7 May 2015
by Ryan Anderson
The sol 976 drive was successful and we are close to “Jocko Chute” (our informal name for the saddle point west of Jocko Butte). In the sol 978 plan, we have a ChemCam LIBS observation of a patch of exposed bedrock called “Big Salmon”, followed by lots of Mastcam images. There is a 14×3 mosaic of some hills in the direction of our drive, some single frame high-resolution images of the targets “Silvertip”, “White_Coyote”, and part of the wall of “Logan Pass”. There is also a stereo Mastcam image of an outcrop called “White Horse” and a 4×2 mosaic of Jocko Butte.
Once all that is done, we will drive toward “Logan Pass” and do our standard post-drive imaging so we can see our new surroundings. On sol 979 ChemCam has a few calibration observations of targets on the rover, and then Mastcam has an overnight observation of Phobos as it is eclipsed by Mars. The idea of this observation is to take pictures of Phobos when it is illuminated by the sun, and then when it is illuminated just by light passing through Mars’ atmosphere, and compare them to figure out how much dust is in the atmosphere.
-Ryan is a planetary scientist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center and a member of the ChemCam team on MSL.
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.