4 January 2018

Sols 1925-1926: Off to the races

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Curiosity’s hard work over the holiday break paid off, giving the science team a rich collection of new data to assess and a new workspace to explore. The science team certainly got the year off to a bang with a very full plan at our new parking spot!

The layered rocks in the workspace extend away from the rover like a staircase, and our observations were aimed at ‘walking’ up the staircase to survey similarities and differences in the layers on our journey. We started near the bottom of the workspace, acquiring MAHLI mosaics on layers in the targets ‘Jura’ (the triangular-shaped target immediately in front of the rover) and ‘Crinan.’ About halfway up the staircase, we stopped at the target ‘Assynt’ for MAHLI imaging and chemistry measurements with ChemCam and APXS. A few more steps up brought us to the target ‘Barra,’ which we analyzed with ChemCam. Finally, at the farthest point where the arm could reach (the upper right edge of the above image) we acquired MAHLI images and ChemCam data from the target ‘Elgin.’ We acquired Mastcam multispectral observations, which tell us something about the iron-bearing minerals in the rock, in a continuous swath from Crinan to Elgin, and tracked the layers from in front of us to the right of the rover using a 5×2 Mastcam stereo mosaic.

While mostly busy looking at the rocks in front of us, we paused to take an afternoon glance skyward to look for clouds and dust devils, and measure the amount of dust in the atmosphere. The bountiful workspace meant that we did not drive, so we will remain here to start our weekend plan, allowing the science team to follow up on the observations made today.

Written by Michelle Minitti, Planetary Geologist at Framework