10 July 2015

Sols 1039-1040: Livin’ on the Edge

Posted by Ryan Anderson


I’m MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead today, and was ready this morning to plan lots of MAHLI imaging of the bright rocks on the slope the rover first climbed on Sol 991.  But the data received after the 5.5-meter drive on Sol 1037 showed that the left front wheel is perched right at the top of a small scarp at the top of the slope. 

After examining all the data, the rover planners determined that the rover position is not safe for arm activities, as arm motion could cause the front wheels to slip down the slope, putting the arm and its instruments at risk.  So all of the contact science activities were removed from the plan, and remote sensing observations added.  On Sol 1039, ChemCam and Mastcam will take a look at targets dubbed “Pistol,” “Mary,” Shepard,” and “Dublin Gulch,” and Navcam will search for dust devils.  Then the rover will drive backward just a bit to get the wheels on solid ground and allow contact science this weekend (planning is currently restricted, so we are planning 2 sols today).  On Sol 1038, Mastcam will take pictures of the Sun to look for sunspots on the side of the Sun that can’t be seen from Earth now.  Because I had little to do in support of MAHLI planning today, I helped a bit in planning the post-drive Navcam mosaics that we’ll need to target observations in the next plan. 

by Ken Herkenhoff

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.