31 May 2015
by Ken Herkenhoff
We’re planning 3 sols of MSL activities today, starting with Sol 1000! As we continue to prepare for solar conjunction, arm motion is allowed in this plan, but no contact science. The plan starts with ChemCam and Mastcam observations of a platy rock called “Newland” and a Navcam search for dust devils. Then the first of several Mastcam/Navcam photometry observations is planned. The goal of these images of patches of ground east and west of the rover is to measure reflectivity at various times of day and compare the results with models of the physical properties of the surface. The arm will then be moved to a position that allows imaging in front of the rover, including a large Mastcam stereo mosaic of the nearby outcrops. The rover will wake up early on Sol 1001 for another photometry observation, which will be repeated later that morning before Mastcam and Chemcam observations of “Big Arm 2,” a potential contact science target. Three more photometry observations are planned late in the afternoon, before the arm is tucked away for conjunction. On Sol 1002, Mastcam will observe the Sun during the day, and Phobos after dusk. It’s been a good day for me so far as SOWG Chair–not too hectic but certainly not boring!
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.