15 May 2017

Sols 1698-1699: It’s Touch and Go on the Climb to Vera Rubin Ridge

Posted by Ryan Anderson

The road to Vera Rubin Ridge, a feature believed to be enriched in the mineral hematite, is getting steeper, so we are stopping frequently to study the composition of the bedrock beneath our wheels. Our intention is to use the APXS and ChemCam instruments to analyze the bedrock for every 5 meters of vertical elevation gain to see how it may change as we climb toward Vera Rubin Ridge. And we are climbing fast on many of our drives now!

Today I was the Environmental Science Theme Group Lead as we planned Sols 1698 and 1699. Our first activity was a “Touch and Go”, where we used APXS and MAHLI to study the bedrock (today at a location called “Woodland Ledge”, in the lower right corner of the image) before driving ~50 meters southeastward to our next destination. We also targeted ChemCam and Mastcam to some nearby interesting rock targets named “Spurling Rock”, “Grindstone Ledge”, and “Knight Nubble”.

Following the drive on Sol 1698, we will have a post-drive DAN active measurement and the 3rd set of Mastcam atmospheric observations on this sol. Having multiple measurements in a single sol helps us understand how amounts of atmospheric clouds and dust vary between morning, afternoon, and evening. On Sol 1699 we’re planning untargeted science including a ChemCam AEGIS activity and a Navcam dust devil survey image sequence.

Written by Scott Guzewich, Atmospheric Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center