planned a Mastcam clast survey, and will take images to look for changes in the workspace during the time we have been parked at "Mary Anning." The second sol also included a short set of environmental observations, including a short Navcam dust devil movie, a Navcam line-of-sight, and a Mastcam basic tau.

And with all that, we made sure we still had enough power for the rover planners to add some additional arm diagnostics to the plan.