Curiosity Mission Updates

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on Sol 2477 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
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Over the last few weeks Curiosity has collected hundreds of spectacular images, like the one above, that document the layers and textures of rocks exposed in the "Visionarium." (And as we heard in the last blog, we also set a mission record yesterday for having the highest tilt we've ever had while conducting contact science -- over 25 degrees!) With all of this imaging under our belt, we're now hoping to delve deeper into studying the composition of the rocks in the Visionarium, so we are beginning to look for our next potential drill target.

In the plan for the weekend, Curiosity will drive ~10 m to the top of the southern escarpment in the Visionarium. The drive will place us in an ideal location to image potential future drill targets. Before the drive, we'll spend a sol collecting MAHLI and APXS data from targets named "Naver" and "Fetterangus," along with ChemCam and Mastcam observations of "Malin Sea," "Loch Katrine," and "Loch Broom." We'll also take several environmental science monitoring observations, and an 80 frame stereo Mastcam mosaic of "Hebrides," which is the area where we hope to find our next drill target.

On a personal note, today was an extra fun day of planning for me because I was joined by several science team members during my shift at JPL. Because members of the science team are located all over the world, we usually need to work with phone lines and screen sharing tools to develop our tactical plans each day. However, a lot of scientists traveled to Pasadena, CA, to attend the 9th International Conference on Mars that happened earlier this week, so it was excellent to have them available at the end of the conference to participate in operations in person at JPL!

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.

Contributors
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:

Cameras

Spectrometers

Radiation Detectors

Environmental Sensors

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