15 March 2016
The 26-meter drive planned for sol 1282 completed successfully, giving the rover nice views of interesting features in the Stimson unit. Some of these features appear to be the result of erosion by windblown sand and are the subject of a Right Mastcam 7×2 mosaic planned for Sol 1283. ChemCam will measure elemental chemistry at the edge of one of the bedrock blocks and Mastcam will acquire another mosaic of a fracture named “Welwitschia Wash” before the rover drives away. The view from the intended location, about 40 meters toward the west, is expected to be excellent because much of the Gale crater rim and Mt. Sharp will be visible, and the atmosphere is not as dusty as usual. Other post-drive observations include ChemCam RMI and Right Mastcam mosaics of features on Mt. Sharp that are so far away that they can be targeted accurately using available image data. Also, the Left Navcam will be used to search for clouds and dust devils.
It was an easy day for me as MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead, as I only had to plan the usual MARDI twilight image after the drive. But, as usual, it was fun and interesting to be involved in tactical operations.
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.