Backing Away From the Cliff – NASA’s Mars Exploration Program

This image was taken by the left navigation camera aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover on Sol 3324. Credits: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS. Download image ›

As we continue to explore the Maria Gordon notch, we anticipate a touch and go with many ranging activities between “touch” and “go”. MSL is stationed near the base of the cliff to the west, and the science team is interested in studying the bedrock in this area. Unfortunately, none of the bedrock targets shown near the top of the image above are suitable for close APXS placement, so we won’t be able to measure bedrock chemistry here using APXS. Instead, MAHLI will take images of a bedrock target named “Portgower” and ChemCam will sample the chemistry of another bedrock target “Thornhill” higher up the cliff. Mastcam and Navcam will be used to monitor the dust content of the atmosphere and search for dust devils, then Mastcam will acquire 3 stereo mosaics of the cliffs and rocks near the rover. After the approximately 20-meter ride and post-workout imaging, another TUESDAY twilight image is expected. Because more power is available than initially expected, we were able to add CheMin wheel motion overnight and empty cell analysis to the shot. The second floor is much simpler, with a ChemCam observation of an autonomously selected bedrock target and more Navcam and Mastcam observations of atmospheric dust.

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Travis Durham

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