11 June 2017
On most weekends, Curiosity dedicates part of her efforts to do contact science – deployment of APXS, MAHLI, and sometimes the DRT – because multi-sol weekend plans have more time and power to fit in these more complex activities. Last weekend, however, time and power were dedicated to a more rare, and more complex, activity – analysis of a previously-drilled rock sample by SAM. To keep up our regular cadence of contact science, the team effectively extended the weekend by a day, planning contact science in this Monday plan. The workspace in front of the rover did not disappoint, with no shortage of options on a nice slab of Murray formation bedrock to reach out and touch!
The team selected a trifecta of targets for MAHLI and APXS, each with its own unique characteristic. ‘Haynes Point’ is located on red-toned Murray, ‘John Small Cove’ is located on tan-toned Murray, and ‘Barr Hill’ is located on flat-lying white vein material coating parts of the workspace bedrock. The mast instruments also got in on the action, with ChemCam shooting both Haynes Point and Barr Hill, and Mastcam acquiring a multispectral observation that covered all three contact science targets. Planning such complementary observations with multiple instruments helps the team extend their understanding of the rocks interrogated by the rover. After starting off Sol 1725 with an early morning suite of environmental observations, only a few additional sky observations were acquired in the rest of the plan along with regular REMS and RAD measurements. Curiosity will get back on the road tomorrow, driving ever closer to the spectacular topography of the Vera Rubin Ridge.
Written by Michelle Minitti, Planetary Geologist at Framework