1 April 2018

Sol 2011: Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Wheel Tracks

Posted by Ryan Anderson

After the weekend drive, the rover ended up in a spot that was a little too unstable to pass the Slip Risk Assessment Process (SRAP). That means that there is a slight chance that the rover’s footing might shift if the robotic arm is extended, which is not ideal for the safety of our contact science instruments, so for the Sol 2011 plan we chose not to use the arm and instead focused on remote sensing.

The rover will start off with two ChemCam RMI mosaics of the Peace Vallis alluvial fan on the crater floor. The air is clear right now, but is expected to get dusty later this season, so it is important to get these very long distance images while we can. Next, ChemCam will measure the chemistry of the targets ‘Morven’, ‘Insch’, and ‘Pabay’. Mastcam then will take four mosaics: two that cover the three ChemCam targets, and two more looking for changes in the bedrock at other locations. Navcam will then finish up, watching for dust devils and clouds around midday and in the late afternoon.

The plan is to wrap up observations at this location in the Sol 2012 plan and then drive to the southeast.

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