23 May 2016
I’m SOWG Chair again today, and started browsing the latest data from MSL early this morning. To my dismay, the post-drive images that we expected to receive in time for planning today were not available! It turned out that the data were received on Earth, but the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter operations team had some problems processing and transferring it to us. We waited as long as we could for the data needed to plan contact science or mobility activities, then decided that we should plan Sol 1350 without them because planning time is limited by the early uplink window–we have to have the plan ready to send to the rover by this evening. Fortunately, the images needed to pick remote sensing targets were processed in time to point ChemCam and Mastcam at the outcrop in front of the rover.
Planning targeted remote sensing is much easier than planning contact science or mobility, so the Sol 1350 plan includes ChemCam/Mastcam observations of “Oamites,” “Aruab” and “Hosabes” as well as Mastcam images of the Sun and distant crater rim and Navcam searches for clouds and dust devils. Mastcam will also acquire calibration data at various times of day (temperatures), and CheMin will perform another analysis of the Lubango drill sample.
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.