8 April 2015

Sol 950: Taking in the Scenery along Artist’s Drive

Posted by Ryan Anderson


By Lauren Edgar

Like most tourists who visit Artist’s Drive on Earth, Curiosity is busy taking lots of photos to document the valley walls of Artist’s Drive on Mars.  We are officially on the road again, and working our way through a very scenic drive. 

I’m the Geology Science Theme Lead today, and today’s plan involves a pre-drive science block, a drive for hopefully ~30-40m, and some post-drive imaging for targeting.  Unfortunately we have to be on a bit of a diet in terms of the total data volume that we can acquire.  Back at Garden City we acquired a lot of really great data, and now we need to trim down so that we don’t acquire more data than we can downlink in a reasonable amount of time.  The plan includes several large Mastcam mosaics to look at the stratigraphy exposed on the northwest and southeast valley walls, and post-drive Navcam mosaics to help select targets in the Sol 951 plan.  We’ll also acquire Mastcam imaging to monitor atmospheric opacity.  Tomorrow’s plan looks fairly similar to today – we’ll continue to drive and study the valley walls, taking time to appreciate the views along the way. 

–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.