26 September 2016

Sol 1473: In search of a contact science location

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Sol 1471 Navcam

Over the weekend Curiosity drove 43 m to the south, in search of a good place for contact science.  Unfortunately, our present location is in a small valley, and we don’t have many good rock targets in the workspace.  After evaluating the Mastcam drive direction imaging, we decided to drive further to the southwest. This should put us in front of a small exposure of cross-bedding for contact science in tomorrow’s plan.

I was GSTL today, and after we decided to keep driving, the planning day was pretty straightforward.  We’re in late slide sols, so we got a late start to allow time for more data to come down.  The plan includes several ChemCam observations to characterize the composition of the local bedrock and soil.  We also planned a number of Mastcam mosaics to document some potentially coarser-grained rocks, sedimentary structures in the rocks in our workspace, and a linear feature that we can compare with observations from orbit.  Then we’ll drive toward our intended contact science target, and take post-drive imaging to prepare for the activities tomorrow.  As our SOWG Chair pointed out, today marks the first day of Curiosity’s second Extended Mission, so it’s exciting to think about what we’ll accomplish in this next chapter!

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.