7 December 2015
After successfully completing a mobility test last week (as seen by our wheel tracks through this sand patch), Curiosity drove ~35 m toward a dune that is now named “Namib.” We’ve accomplished a lot of reconnaissance imaging of the dunes, and we’re looking ahead to monitoring the dune slipface and sampling the chemistry and mineralogy of an active dune. We’ve also acquired some beautiful close-up images of the sand grains, as seen in the above MAHLI image that just came down.
Today’s 2-sol plan includes a targeted science block followed by a drive and post-drive imaging, and an untargeted science block on the second sol. Sol 1187 includes several ChemCam and Mastcam observations of the local bedrock at targets named “Rehoboth,” “Hamilton_Range,” and “Twyfelfontein.” We’re also testing out some software for autonomous target selection. Then we’ll drive towards the “Namib” dune and take post-drive imaging to prepare for future targeting. Overnight, Curiosity will perform a SAM Electrical Baseline Test to make sure that the power and data interfaces are all operating smoothly. On the second sol we’ll use ChemCam, Mastcam, and Navcam to monitor the composition and opacity of the atmosphere and search for dust devils.
By Lauren Edgar
–Lauren is a Research Geologist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center and a member of MSL science team.
subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.