Curiosity Mission Updates

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Left Navigation Camera (Navcams) on Sol 2320 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Image of the "Midland Valley" outcrop taken by the Left Navigation camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2320.

Curiosity returned to science planning today after a two week hiatus because of a technical issue. Our most recent science plan, described in the blog for Sols 2320-2323, included a drive towards a blocky outcrop called "Midland Valley." The drive was a success, bringing us right on top of the beautiful chunk of rock shown above - but before we could reach out and touch it, Curiosity went into safe mode. While the engineers worked to return Curiosity to nominal operations, the science team stood down from planning, eagerly awaiting our chance to get a closer look at Midland Valley.

Today's plan includes that closer look. With Mastcam, ChemCam, MAHLI and APXS, we'll investigate two spots on the outcrop: "Alloa" and "Auchterarder." Mastcam will also survey our surroundings with mosaics of wind-blown sand features ("Mormond Hill," "Motherwell" and "Mount Keen"), a look back at our previous workspace (towards the previously-explored targets "Curlew" and "Gannet"), a look ahead towards a potential future drive destination (at an area with blocky outcrop called "Milltimber"), and a look up to the sky at the dust in the atmosphere. In addition, ChemCam will use LIBS (the laser) to investigate another rock target called "Crathes."

The engineering team is working hard to understand the issue that occurred on sol 2320, and upcoming plans will be dedicated to diagnostic activities. We will update you as we learn more, and in the meantime, the new observations from Midland Valley will keep us scientists busy!

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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