31 May 2017
Unfortunately the Sol 1713 activities were not uplinked due to an issue at the DSN station, so today’s plan is focused on recovering the activities that were planned yesterday. The good news is that we’ll be in the same location for the start of the weekend plan, so we’ll be able to add some additional contact science targets at this interesting site.
I was the SOWG Chair today, and it was a pretty straightforward planning day since it was mostly a repeat of yesterday! The plan kicks off with Mastcam mosaics of ‘The Whitecap,’ ‘Trap Rock,’ and ‘Pond Island’ to document some nearby sedimentary structures. Then ChemCam will target ‘Heron Island’ and ‘McNeil Point’ to investigate variations in chemistry within the darker gray rocks in this area. We’ll also acquire a ChemCam RMI to assess the grain size and stratification at ‘Sols Cliff.’ Then Navcam will carry out a dust devil survey to monitor atmospheric activity. Slightly later in the afternoon, we’ll acquire a Mastcam mosaic to document the contact science target ‘Prays Brook’ and surrounding rocks, and we’ll take a multispectral observation on ‘Heron Island.’ The meat of the plan lies in the contact science: APXS and MAHLI observations on ‘Berry Cove’ and ‘Heron Island’ to assess the darker gray rocks both with and without nodules, as well as a dog’s eye MAHLI mosaic along ‘Prays Brook’ to characterize the contact between the dark gray rocks and the underlying typical Murray formation. It’s a juicy plan so I hope it all goes smoothly this time, and we’re looking forward to more contact science tomorrow before we hit the road to Vera Rubin Ridge.
For more information about Curiosity’s investigation of the Murray formation and the ancient lake environments that it records, check out this recent press release:
Written by Lauren Edgar, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center