3 February 2017
Wow, 1600 sols on Mars – that is quite an accomplishment! And we’re at an exciting point in the traverse as we approach the next segment of the Bagnold Dunes. Curiosity’s weekend plan includes more contact science and driving as we continue to investigate the Murray formation and prepare for observations at the active sand dunes. This Saturday is a soliday (a day without planning to allow Earth and Mars schedules to sync back up), so we’ll transition from a late slide sol today to early slide sols next week. The plan begins with additional imaging of “Ireson Hill” to document the bedding geometry and cap rock from a different viewing position. We’ll also take a Mastcam tau, a Navcam dust devil movie, and a Mastcam image to monitor the rover deck. Then Curiosity will acquire MAHLI images of two targets: “Whiskey” and “Rye” (hmmm, perhaps some Sol 1600 celebrations are in order), with a short APXS integration on “Whiskey” and a longer overnight integration on “Rye.” Both targets were selected to study the stratification and chemistry of the Murray formation here. On Sol 1601, Curiosity will carry out some drill diagnostics, followed by a drive and post-drive imaging. We’ll also take a Mastcam 360-degree mosaic, which should be very scenic from this site – looking out over the dunes and capturing features like “Ireson Hill.” And finally, Curiosity will wake up early on Sol 1602 for a suite of environmental monitoring observations. Stay tuned for the second investigation of the Bagnold Dunes next week!
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.