7 December 2015
The rover has arrived at the edge of “High Dune” and we have a very busy weekend plan studying the dune and then continuing to drive. On sol 1184 we will continue testing the AEGIS software that allows the rover to fine-tune its targeting for ChemCam. After that, ChemCam will analyze two targets “Barby” and “Kibnas” and Mastcam will take a 7×8 mosaic of a sand ripple. In the afternoon, MAHLI will take some images of Barby and Kibnas, and then APXS will take measurements of both targets. At night, MAHLI will be back in action for some night-time images of Barby and then APXS will do a longer overnight measurement.
On sol 1185, after driving the rover will collect standard post-drive imaging, plus an 8×1 Mastcam mosaic. On sol 1186, the rover will take some Navcam images to make sure sand from the dunes isn’t piling up on the rover deck or damaging the camera lenses. Originally we were hoping to do some atmospheric measurements on sol 1186 as well, but they were removed from the plan because it was getting too complicated. We still have plenty of atmospheric science planned for the early morning science block on sol 1187 though, including two Navcam movies, a ChemCam passive sky measurement, and Mastcam measurements of atmospheric dust.
-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.