15 January 2017

Sols 1579-1582: A 4-sol plan

Posted by Ryan Anderson

After a 25-meter drive on Sol 1578, MSL is surrounded by more dark sand than usual, but there is enough rock exposed that we had a lot of science targets to choose from today.  Due to the US holiday on Monday, we are planning 4 sols today.  The first sol will include only REMS atmospheric observations while the rover recharges after the SAM methane measurement the night before, but the rest of the plan is packed!  Sol 1580 starts with ChemCam passive (no laser) measurements of the sky and calibration targets.  Then we’ll use the laser to zap rock targets “Oak Bay” and “Rockport” and take Right Mastcam images of them.  Mastcam will also acquire a mosaic of bedrock exposures just west of the rover, measure dust in the atmosphere, and take another image of the rover deck.  Later that afternoon, ChemCam and Right Mastcam will observe disturbed sand at “Kennebec,” an undisturbed ripple called “Spruce Top,” and bedrock targets named “Traveler” and “Mars Hill.”  Right Mastcam will also acquire a 3×1 mosaic of a more distant outcrop dubbed “Ogler Point.”


Sol 1581 is dominated by contact science, starting with full suite of MAHLI images of Mars Hill.  MAHLI will also take close-up images of nearby “Camera Hill” and acquire a 3-image mosaic of the layered outcrop target “Small Falls.”  The APXS will be placed on Camera Hill for a short integration, then on Mars Hill for an overnight integration.


On Sol 1582, Navcam will search for clouds and dust devils before the rover drives away.  After the drive, AEGIS will again be used to autonomously select a ChemCam target and acquire data, and MARDI will take another image during twilight. Finally, the rover will get some well-earned rest overnight.


By Ken Herkenhoff

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.