16 May 2016

Sols 1344-1345: Touch and Go

Posted by Ryan

The drive planned last weekend completed successfully, moving MSL less than 6 meters into position for contact science on the rocks broken by the rover wheels. Planning is restricted this week, so we are planning 2 sols’ worth of activities.  The first sol (1344) includes a “touch and go” that requires extra Rover Planner staffing, as both arm activities and a drive are planned.  It’s great to be able to do so much in one plan, but we had to cram a lot of stuff into Sol 1344 because the drive has to be completed before the afternoon MRO communications relay to allow another drive to be planned on Wednesday. So we had to decide which scientific observations were most important and work to fit them into the plan.  I helped select a target for a ChemCam observation of “Impalila,” one of the freshly-exposed rock surfaces, and was glad to see that it made it into the plan.  Mastcam will acquire a multispectral observation of the broken rocks before MAHLI takes pictures of “Stampriet,” Impalila, “Narubis,” and “Swartmodder.”  As I mentioned in my previous blog, it’s difficult to get MAHLI close to these targets, so the camera will be placed no closer than 5 cm from any of the targets; we can’t get any closer than 25 cm to Swartmodder.  After MAHLI imaging is completed and the arm stowed, the rover will drive toward the west, hopefully getting back to the Sol 1311 location, where the rover was before we decided to return to the Lubango area. Sol 1345 observations cannot be targeted because they will be taken after the drive, so ChemCam and Mastcam will perform routine sky measurements.  That’s it!

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.