6 July 2017
As is typical for Curiosity lately, today we planned a ‘touch-and-go’ suite of activities for the rover. Today I served as the Science Operations Working Group Chair. A high level of charge in Curiosity’s batteries after the long holiday weekend allowed us to prepare a bounty of science observations. The first activity was contact science, a mix of APXS and MAHLI, on a target named ‘Appledore’ which is believed to be Murray bedrock much like we’ve examined before. This was followed by a Navcam survey for dust devils on the slopes of Mt. Sharp and then ChemCam targets on ‘Sugar_Plum’ and ‘Whortleberry’, the later of which appears to be a dark-toned pebble mixed into the light-toned Murray bedrock. We additionally scheduled a ChemCam passive observation, i.e., one without using the laser to vaporize small bits of rock, on a promontory of Vera Rubin Ridge (the taller point near the center of the image). We also targeted some interesting layered structures with Mastcam at the ‘Gooseberry’ target.
Following this full plate of science activities, Curiosity will drive about 10 meters toward a sand ripple that we plan to study over the coming weekend. This may be the last sand dune field Curiosity can closely examine for a long while, so we plan to make the most of it!
Written by Scott D. Guzewich