13 December 2017
The plan for this weekend is to finish up the investigation of Vera Rubin Ridge stop #9 and drive toward the next stop. On Sol 1899, Mastcam will acquire multispectral observations of possibly hematite-rich outcrops at ‘Farr’ and the Sol 1897 contact science target ‘Wick.’ Both ChemCam and the Right Mastcam will observe ‘Muck,’ another Sol 1897 contact science target, and new rock targets named ‘Gala’ and ‘Lagavulin.’ Mastcam will also take standard color images of interesting blocks named ‘Moffat’ and ‘Cape Wrath.’ Then more of the Ogunquit Beach sample will be dropped into SAM for an overnight evolved gas analysis on Sols 1900 and 1901. The goal is to measure the amounts of various noble gases in the sample in order to determine when the minerals in the sand were formed.
Just before sunrise on Sol 1900, ChemCam will again attempt to detect frost on the ‘Sandwick’ soil target that was observed during the day on Sol 1898. Navcam will search for clouds above the rover just after sunrise, then only REMS measurements and a few engineering activities are planned before the SAM solid sample analysis, which requires a significant amount of power.
The drive is scheduled for Sol 1901, followed by the usual post-drive imaging to enable more contact science in the next plan. Finally, the AEGIS software will be used to autonomously select an outcrop target and observe it with ChemCam.
Written by Ken Herkenhoff, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center