9 December 2016
This morning we received downlink that indicated operation of Curiosity’s drill feed using standard commands. This is great news, and the anomaly response team has cleared the rover for use of the arm and driving (but not yet drilling). In today’s plan, we’ll wrap up work at the “Precipice” location and drive to a nearby site to investigate some interesting fracture patterns.
The 3-sol plan weekend plan starts with another Mastcam tau and crater rim extinction observation to monitor dust in the atmosphere. This is followed by ChemCam observations of “The Anvil” and “Blue Hill” to investigate variations in chemistry in the Murray bedrock. We’ll also take a Mastcam mosaic to provide additional context for the “Precipice” site. In the afternoon we have a juicy arm backbone which includes MAHLI imaging of “Echo Lake,” “Beachcroft,” and “The Anvil,” with a short APXS integration on “Beachcroft” and an overnight integration on “Echo Lake.” This should return a great dataset to understand the chemistry and sedimentary structures here. On the second sol, Curiosity will acquire a ChemCam observation of “Western Head,” an area that showed some unusual color variation. We’ll also extend the Mastcam mosaic of “Squid Cove” and take a couple of Navcam movies to monitor the atmosphere. Throughout the plan we’ll take several front and rear Hazcam images for additional change detection observations. There’s also an overnight SAM activity using the EGA, which makes use of the residual derivatization vapor in the sample manipulation system. Then on the third sol we’ll drive toward the region with fractures, and take post-drive imaging to prepare for possible contact science next week. It’s great to be moving again with a very full weekend plan!
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.