15 September 2015

Sol 1106: Searching for the Next Drilling Location

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Sol 1104 Mastcam of Winnipeg

After some additional contact science on the Murray formation (of the location shown in the above Mastcam image), we’re now in search of a good sandstone for our next drill target.

The goal of today’s plan is to drive towards a bright patch of blocky outcrop that was first identified in orbital images, and to see if this outcrop is an area that we might want to investigate further.  Today’s plan includes an hour of targeted science, followed by a short drive towards the bright outcrop, and post-drive imaging for targeting.

In the morning science block, we’ll acquire ChemCam and Mastcam observations of the targets “Prichard” and “Cat Creek” to look for changes in composition through the Murray formation.  We also planned a Mastcam mosaic of the “Vaughn” area to document the Murray-Stimson contact.  Then we’ll acquire a Mastcam mosaic of the “Rice” area to investigate the bright patch from our current location.   After a short ~12 m drive, we’ll acquire standard post-drive imaging, as well as another large Mastcam mosaic of the “Rice” area.  As the Geology Theme Lead today, I had to balance downlink priorities to make sure that we’ll get all of the necessary imaging down in time to make a decision tomorrow (is this a good place to investigate further? Or should we keep driving?).  Can’t wait to see what the new images will reveal!

By Lauren Edgar 

–Lauren is a Research Geologist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center and a member of MSL science team.

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.