29 July 2016

Sols 1416-1417: Approaching the next drill target

Posted by Ryan

MSL drove another 44 meters on Sol 1414, into an area with larger blocks of bedrock.

This looks like a good area to drill into the Murray Formation, so nearby targets were selected and we are planning a short drive to position the vehicle for drilling.  But first, ChemCam and Mastcam will observe bedrock targets “Chibia” and “Dondo.”  Mastcam will also measure the dust in the atmosphere and take an image of the Sol 1414 ChemCam AEGIS target.  Then the arm will be deployed for lots of contact science and standard images of the wheels.  MAHLI will take pictures of Chibia before the DRT is used to brush it off, then take lots of stereo images of the brushed spot. MAHLI will also acquire a full suite of images of Dondo before the APXS measures its elemental chemistry.  After sunset, the APXS will be placed on Chibia for an overnight integration. Early on Sol 1417, Navcam will search for clouds and dust devils, Mastcam will again measure atmospheric dust, and ChemCam will measure atmospheric chemistry.  The bump to the potential drill targets will be followed by acquisition of imaging and other data needed to plan the drill campaign and other activities next week.

Finally, AEGIS will be used for the first time to autonomously select two targets and acquire ChemCam data on both of them. This is a very full and complex plan, so I (as MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead) and the rest of the team were very busy today!

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.