Curiosity’s workspace had a large chunk of rock in plain view! This image was taken by the Front Hazcam (Front Hazcam) aboard NASA’s Curiosity rover on Sol 3449. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download picture ›
Not that it matters… but there are exactly 100 sols, on January 7and, we were predicting sol 3351 and 3352… and it was this blogger’s turn to report on what was going on. Apparently we were in awe of the scenery – and faced with a rock underfoot, well, the wheel. Tosol, we were again dealing with a rock just below the rover, but this time we were excited because the rover was in a stable position parked on a large piece of rock, laying flat like a pancake, ready to be brushed and analyzes. But there was one issue that required discussion… Tosol’s plan was originally a ‘touch-and-go’ floor, where we would lay the APXS down for a short integration before heading out. These “touch-and-go” measurements return brilliant analysis throughout most Martian seasons, but right now we’re in a hot season, and that means it’s too hot for very good data at the moment. when these “touch-and-go” measurements happen. Therefore, the science team carefully discussed the importance of the target and the need to stay put to get the APXS measurement at a colder time of day, and therefore get the best data quality. possible. Again, the progress of the rover had to be weighed against the importance of the data. We decided that the diversity of the area and the quality of the targets, as well as the hypothesis about the different types of rocks and their formation that we can test here, justifies us staying.
As a result, there’s a plethora of science activity in the plan, and the team can’t wait to have another data feast over the weekend… and of course to see the data. Here are the details:
APXS and MAHLI have two and three activities respectively. The pancake-shaped rock on which the rover is parked will be scanned and surveyed with APXS and MAHLI on a target called “Shandon”. APXS and MAHLI are also surveying the edge of the bedrock on a target called “Nesting,” which sits at the edge of the large flat rock and allows a side view. Finally, MAHLI looks at “Rumblings”, which is a curiously shiny and textured target that the team thinks might be weathering features and would like to know more about it. Tosol’s MAHLI will likely also enable APXS in a future plan, although the goals are a bit sharp. MAHLI images will show, if we can get APXS to hit in a safe way, but of course MAHLI images are always welcome for scientific data, especially on textured targets like this.
ChemCam is studying two targets, “Tonga”, which is on bedrock and “Kirby Lonsdale”, a vein target. Mastcam takes documentation images of both ChemCam targets and performs a multispectral survey of the brushed area. Further Mastcam images are planned as a 16×4 mosaic over the “Onich Dry Gorge” target, which was photographed from a distance and we are now getting much higher resolution images at a closer distance. ChemCam adds to the images a long distance RMI and an RMI of rocks broken by the wheels of the rover. Lots of data and images, and more to come over the weekend at this interesting location.