25 April 2017
Our drive yestersol went as planned and added another 28.3 meters to Curiosity’s odometer. The science team was pleased to see that more interesting outcrop would be reachable by Curiosity’s arm from our new location, so we decided to plan contact science followed by an afternoon drive in the Sol 1679 plan. We call sols like this “Touch and Go” sols. Curiosity will be examining interesting color variations in the rock target “Maple Spring” using MAHLI and APXS. We also had a few minutes left in the morning to allow us to take ChemCam observations of Maple Spring that will complement our contact science observations. After the morning science, Curiosity will go for an afternoon drive, followed by some post-drive imaging, environmental science observations, and automated targeting of the ChemCam instrument using the AEGIS (Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science) software.
I didn’t participate a lot in the science team planning discussions today because I was staffed as a Surface Properties Scientist (SPS). In this role, I work closely with Rover Planners (RPs) as they design a sol‘s drive, lending my geologist’s eye to provide feedback on the traversability of the terrain ahead. In particular, I look for any potential mobility hazards that might include wheel-damaging rocks, sand that could lead to high slip, or any other features that might pose a problem for our mobility system. I’ve often found it’s useful to take a glance in our rearview mirror, or Rear Hazcam to be precise, to look at our tracks to understand how much we sank in the sand and how thick the sand cover is. It’s also important to check out the terrain around us in 3D using stereo red-blue anaglyphs or, even better, virtually walk along our planned drive path using augmented reality in a Microsoft HoloLens running OnSight. I’m looking forward to seeing where we end up tomorrow!
AEGIS press release:
HoloLens press release: