23 November 2015

Sol 1173: Dune monitoring

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Sol 1172 Navcam of dune 2

Over the weekend, Curiosity drove 51 m closer to the Bagnold Dunes.  I’m on duty as the Geology Science Theme Lead, and today we’re planning Sol 1173, which includes a short science block, a drive, post-drive imaging, and some untargeted science in the afternoon.  The main focus of today’s plan is to monitor the dunes and document the bedrock along the way.  We’ll start with several Mastcam observations to monitor two of the dunes, as well as a small sandsheet directly in front of us.  Then we’ll drive and acquire post-drive imaging to prepare for targeting tomorrow.  In the afternoon, we’ll take several Navcam observations to monitor the atmosphere and search for dust devils.  Then we’ll take some additional Mastcam mosaics to monitor the dunes and bedrock under different lighting conditions.  This late afternoon lighting can be very useful to bring out subtle textures in the dunes and rocks, and will help us figure out the best time of day to image these features during the Bagnold Dune campaign.

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.