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13 June 2017

Sol 1727 Blog: Little bit of everything

After a successful drive, our parking spot included a nice patch of Murray bedrock to allow us to perform contact science (MAHLI and APXS) in today’s plan. Our target for contact science is ‘Jones Marsh,’ a dark patch of the Murray that you can see just above the rightmost corner of Curiosity’s mast shadow in the Navcam image.

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12 June 2017

Sol 1726: First Look at Vera Rubin Ridge

After great anticipation over the last few weeks, the drive in the current plan will bring us into position for stop 1 of our close look at the northern face of the hematite-bearing Vera Rubin Ridge. Mastcam will take a wide mosaic to begin documenting the sedimentary structure of the ridge.

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11 June 2017

Sol 1725: Curiosity’s four day weekend

On most weekends, Curiosity dedicates part of her efforts to do contact science – deployment of APXS, MAHLI, and sometimes the DRT – because multi-sol weekend plans have more time and power to fit in these more complex activities. Last weekend, however, time and power were dedicated to a more rare, and more complex, activity – analysis of a previously-drilled rock sample by SAM.

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8 June 2017

Sols 1722-1724: Leftovers for Dinner

Almost the entirety of the first two sols (1722 and 1723) are dedicated to a SAM analysis of a ‘doggy bagged’ sample from the Quela drill hole collected back in September 2016 (Sol 1464). Several times in the mission we’ve saved samples from our drill locations to analyze later.

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7 June 2017

Sol 1720: Rough Road Ahead

I was the Surface Properties Scientist, or SPS on staff today. The SPS has an interesting job, in that the SPS helps Rover Planners (called RPs) assess the terrain around the rover with safety in mind, first and foremost.

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Sol 1721: An easier planning day

MSL drove 26 meters on Sol 1720, as planned, to a location with blocks of bedrock in the arm workspace. Because the rover climbed another 3 meters in elevation, contact science has top priority for today’s plan, with driving next in priority.

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5 June 2017

Sol 1719: Wait and Hurry Up!

Today was an interesting day of planning: because of an issue with the computer system responsible for processing data once it is received on Earth, Curiosity’s images and other data from Sol 1718 didn’t arrive until well into today’s planning. That meant that we had to keep the plan simple and respond rapidly once the data did arrive. It also meant that we had plenty of time to choose our …

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4 June 2017

Sols 1715-1717: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right

Curiosity left no stone unturned, unshot or unbrushed as she wrapped up observations at the stand of gray-toned rocks she arrived at on Sol 1712. We added to yesterday’s rich observations of gray-toned rocks by brushing a nodule-rich target, ‘Timber Point,’ to give MAHLI and APXS as clear a look as possible of the target’s texture and chemistry.

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Sols 1718: Looking East

We are beginning to turn toward the east and southeast as we approach Vera Rubin Ridge with the Curiosity rover. After a busy and successful plan over the weekend, we weighed our priorities between using APXS to study the bedrock we’re driving over or drive farther along our path.

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31 May 2017

Sol 1714: Let’s try that again

Unfortunately the Sol 1713 activities were not uplinked due to an issue at the DSN station, so today’s plan is focused on recovering the activities that were planned yesterday. The good news is that we’ll be in the same location for the start of the weekend plan, so we’ll be able to add some additional contact science targets at this interesting site.

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30 May 2017

Sol 1713: Not enough hours in the sol

Our Tuesday drive placed us perfectly in front of a very interesting outcrop that looked slightly different in color and texture from the typical Murray rocks we’ve been seeing for the last few hundred meters.

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25 May 2017

Sols 1709-1711, "White Ledge"

Curiosity continues to drive through an otherworldly jumble of in-place bedrock, tilted rocks, sand with small ripples, and local pebbly debris piles. Vera Rubin Ridge continues to loom larger in the rover’s forward view, although progress is somewhat slow due to the difficult terrain. Yestersol’s drive was 16 meters.

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Sols 1707-1708: When Mars Gives You Lemons, Calibrate Your Instruments

After Curiosity’s 14.6 m drive, the GEO group decided against arm activities due to a lack of compelling targets and in deference to making the next drive longer. So GEO science activities relied on Mastcam and ChemCam. On Sol 1707, ChemCam will capture a raster of the ‘White Cap Mountain’ bedrock target (the white bedrock left of center in the bottom quarter of the above Navcam image), as well as a …

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21 May 2017

Sols 1702-1704: An island of science

The rover planners parked us in front of the one slab of outcrop – an island among ripples of sand – we could safely drive to from our Sol 1700 position, setting us up to continue our exploration of the Murray formation.

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Planning Sol 1705 – 1706: Rocky Road

Curiosity is continuing to make progress towards Vera Rubin Ridge along the Mt Sharp ascent route.  We planned two sols today, Sol 1705 and Sol 1706.  On our first sol, we will kick off the day with some remote sensing science on the bedrock in front of us, including ChemCam observations of targets ‘Turtle Island’, ‘Stony Brook’, and ‘Dike Peak’.  Turtle Island is typical Murray bedrock, Stony Brook has an …

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18 May 2017

Sols 1700-1701: Optical depth measurements

Curiosity continues towards Vera Rubin Ridge with a 48 m drive. GEO decided for the touch-and-go option (instead of lengthening the drive like on Sol 1684) using APXS and MAHLI on “Ripple Pond,” a typical member of the Murray formation.

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15 May 2017

Sols 1698-1699: It’s Touch and Go on the Climb to Vera Rubin Ridge

The road to Vera Rubin Ridge, a feature believed to be enriched in the mineral hematite, is getting steeper, so we are stopping frequently to study the composition of the bedrock beneath our wheels.

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14 May 2017

Sols 1695 -1697: Observations of land, rover and sky

Curiosity continued her detailed investigation of the interesting suite of outcrops we have been picking our way across during the last week. As we climb up Mount Sharp, recently over slopes of 4-6 degrees, we have seen more varied outcrop structures and chemistries than the rest of the Murray formation, and such changes catch the collective eye of the team.

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9 May 2017

Sol 1692: Science frenzy!

After the drive on Sol 1691, the workspace in front of the Curiosity rover had plenty of interesting rocks in front of us to keep us busy.

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Sols 1693-1694: Remote science and onward!

Today we planned two sols, 1693 and 1694. On the first sol, we will conduct a suite of remote science observations before driving away and resuming our trek up Mount Sharp.

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