19 October 2016
The thumbnail of the Sol 1494 MAHLI image from Curiosity showed that the Quela dump pile had been moved by the wind again! The MAHLI team is concerned that windblown sand and dust might damage or contaminate the camera’s optics, so they decided to open the MAHLI dust cover only for images taken from 25 cm or more above the surface. Otherwise there are no concerns and a full drill hole is planned at Sebina on Sol 1495, with close-up MAHLI images taken through the dust cover window. As usual, the other MSL cameras will take images of the drill hole after the arm is moved out of the way. The drill sample will then be processed and transferred to the scoop for inspection by the Left Mastcam. It’s a full plan that again requires significant power, but the tactical team was able to squeeze in a few change-detection images to watch for further changes in the dump pile.
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.