31 August 2016

Sols 1448-1449: No touch, just go

Posted by Ryan

MSL roved 53 meters on Sol 1446, and ended up in an area with nice exposures of bedrock. We were interested in taking MAHLI close-up images of the bedrock but were concerned that they would not be very useful if the surface as dusty as it typically is.  We therefore considered using the ChemCam laser to clean off some of the dust and get chemical information before deploying the arm, but recognized that the MAHLI targets would be partly shadowed by the arm turret, which would make the MAHLI images more difficult to interpret.  Adding the arm activities would also leave less time for driving, so we had a lot of trade-offs to consider and it was a busy day for me as SOWG Chair!  We finally decided not to include the MAHLI images in the plan, and focus instead on Mastcam imaging of the nearby buttes and maximizing the drive distance.  We were also able to fit ChemCam and Mastcam observations of the “Luxilo” bedrock target into the plan, along with Right Mastcam images of the “Caxito” laminated exposure and the Sol 1446 AEGIS target.  After the drive and usual post-drive imaging, SAM will clean its scrubber overnight.  On Sol 1449, Mastcam will again measure the amount of dust in the atmosphere and ChemCam will autonomously perform another AEGIS activity.

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.