5 March 2016

Sols 1273-1274: Driving up to the Naukluft Plateau

Posted by Ryan Anderson

We are planning only 2 sols today because tactical operations will transition to nominal next week (working all 5 weekdays). On Sol 1273, Mastcam will acquire a multispectral image of the contact between the Murray and Stimson geologic units.  This set of images, taken using all of the Mastcam filters, will be acquired just after noon, when the illumination of the contact should be better than in previous images.  Then ChemCam and Mastcam will observe bedrock targets “Kleinberg” and “Tumas 2” and Mastcam will acquire a stereo mosaic of a low ridge southwest of the rover.  Later in the afternoon, the arm will go to work doing contact science:  First, MAHLI will take images of a bedrock target named “Schwarzrand” before the DRT brushes it off.  The MAHLI will acquire a full suite of images of the brushed spot and of Kleinberg before the APXS is placed on Kleinberg for a couple 2-hour integrations.  Then the APXS will be moved over to Schwarzrand for an overnight integration.

The Sol 1274 plan starts with a drive toward the plateau to the southwest of the vehicle, followed by imaging needed to plan contact science in the new location.  Post-drive images of the likely drive direction will also be acquired, in case we decide not to do contact science on Monday.

I’ve been traveling so have not been able to keep up with MSL‘s progress lately.  It was good to catch up today!

by Ken Herkenhoff

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.