6 April 2018

Sol 2014: Something new and different

Posted by Ryan Anderson

For much of the last year, Curiosity has been exploring fine-grained rocks along Vera Rubin Ridge, and investigating red and gray color variations. Recently, something else caught our eye: dark cobbles and boulders exposed in patches, as seen in the above Mastcam image. We’ve seen some similar blocky deposits earlier in the mission, but it’s definitely been a while. These interesting rocks led the science team to decide to spend the weekend at a patch of these dark blocky deposits.

I was the SOWG Chair today, and it was a fairly straightforward planning day once we settled on that end of drive location. The plan starts with MAHLI and APXS observations of the target ‘Corsehill’ to characterize some potential concretions in the bedrock at our present location. Then we’ll acquire Mastcam multispectral imaging of yesterday’s DRT target ‘Lingarabay’ and some additional Mastcam mosaics to document diagenetic features and nearby blocky deposits at ‘Sidlaw,’ ‘Edzell,’ and ‘Waternish.’ Unfortunately we were pressed for time today so we weren’t able to fit in any ChemCam observations, but we look forward to collecting more ChemCam data in the weekend plan. We also planned a Navcam dust devil movie, along with standard REMS and DAN measurements. After Curiosity’s ~18 m drive, we’ll take post-drive imaging to prepare for contact science in the weekend plan, and we’ll acquire an overnight APXS atmospheric observation. I’m looking forward to learning more about these blocky deposits and how they relate to the depositional and erosional history preserved at Vera Rubin Ridge!

Written by Lauren Edgar, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center