30 October 2017

Sol 1861-1862: The Curse of Vera Rubin Ridge Strikes Again

Posted by Ryan Anderson

We are starting to suspect that Vera Rubin Ridge might be cursed. After the challenges we faced last week, we were hoping for a successful weekend plan but alas, it was not to be. Over the weekend Curiosity’s arm didn’t heat up as much as it was supposed to, so the arm activity failed and most of the weekend plan was lost. So today the name of the game is to try again!

The main activity in the 1861-1862 plan is another attempt at dropping off the ‘Ogunquit Beach’ sample in the SAM instrument, followed by SAM Evolved Gas Analysis (EGA) of the sample. In other words, SAM will heat the sample and measure what gases are produced. On sol 1862 there will be a science block where we will try to recover some of the remote sensing that was planned for the weekend. This will begin with a Mastcam mosaic that builds upon some previous Mastcam images of ‘Region 7’, followed by ChemCam and Mastcam observations of the bedrock targets ‘Schmidtsdrif’ and ‘Estecourt’ as well as the soil target ‘Lisbon’. The science block will end the way it began, with another Mastcam mosaic building upon a different previous mosaic of an area currently called ‘Region 6’. Navcam will also watch for clouds overhead and Mastcam will do a routine observation of the rocks and soil near the rover to check for any changes.

Hopefully we have seen the worst of Vera Rubin Ridge’s ‘curse’, and we’ll be able to finish this SAM analysis and start driving again shortly!

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