12 April 2016
Well, that was an early morning! I was on duty as the KOP today and we started at 6:30 am, so I was up and looking at new pictures of Mars before sunrise. Normally I would not be happy about getting up so early, but I reminded myself this morning that getting to help run a nuclear-powered laser-wielding robot on Mars is worth losing a little bit of sleep every once in a while!
Our drive finally went according to plan, bringing us a bit closer to the edge of the Naukluft plateau. We plan to continue driving today and tomorrow, aiming to get within reach of some interesting large fractures that we can see in the orbital data to do contact science over the weekend. There are also some tantalizing outcrops coming up that should give us nice views of the stratigraphy of the Stimson unit, but they are not quite visible yet.
We are only expecting to get a small amount of data downlinked before tomorrow, so we kept today’s plan for Sol 1310 nice and simple. In the morning, we have a ChemCam observation and Mastcam documentation of a nearby alteration halo around a fracture, followed by a small Mastcam mosaic of a similar bright halo and fracture at a location we are calling “Oswater.” After that, Curiosity will drive for about 20 meters and we will collect our standard post drive imaging.
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