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28 September 2016

Sols 1475-1476: Finishing up on Jwaneng

Finally, the rover will get some sleep in preparation for what will likely be a busy weekend.

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27 September 2016

Sol 1474: Murray cross-bedding

The 16-meter drive on Sol 1473 completed perfectly, placing the rover in position for contact science on an outcrop of cross-bedded Murray bedrock. The primary goal for Sol 1474 is to characterize the cross-bedding and measure grain sizes using MAHLI, and we were able to squeeze in a lot of other good observations.  Before the arm is deployed, ChemCam will measure the chemical composition of the “Kopong” bedrock target, Mastcam …

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26 September 2016

Sol 1473: In search of a contact science location

Over the weekend Curiosity drove 43 m to the south, in search of a good place for contact science.  Unfortunately, our present location is in a small valley, and we don’t have many good rock targets in the workspace.  After evaluating the Mastcam drive direction imaging, we decided to drive further to the southwest. This should put us in front of a small exposure of cross-bedding for contact science in …

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25 September 2016

Sol 1470-1472: Change of Plans

Our drive went nicely and we are already about halfway to our next drill site! Our original plan to head toward an outcrop called “Karasburg” had to be changed because it turned out to be covered in sand and not very steep, making it a less-desirable science target. So instead we are heading toward a location where (we hope) the stratigraphy will be better-exposed. For this weekend’s plan, we start …

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21 September 2016

Sols 1467-1468: Finishing up at Quela

The activities planned for Sol 1466 are going well so far–the only problem is that the ChemCam observation of the Quela drill hole wall is slightly out of focus. So we’ll try again on Sol 1467 with slightly modified ChemCam command parameters.  We’re planning two sols today, and our top priority is to finish up our investigation of the Quela drill hole and tailings before driving away.  There are a …

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19 September 2016

Sol 1466: A new drill hole

The second attempt to drill into Quela was successful, but there was a timing issue during sample manipulation in CHIMRA that resulted in premature halting of the Sol 1465 sequence.  So on Sol 1466 we’ll pick up where MSL stopped and sieve the new sample, dump the unsieved fraction, and drop some of the sieved sample into CheMin.  But first, ChemCam will acquire passive spectra of the Quela drill tailings …

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16 September 2016

Sol 1462: Drill Troubleshooting and Remote Sensing

Unfortunately the Sol 1461 drilling activities did not complete as expected, so the Sol 1462 plan was focused on trying to understand the problem while also doing some remote sensing. The plan starts off with Mastcam multispectral observations of the target “Ekunha” on the nearby butte. ChemCam will analyze the targets “Cuasa” and “Cuimba,” and then Mastcam will document those targets and take an 8×3 mosaic of the butte, along …

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14 September 2016

Sol 1461: Time to drill

It’s always an exciting day on Mars when you prepare to drill another sample – an engineering feat that we’ve become so accustomed to that I sometimes forget how impressive this really is!  Today’s plan just looks like a “typical” drill sol.  First we’ll image the intended drill target with MAHLI, then we’ll do a full drill of the target “Quela”, followed by more documentation imaging with MAHLI.  We’ll also …

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13 September 2016

Sol 1460: Preparing to drill

Yesterday was sol 2 of the drill campaign at “Quela” and we did a lot of great remote sensing, contact science and wheel imaging (see the above RMI image showing fine lamination in some pebbles, and the MAHLI image of the wheels to monitor their health).  Today’s plan includes a science block and cross-contamination experiment to prepare for the drill sample.  Science activities include a Mastcam multispectral observation of a …

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12 September 2016

Sol 1459: Characterizing the Marimba dump pile

Over the weekend, Curiosity completed analyses of the “Marimba” drill sample (our previous drill target), and dumped the post-sieve sample. Today’s plan is focused on MAHLI and APXS of the dump pile, and MAHLI imaging of the CheMin inlet to prepare for drill activities at our current location at “Quela.”  The plan also includes a number of remote sensing observations.  We’ll start with several atmospheric monitoring activities, including a Navcam …

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10 September 2016

Sols 1456-1458: Settling in at Quela

We had a successful drive yesterday, and Curiosity is now parked at our next drill site, called “Quela”, right at the base of one of the Murray Buttes. The Sol 1456 plan starts with a Mastcam atmospheric observation, followed by ChemCam and Mastcam of “Quela” and a Mastcam mosaic of the workspace. After that, samples of “Marimba” will be dropped off in SAM for analysis. On Sol 1457 Mastcam has …

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8 September 2016

Sol 1455: Driving to Quela

After another successful drive of ~40 m, Curiosity is aiming to approach the south side of a butte for our next potential drill site.  The area is known as “Quela,” and is seen in the above Navcam image as the bright outcrop at the base of the butte. Today’s plan includes a short science block, a drive, and post-drive imaging.  The morning science block includes several Mastcam mosaics to assess …

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6 September 2016

Sol 1454: Approaching the next drill site

The 4-sol plan over the holiday weekend went well, and Curiosity drove ~40 m to the south.  We’re currently just to the east of a butte that we’re planning to approach as our next potential drill site.  Today’s 1-sol plan is a busy one.  We’ll start with MAHLI imaging of the target “Eheke,” to characterize the local bedrock.  Then we’ll use Mastcam and Navcam to assess atmospheric opacity, followed by …

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2 September 2016

Sols 1450-1453: Communication challenges

Curiosity had a nice ~78 m drive on Sol 1448, which set us up for a lot of great science over the long (4-sol) weekend.  Unfortunately a problem with the Deep Space Network caused an entire Odyssey pass to be lost, so we didn’t receive the workspace images that we would have needed to do contact science.  Without those images we didn’t feel safe moving the arm. But the team …

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31 August 2016

Sols 1448-1449: No touch, just go

MSL roved 53 meters on Sol 1446, and ended up in an area with nice exposures of bedrock. We were interested in taking MAHLI close-up images of the bedrock but were concerned that they would not be very useful if the surface as dusty as it typically is.  We therefore considered using the ChemCam laser to clean off some of the dust and get chemical information before deploying the arm, but recognized that the …

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29 August 2016

Sols 1446-1447: Back on the road

The MSL activities planned for last weekend went well, and the rover’s batteries have enough energy to proceed with another drive on Sol 1446. We started the day looking at the beautiful new Mastcam images of the nearby buttes, then got down to planning the details of the 2-sol plan.  On Sol 1446, Mastcam will extend coverage of previously-planned mosaics, and ChemCam will use its laser to measure the chemistry …

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24 August 2016

Sols 1441-1442: Cruising through the Murray Buttes

Curiosity is making good progress through the Murray Buttes, and on Sol 1439 we drove another 34 m to the south.  Today’s two-sol plan fits our familiar routine: a pre-drive science block, drive, post-drive imaging for targeting, and an untargeted science block on the second sol.  The plan starts with Mastcam and ChemCam observations of the targets “Viana,” “Ukuma,” and “Waku Kungo” to assess the composition and sedimentary structures in …

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22 August 2016

Sols 1439-1440: Target names that start with Q

Our weekend drive halted a little bit early, but everything is looking good and we will continue to drive in today’s plan. We will start off the Sol 1439 plan with ChemCam observations of the layered rock targets “Quibala” and “Quibaxe.” Mastcam will then image Quibala, followed by a whole bunch of mosaics documenting the stratigraphy in the nearby buttes as well as the locations called “Quibaxe,” “Quipungo” and “Quicombo.” …

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20 August 2016

Sol 1436: Smooth sailing

We are making good progress with our drives (we’re already approaching our next drill site!) and the road in front of us is looking pretty smooth. As usual we have a busy weekend planned. Sol 1436 starts off with ChemCam and Mastcam of the layered rock targets “Conda” and “Savungo.” Mastcam then has a mosaic of one of the buttes, and another mosaic of an interesting feature within the Murray …

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17 August 2016

Sol 1433: Butte-iful scenery

Yestersol’s drive went nicely, so today the plan looks quite similar, with a remote sensing block followed by another 50 meters of driving! The Sol 1433 plan starts with ChemCam and Mastcam of the target “Klein Klipneus.” After that, Mastcam has a couple of mosaics to continue admiring the scenery (a.k.a. studying the stratigraphy of the Murray Buttes). Then Curiosity will drive and collect post-drive imaging, followed by an untargeted …

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