1 November 2017
Curiosity will finally be back on the move. The rover made an unexpected stop of nearly two weeks in the current location due to several things ranging from failed uplinks to insufficient arm heating and a camera glitch. It reminds us that everything must work just right to successfully operate a robot on Mars. In addition to thorough remote and contact analyses of this stop, Curiosity had several other notable accomplishments, including placing the drill down on the ground for a test, and dropping off a sample of ‘Ogunquit Beach’ dune soil to SAM for evolved gas analysis.
The rover team is planning two sols of operation. Curiosity has a ~25 meter drive planned for Thursday, hoping to stop between the two sandy areas shown to the left and right in the image. Before the drive it is doing ChemCam observations on ‘Gravelotte,’ ‘Sibasa,’ and ‘Brooklands.’ APXS will have an observation of ‘Sibasa’ and an overnight integration on ‘Gamka,’ both after DRT brushing. MAHLI will make observations of these two as well as of the REMS UV sensor. Mastcam will follow up on all of the Mars surface targets. On the second night ChemCam will take two passive observations to test its detector noise levels at two different temperatures. Observations also include REMS and RAD Get_Data, DAN passive integrations, and post-drive imaging to set up for the weekend operations.
Written by Roger Wiens, Geochemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, ChemCam PI