5 December 2016
The weekend plan returned some great remote sensing data, including the above Mastcam image of “Ireson Hill” to investigate the stratigraphy exposed in a distant butte. While we work on assessing the drill fault, the team decided to devote today’s plan to remote sensing and change detection. The plan starts with ChemCam observations of “Hunters Beach” and “Gorham Mountain” to investigate the chemistry of the Murray bedrock. Then we’ll acquire a Mastcam tau and crater rim extinction image to characterize the amount of dust in the atmosphere, followed by a Navcam dust devil search. The plan also includes a series of Hazcam observations taken approximately every hour until sunset – this will provide a very thorough dataset to monitor the movement of sand based on time of day. This is really important for planning MAHLI observations, because we’ve noticed a lot of movement of fines through this area at this time of year, and we’ve mostly been taking MAHLI images with the dust cover closed to protect the instrument. If we can better understand when and where the sand is most active, we can better plan MAHLI observations, and we can improve our understanding of the eolian environment!
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.