19 December 2015
On Sol 1196 Curiosity drove an additional 33 m closer to the lee side of “Namib Dune.” The Mastcam images that we took earlier this week are coming down now, and they reveal a lot of great details about the dune morphology.
Although today is a weekend plan, we’re only planning 2 sols because Sunday is a soliday (a day without planning to allow Earth and Mars schedules to sync back up). The main activity on the first sol is dumping the “Greenhorn” post-sieve sample and then analyzing it with both MAHLI and APXS. But we managed to squeeze in a lot of additional science observations into the plan, including some ChemCam RMIs of targets named “Duineveld” and “Spitzkop” to study the grain size and morphology of different parts of the slipface, and Mastcam imaging of several targets for change detection. We’re also testing out some software for autonomous target selection, and using Mastcam and Navcam to monitor the atmosphere. We’ll be in the same location for a little while, so hopefully we’ll have the chance to observe some sand movement!
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.