12 August 2015

1073: Drive-Thru Geology

Posted by Ryan Anderson


View of the rover's wheels after completing a 35 m drive.

The drive on sol 1072 was successful, with a total distance travelled of about 35 meters. For sol 1073, Mastcam will be very busy taking pictures to document the geology in our new location. We are planning a 31×1 mosaic of the outcrop in Marias Pass, plus a 13×3 mosaic of “Mt. Shields” (not to be confused with Mt. Sharp!) and a 10×3 stereo mosaic of “Gunton”. Navcam also has 8 frames of atmospheric  observations of the horizon to the north. Once we are done taking pictures, the plan is to drive for another ~40 meters.

After the drive, we will do our normal post-drive imaging so that we can plan activities for tomorrow, plus an “active” measurement with DAN (meaning that the instrument will produce neutrons to help detect hydrogen in the subsurface, rather than relying on natural background neutrons). The plan also includes some early morning Navcam and Mastcam atmospheric observations on sol 1074.

I’m on duty as science Payload Uplink Lead (sPUL) for ChemCam tomorrow, so I’m hoping we will have some time to zap some targets before we continue driving!

By Ryan Anderson

-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.