8 August 2016

Sol 1421: Determining drill activities at Marimba

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Sol 1420 MAHLI mini drill Marimba

On Sol 1420 we planned a full drill hole on the target “Marimba” to characterize the composition of the Murray mudstone in this location.  However, we came in early this morning to find that the drill hole didn’t penetrate very far into this rock target, as seen in the above MAHLI image.  We’re trying to evaluate why this drill hole is different, and what prevented the drill from completing as planned.  The rover is healthy and all other activities completed successfully, so this might just be a harder rock target than we’ve seen before.

I was the GSTL today, and it was a complicated morning as we worked through several options for today’s plan.  We decided to stick to remote sensing today while we continue to evaluate the drill activity and options moving forward.  The GEO group decided to take advantage of the shallow drill hole as a way to assess variations in chemistry with depth.  So we planned some Mastcam multispectral and ChemCam passive observations of the drill tailings, as well as a ChemCam LIBS observation across the drill hole.  The plan also includes a ChemCam observation of “Cabinda” to assess an alternative drill site, as well as the target “Epukiro” to investigate an interesting vein.  We’ll also use Mastcam and ChemCam to assess the post-sieve dump piles from the previous drill target “Oudam,” which we dumped on a nearby rock slab.  Then Curiosity will use Mastcam and Navcam to monitor the atmosphere and search for dust devils.  In the afternoon, we’ll acquire a 360-degree Mastcam mosaic to provide geologic context for this drill site.  I’ll be on duty again tomorrow, hoping to pick back up with drilling activities!

By Lauren Edgar

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.