12 October 2016
As of today, Curiosity has reached an elevation that is 100 m above the Confidence Hills site, where we first encountered the Murray formation. That means that in the last 2 years we’ve climbed through 100 m of stratigraphy forming the base of Mount Sharp. This is amazing progress, and attests to an incredible thickness of primarily lacustrine sediment!
Today’s plan is focused on bumping to our next drill location as we continue to systematically sample the Murray formation. The two-sol plan starts with a Mastcam tau and crater rim extinction observation to measure atmospheric opacity. Then Curiosity will acquire several ChemCam observations of the targets “Sangwali,” “Orapa,” and “Katima Mulilo” to assess the composition of the local bedrock. We’ll also acquire two Mastcam mosaics to characterize the lamination style in the Murray. Then we’ll drive to the intended drill location, and take post-drive imaging to prepare for contact science and drill activities. We’ll also squeeze in a ChemCam calibration activity in the afternoon. Sol 1490 will be relatively quiet, with a Navcam observation to look for clouds above the north rim of the crater and a MARDI image to document the terrain post-drive. We’re keeping it light on data volume to prepare for all of the drill activities later this week.
Keep climbing Curiosity!
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.