29 July 2015
Today the main event is a “mini-start hole”, which is the name for a new type of initial drilling test that we are trying out on the target “Buckskin”. This test will drill a small hole in the rock to help determine whether it is safe to go ahead with the full hole.
In addition to that test, we are planning a detailed study of the target “Ch-paa-qn” which means “shining peak” in the native Salish language of northern Montana. This target is an isolated bright patch on the nearby outcrop, and we want to figure out if it is calcium sulfate like the white veins we see nearby, or if it is something else. The plan includes ChemCam active and passive observations of Ch-paa-qn, along with Mastcam multispectral images.
After that, we have an atmospheric observation, and then some MAHLI and APXS measurements of the mini-start hole and the full drill target.
-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.