19 May 2015
by Ken Herkenhoff
Testing of the new ChemCam automatic focusing software continues to go well–the instrument is returning well-focused data of the quality we got used to early in the mission. The MAHLI test data acquired on Sol 989 are also looking good; here’s an image of the penny in the MAHLI calibration target on the rover.
Having completed the most urgent arm activities needed before conjunction, MSL is ready to drive again. The Sol 990 plan begins with a Navcam search for dust devils, ChemCam and Mastcam observations of “Pinedale,” and a Right Mastcam image of the APXS target “Spokane.” Then the rover will drive west in search of a route up the hill toward the southwest and acquire the post-drive data needed to plan the next drive and targeted science observations.
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.