18 January 2018
Today’s two-sol plan will wrap up activities at Vera Rubin Ridge location ‘e.’ When we assessed the downlink data this morning, we were excited to see that ChemCam did a great job with some very precise pointing in the previous plan. At location ‘e’ we have been focused on understanding small-scale features, like the tiny crystals and veins seen in the above ChemCam RMI image. Today’s plan will complete the detailed work on this outcrop, and then we’ll bump to a new location to assess a transition from gray to red bedrock.
I was the SOWG Chair today, and we had a fairly straightforward planning day. On the first sol, Curiosity will acquire 4 more carefully pointed ChemCam observations to assess compositional variations in bedrock, a vein, and dark nodules, along with supporting Mastcam documentation. Then we’ll acquire MAHLI images of the target ‘Funzie,’ and one more MAHLI image on ‘Rona’ to assess small textural differences in the bedrock and veins that are present here. Just for ‘Funzie,’ we’ll do an overnight APXS analysis. On the second sol, we’ll acquire a Mastcam multispectral mosaic of the area that we’re bumping towards in order to better understand the color differences and the transition from gray to red bedrock in this area. Then Curiosity will drive ~5 m to the south to set up for contact science in the weekend plan. The plan also includes a number of environmental monitoring observations to look for clouds and variations in dust in the atmosphere. One of the Mastcam atmospheric observations is coordinated with a THEMIS observation, which is pretty cool to think about multiple spacecraft studying Mars from the ground and orbit.
Written by Lauren Edgar, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center