6 November 2015
Today’s planning was a bit challenging because we only got a few Navcam images down to show us possible science targets, which limited our choices for ChemCam observations. We are all looking forward to Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) waking up from the intentional “safe mode” status that it has been in this week! Still, even with limited data we were able to put together a good plan.
On Sol 1155, ChemCam will observe the targets “Thermopolis” and “Pinckney” to get measurements of the typical bedrock and typical soil or sand in the area, plus a long-distance image of one of the sand dunes that we are approaching. ChemCam will also do a focus test observation that was originally planned for last weekend, but which did not get uplinked because of a problem with the Deep Space Network. Mastcam will take documentation images of the two ChemCam targets and the distant sand dune, plus a 13×3 mosaic of a nearby outcrop. After that, the rover will drive and take standard post-drive images.
On Sol 1156, we have a pretty light day. There are no geology observations, but several environmental and atmospheric measurements, including a couple Mastcam taus to measure the amount of dust in the atmosphere, some DAN observations, and a Navcam movie to look for clouds. MARDI also has a post-drive image of the ground under the rover.
I’ve been “Keeper of the Plan” for the Geology and Mineralogy group today and Monday, but I’ll be switching over to ChemCam uplink for Friday. The weekend plan looks like it will be focused on contact science, but we should be able to fit some ChemCam in there too!
-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.