4 October 2017
Unfortunately we weren’t able to uplink yesterday’s plan onto the rover because of a technical issue with the DSN, so we spent sol 1835 in run-out. Today we worked very hard to generate what we affectionately dubbed a ‘Frankenplan,’ which is defined as a plan in which one mashes elements that were already prepared (the contact science we had hoped to do on sol 1835) with new elements (a drive). We were able to pull this off because we were planning two sols today (1836-1837) instead of the one sol we planned yesterday.
We’ll begin the plan on sol 1836 with a remote sensing block that has ChemCam LIBS observations of targets ‘Ecca’ and ‘Lucknow.’ These are the same targets we had planned to do contact science on yesterday. We are also taking Mastcam mosaics of target ‘Limpopo’ and a nice vertical exposure that we may visit in the future. We additionally managed to fit in a Mastcam tau observation and a Mastcam multispectral observation of an area named ‘Hotazel.’ We will use the multispectral observation to document the spectral properties of the terrain in front of us. After finishing the remote sensing science block, we will repeat that contact science we had planned yesterday, collecting MAHLI and APXS measurements on bedrock targets that we are going to DRT, Ecca and Lucknow. The purpose of these contact science measurements is to document the properties of the bedrock on this middle plateau on Vera Rubin Ridge. We will also squeeze in one more Mastcam tau measurement and a crater rim extinction image before the sun sets.
Our main activity on sol 1837 is a drive to the east to continue on our exploration of Vera Rubin Ridge. We will collect a Mastcam multispectral observation of the brushed targets Ecca and Lucknow before we drive away. Whew!
Written by Abigail Fraeman, Planetary Geologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory