18 November 2015

Sols 1167-1168: Onward to the Bagnold Dunes

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Sol 1167 Navcam Bagnold Dunes

The Bagnold Dunes are tantalizingly close, and this week is mostly focused on driving to the dunes.  On Sol 1167 Curiosity drove 39 m, and the dunes are starting to look pretty big, as seen in the above Navcam image.  For more on our plans when we get to the dunes, check out this recent press release.

The plan today looks very similar to yesterday, with a pre-drive science block, a drive, and post-drive imaging.  Science activities include Mastcam and ChemCam observations of the local bedrock at a target named “Etosha,” as well as Mastcam deck monitoring to look for fine sand that might accumulate as we approach the active dunes.  After the drive we’ll acquire standard imaging to prepare for future targeting and terrain assessment.  We’re also planning a SAM atmospheric observation to look for methane, exactly one Mars year after the previous high detections.  Meanwhile, here on Earth, the ChemCam team is meeting at the USGS in Flagstaff, which means that Ken, Ryan and I will only be able to blog intermittently this week.  But I’m looking forward to being back on GSTL duty next week… especially with the exciting dune campaign coming up!

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.