2 July 2015
Phew! Today was a busy day on Mars! Ken and I were both on operations today, picking up where Lauren left off yesterday. Ken was helping with ChemCam science in the geology and mineralogy (GeoMin) theme group, and I was the GeoMin Keeper of the Plan (KOP). We started off the day admiring the beautiful images from the sol 1031 “dog’s-eye view” mosaic of the ledge near the target “Missoula”. Then there was a long discussion about where to do our contact science, and in particular where to put APXS for an overnight measurement. In the end, we decided to do a MAHLI mosaic of the target “Clark”, just to the left of the “dog’s eye” mosaic from sol 1031, and then a MAHLI observation of “Lumpry” which will also be the overnight APXS location.
That is followed by some Mastcam, starting with some carefully-timed images of Phobos as it crosses in front of the sun. After that, we are planning “multispectral” Mastcam observations of targets “Coombs”, “Cottonwood”, and “Lowary”. Multispectral means that we take images of the same target through several different color filters to get an idea of what the reflectance spectrum of the rocks looks like. After all that Mastcam we also have a Navcam movie to search for clouds, and a couple of Navcam images to allow more targeted Mastcam tomorrow.
But wait, there’s more! We also scheduled another MAHLI observation of the target “Seeley” which is a rock that was broken by the rover’s wheels. That is followed by ChemCam observations of “Coombs”, “Regis”, and “Spotted Bear” and associated Mastcam documentation images.
That means that once planning for today was done, we were both also involved in working on tomorrow’s plan, which will cover the long holiday weekend. We will both be on duty tomorrow in the same roles, polishing the plan we started today and making sure the rover is busy doing good science over the weekend.
-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.