27 September 2015

Sols 1116-1118: Small drill, Big Sky

Posted by Ryan Anderson

It’s time to drill again! After much deliberation, we have decided to try drilling the target “Big Sky” at our current location, in hopes of getting a good sample of relatively unaltered bedrock to compare with some of the altered rocks we have seen nearby.

Sol 1116 is dedicated to doing the mini-start hole, which is how we test if the rock is safe to drill. MAHLI will take documentation images before and after, and APXS will analyze the hole overnight.

On Sol 1117, we have a bunch of targeted observations. ChemCam will analyze the targets “Beartooth Pass” and “Bear Trap Canyon”, and Mastcam will take some pictures of two drifted sand targets (“Bozeman” and “Billings” – we’re on a Montana naming theme right now), as well as a 2×1 mosaic of an interesting altered vein, and a 7×1 mosaic of a nearby outcrop. MAHLI will also take some more images of the mini-start hole.

In the morning on Sol 1118, Mastcam and Navcam have some atmospheric monitoring observations. These are repeated at around noon, and then ChemCam will analyze “Beaverhead”, “Birdbear”, and “Buffalo Flat”. Mastcam will take pictures of the mini-start hole, and a 3×1 mosaic to document the location of the ChemCam targets.

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.