21 September 2015
The drive on Sol 1111 stopped early after just over 15 meters because we were driving over rough terrain and part of the rover’s suspension exceeded the allowed amount of tilt (this is not a physical limit, just a threshold in the software that tells the rover to stop and check with Earth to be safe). The rover is fine and we plan to drive again in the Sol 1112 plan. Meanwhile we are trying to decide where in the area we want to drill to maximize the science return. There are a lot of options because we’re surrounded by interesting geology!
Before we drive, we have some ChemCam observations of targets “Dakota”, “Conrad”, and “Firemoon”, plus two Mastcam mosaics of a potential drill target. I was on duty as ChemCam sPUL today, so two of the three targets are ones that I chose, which is always fun. I didn’t choose the names (someone else was quicker with the naming list than I was), but I especially like the name “Firemoon”.
After the drive, we have our standard post-drive imaging to allow us to choose targets on Wednesday. On sol 1113 we won’t have the sol 1112 data back yet, so we have some untargeted observations, including some ChemCam passive calibration measurements, DAN passive observation, and a Navcam 8-frame movie looking to the north.
-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.