Curiosity Mission Updates
Sol 1684: Touch and Go or Just Go?Written by Christopher Edwards on 05.02.2017
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Right Navigation Cameras (Navcams) on Sol 1683 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Today was a day of tradeoffs. Should Curiosity focus on driving to get to a higher priority target sooner, or conduct contact science at the current location? Ultimately the Geology Theme Group decided to forgo the "touch-and-go" option, in which contact science is carried out prior to driving, and instead focused on using that time to increase the drive distance. With today's drive, the hope is to make it about 50 meters down the road along the strategically planned path informally known as the "Mt. Sharp Ascent Route." At the end of today's drive, the plan is for the rover to end up within about 2 meters of an intriguing gray hued target, having made significant progress towards a "megaripple" of high interest for helping to further our understanding of Martian aeolian processes. Megaripples are thought to form when the wind regime is not strong enough to move larger particles but still strong enough to move some of the smaller particles by saltation (that is, by bouncing short distances across the surface). Previously, Curiosity has visited several locations associated with the Bagnold Dunes where the rover is conducting a detailed assessment of variability and properties of the dune field as a whole.
About this Blog
These blog updates are provided by self-selected Mars Science Laboratory mission team members who love to share what Curiosity is doing with the public.
Dates of planned rover activities described in these reports are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.