27 January 2016

Sols 1237-1238: Viewing an Alluvial Fan during CHIMRA Diagnostics

Posted by Ryan

The cause of the CHIMRA anomaly is still being investigated, so no arm motion was planned today while diagnostic testing continues.  Because only remote science observations are allowed, it was a straightforward day for me as SOWG Chair and for the rest of the tactical science team. The only challenge was that the volume of data expected to be received in time for planning on Friday is less than usual because MRO is performing some planned maintenance this week and cannot relay data from MSL.  Fortunately, it looks like we will be able to get all the critical data via the Mars Odyssey orbiter.

In addition to the CHIMRA diagnostic tests on Sol 1237, ChemCam and Mastcam will image the alluvial fan northeast of the rover, at the base of the Gale crater wallMastcam and Navcam will also take stereo images of the edge of the area disturbed by the wheel scuff, named “Mniszechis Vlei.”  I don’t know how to pronounce that name, and didn’t even try!

The command to allow SAM to analyze the sample of dune sand was not received, so we’ll try again overnight between Sols 1237 and 1238.  Then during the day on Sol 1238 ChemCam will observe the sky and continue checking out new software that will allow autonomous ChemCam targeting.  Mastcam change detection observations of the sand dune are also sprinkled throughout the plan.  Finally, just after sunset the RMI will take images of the sky for instrument calibration.  We have been trying to plan this observation for weeks, and were glad to be able to include it in today’s plan.

by Ken Herkenhoff

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.