22 September 2016

Sol 1469: Leaving Murray Buttes

Sol 1469:  Leaving Murray Buttes

MSL drove over 87 meters on Sol 1468, toward an outcrop named “Karasburg.”  The Sol 1469 plan includes another drive toward Karasburg, after ChemCam and Mastcam sample a local bedrock target named “Cacolo” and a patch of brighter material dubbed “Malembo.”  Mastcam will also acquire mosaics of the Karasburg area both before and after the drive.  Following the typical post-drive activities, AEGIS will again be used to autonomously select a …

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21 September 2016

Sols 1467-1468: Finishing up at Quela

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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