17 December 2015

Sols 1196-1197: Aeolian paradise

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Sol 1194 Navcam Namib Dune

On Sol 1194 Curiosity drove 47 m around the lee side of “Namib Dune.”  The latest Navcam images reveal many beautiful aeolian features on the slipface and interdune deposits.

In today’s 2-sol plan, we’ll continue driving around “Namib Dune.”  On the first sol we’ll use ChemCam to assess the composition and grain size of a ripple.  Then we’ll use Mastcam to image the brink of the dune and its slipface to characterize the dune morphology.  We’ll also use Mastcam to document an outcrop with an unusual purple hue.  Afterwards, Curiosity will drive even closer to the dune slipface, and we’ll take post-drive imaging to prepare for targeting over the weekend.  On the second sol, we’ll acquire a 360-degree Mastcam mosaic for geologic context.  We’ll also use ChemCam to monitor the composition of the atmosphere, and Mastcam to assess atmospheric opacity.  Throughout the plan Curiosity will acquire a lot of REMS observations to monitor the wind as we move through this dune field.  As the GSTL today, it was a real challenge to get all of these observations into the plan while staying within our data volume constraints.  It’s hard to curb your imaging appetite when the views are so spectacular! 

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.