will still be deployed on The Hop
early on Sol
1645, and to avoid using battery power to heat up the arm, we’ll wait until early afternoon to move it out of the way. So we had to pick ChemCam
and Right Mastcam
targets that would not be obscured by the arm: A bright vein named “Snows Point” and a knobby-looking rock dubbed “Clam Ledge.” Navcam
will then search for clouds and dust devils before the APXS
is retracted from The Hop and more drill diagnostic tests performed. The Navcam
surveys are part of an ongoing Environmental Science Theme Group (ENV) campaign to meticulously search for dust devil activity in Gale Crater. It is important to maintain a regular cadence, because as the location of the rover and thus surface topography changes, the size and number of dust devils can change.
In concert with the imaging, simultaneous REMS
measurements can detect pressure drops if vortices travel over or near the rover. This set of observations is needed to constrain model simulations and is an excellent example of two different instruments working together to improve our understanding of the meteorology of Gale Crater and dust lifting processes on Mars as Curiosity traverses up Mount Sharp. ENV also plans to repeat the Mastcam
optical depth measurement and Navcam
cloud movies that will be taken early in the morning of Sol
1645, to check for diurnal variability. A Mastcam
afternoon sky survey is also planned, to characterize dust in the atmosphere. Today’s drive will be followed by the post-drive imaging needed to plan contact science and another drive this weekend.
by Michael Battalio (ENV Science Theme Lead) and Ken Herkenhoff (SOWG Chair)
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.