10 April 2015
by Ken Herkenhoff
MSL drove 18 meters on Sol 951, as planned, putting the rover in position to image the terrain ahead and plan a longer drive on Sol 952. The total “wheel odometry” for the MSL mission is now over 10 km! But the total traverse distance is still less than 10 km, because the wheels sometimes slip while driving, and the wheel odometry does not take slippage into account. So we’re not quite ready to celebrate like the Mars Exploration project did when Opportunity recently completed the first extraterrestrial marathon.
The focus of scientific observation planning has been to get good images of the terrain as we continue driving, and before the Sol 952 drive the ChemCam RMI and Mastcam stereo cameras will image various targets near and far. Almost 100 meters of driving is planned, with the rover initially going to the right around the ripples shown here. After the drive, in addition to the normal images of the terrain near the rover, the Left Mastcam will acquire a full 360-degree panorama. It was an easy day for me as MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead, with only the normal post-drive images in the plan.
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.