29 April 2015

Sol 971-972: Approaching outcrop

Posted by Ryan Anderson


by Ken Herkenhoff

This morning the MSL science team used all of the available data to decide whether to approach one of the nearby outcrops or drive away.  Ultimately we decided to approach the closer of the large outcrops in front of the rover to set up for contact science this weekend.  Planning is still “restricted,” so we planned two sols of activities today.  ChemCam and Mastcam will observe a nearby rock named “Helena,” and the RMI will image a distant target dubbed “Lolo” on the morning of Sol 971.  Then MAHLI will acquire a set of images of the wheels to track wear before the rover drives a few meters toward the selected outcrop.  Overnight, CheMin will analyze the sample cell that was recently emptied to confirm that no material remains in the cell.  On Sol 972, ChemCam will acquire calibration data, and Navcam will search for clouds.  Finally, SAM will perform an instrument maintenance activity overnight.

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.