15 October 2015

Sol 1135: Sniffing the Martian air

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Sol 1134 mini-start hole on Pilgrim

The Sol 1134 mini-start hole on “Pilgrim” went well, as seen in the above MAHLI image.  Side note: if that doesn’t look like a hole to you, try rotating the image (the hole is illuminated from the lower left, but the human eye generally prefers to see sunlight coming from the upper half of the image).

Due to power restrictions, we’re waiting until the weekend plan to go for the full drill hole, but that means that today there’s time for a SAM atmospheric observation and a targeted science block.  The goal of the SAM activity is to look for methane, one Mars year after the previous high detections.  So we’ll let SAM take a big whiff to see if we can detect anything.  I was on duty as GSTL today, and we filled the science block with several ChemCam and Mastcam observations.  We’re trying to look for variations in silica associated with the fracture zone that we’re drilling.  We also planned several Mastcam images to look for changes in fine-grained deposits to evaluate local winds.  Despite our power restrictions, planning has been going very smoothly today, and we’re looking forward to more time for science this weekend! 

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.