6 April 2015
By Lauren Edgar
As we started the planning day before sunrise, I was reminded of the first three months of the mission that we spent living on Mars time. Today is an early “slide sol,” meaning that the planning timeline is shifted 1.5 hours earlier in order to compensate for our downlink and uplink times. Today is also a “tight” planning sol, meaning that the planning timeline is slightly shorter today. On top of that, we have a very complex set of activities planned for today!
Despite these restrictions, we certainly didn’t hold back on any science, and we developed a plan that uses almost the entire payload. I was the Geology Science Theme Lead today, and the goal today is to wrap up contact science on the veins at Garden City. The plan includes ChemCam observations on a dark vein and a plate that looks like it broke off from a vein, followed by Mastcam documentation. Then we’ll acquire a large MAHLI mosaic to assess the morphology of one of the prominent veins, seen in this Mastcam image from Sol 946. In the evening we’ll do a short APXS integration on the target “Amboy,” and then a longer overnight integration on the target “Kern_Peak” (“Kern_Peak” is the flat plate near the middle of this Mastcam image). The plan also includes another CheMin analysis of the Telegraph Peak sample, as well as a SAM GC diagnostic activity, in addition to standard DAN, RAD and REMS observations. I guess Curiosity doesn’t have much time to sleep either…
–Lauren is a Research Geologist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center and a member of MSL science team.
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.