28 August 2017

Sol 1797-1799: Scrutinizing Vera Rubin Ridge

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Yesterday’s drive went perfectly, putting us in a good position for a busy weekend plan. Curiosity will start off on Sol 1797 with a long (2h 45m) science block full of a variety of remote sensing. Mastcam has a multispectral observation of some gray pebbles named ‘Bois Bubert’ followed by a routine image of the rover deck to monitor dust accumulation. Then Mastcam takes a break while ChemCam analyzes the pebbles at ‘Bois Bubert,’ some bedrock at ‘Doliver,’ some ‘redder’-looking bedrock at ‘Shag Rock,’ and another more typical bedrock target called ‘Abagadasset’. ChemCam also has two long-distance RMI mosaics of ‘Vera Rubin Ridge’ to help see the detailed sedimentary structure of the ridge. After ChemCam is done, Mastcam resumes its work, taking context images of all the ChemCam targets, and a large 44-frame mosaic of Vera Rubin Ridge. That is followed by routine atmospheric dust observations with Mastcam. But wait, there’s more! That was just the first science block! Once the remote sensing is done, MAHLI and APXS will analyze the targets ‘Abagadasset’ and ‘Doliver.’

On Sol 1798, the morning science block is dedicated to atmospheric observations. Mastcam will repeat its atmospheric dust images, and Navcam has several observations watching for clouds. Then MAHLI will do some routine observations of the rover, checking on the health of our battered wheels, and imaging the REMS UV sensor. Finally, on Sol 1799, the rover will drive roughly 23 m and we will collect post-drive imaging so that on Monday we can see where we ended up.

I was on the downlink side of things today, so while the uplink team planned this busy weekend, I was analyzing the latest ChemCam data, including the nice RMI views of Vera Rubin Ridge. I’m looking forward to seeing all the great images that Curiosity will collect over the weekend to help us understand how the ridge formed!

Written by Ryan Anderson, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center