3 May 2015
by Ken Herkenhoff
MSL is in a good position for contact science observations on an interesting outcrop of sedimentary rock, so the rover will be busy this weekend! We had to change the timing of the arm activities a bit to optimize the illumination of MAHLI targets, so it was a busy morning for me as SOWG Chair but I’m happy with the way the plan turned out. On Sol 973, ChemCam and Mastcam will observe nearby targets “Albert” and “Charity,” the RMI will image a distant target named “Empire,” and Navcam will search for clouds and dust devils. Overnight, CheMin will dump the remaining drill sample from one of its cells and measure the cell to confirm that the dump was successful. The arm will be deployed on Sol 974 and used to acquire a small MAHLI mosaic of “Bigfork,” then place the APXS on the same target for an overnight integration. The rover will wake up earlier than usual to measure the amount of dust in the atmosphere at 8 AM on Sol 975 by imaging the sun. Later that morning, ChemCam and Mastcam will perform more atmospheric measurements, and the 100-mm Mastcam will be used to image some distant rock targets. In the afternoon, the Dust Removal Tool (DRT) will be used to brush the dust off of “Albert” and take MAHLI images of the brushed spot. The APXS will then be placed on the DRT spot for an overnight integration.
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.