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Curiosity Mission Updates

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) on Sol 1727 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

The drive on Sol 1728 was successful, and our weekend plan will be chock-full of activities. On the first sol, we will do some contact science on the rather colorful workspace that is currently in front of the rover. We will be collecting MAHLI and APXS observations of two targets, "Frazer Creek" and "Lurvey Spring." We will also collect some ChemCam observations of "Mark Island" and Frazer Creek plus the corresponding Mastcam documentation images of these targets. Finally, we will take a full multispectral filter Mastcam observation of Mark Island, as well as additional Mastcam images of targets "Big Spencer Mountain" and "Monument Cove."

Curiosity will wake up around 3 in the morning between the first and second sols of the plan to make a special observation of Mars' moon Phobos. We are going to watch Phobos as it emerges from Mars' shadow into sunlight. This will help us measure the amount and size of dust particles in Mars' upper atmosphere. After the sun rises on the second sol of the weekend plan, we'll do full MAHLI wheel imaging (or FMWI in rover-acronym speak). We take images of our wheels using MAHLI throughout a full wheel rotation every few hundred meters to track the rate of wheel damage.

On the third sol of the plan, we will drive and have a post-drive ChemCam AEGIS observation and dust devil search. The drive will place us ~35 meters closer to the second Vera Rubin Ridge approach-imaging stop. The data Curiosity collected during the first imaging stop earlier in the week have been coming down over the last few days, and they look absolutely spectacular. For example, a portion of the ChemCam RMI mosaic we took of the lower most layers of the ridge show a lot of fine-scale layers. I mapped Vera Rubin Ridge using orbital data as part of my PhD thesis five years ago, so it's been so exciting for me to see these images after staring at the area from above for so long. The fine scale details that we'll be able to collect using Curiosity's instruments will help us understand how Vera Rubin Ridge formed, and any implications for past habitable environments at Gale Crater.

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.

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Tools on the
Curiosity Rover
The Curiosity rover has tools to study clues about past and present environmental conditions on Mars, including whether conditions have ever been favorable for microbial life. The rover carries:

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Spectrometers

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