8 September 2016
After another successful drive of ~40 m, Curiosity is aiming to approach the south side of a butte for our next potential drill site. The area is known as “Quela,” and is seen in the above Navcam image as the bright outcrop at the base of the butte.
Today’s plan includes a short science block, a drive, and post-drive imaging. The morning science block includes several Mastcam mosaics to assess the local stratigraphy, laminations in the Murray formation, and to document the butte and proposed drill site. We’ll also acquire a ChemCam observation of the bedrock at the target “Humpata,” and a Mastcam tau to assess atmospheric opacity. In addition to geology observations, the team has increased the frequency of meteorological measurements with REMS and imaging in response to observations from other spacecraft at Mars of the potential start of a major dust storm. The drive in this plan may put us in position at the next drill site, so our post-drive imaging will help prepare us for that scenario. We’ll also squeeze in another autonomously selected ChemCam target in the afternoon. It’s exciting to think about drilling again already!
By Lauren Edgar
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.