11 June 2018
Over the weekend, an error cropped up during a regular test of the high gain antenna actuators, leaving the antenna unavailable for uplink of today’s plan, but otherwise healthy. The team instead will use Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to uplink a brief suite of activities to the rover, including the commands to recover the high gain antenna for use tomorrow. The MRO uplink window is hours later than our usual HGA uplink window, so with less time in the plan, we had to postpone our drill-related activities until tomorrow’s plan. We did get confirmation that we are ready for the next step of drill-related activities: dumping the ‘Duluth’ sample for analysis by APXS, MAHLI, ChemCam and Mastcam. For today, the high-priority activities that were included in the plan focused on monitoring the changing conditions associated with the ever-growing dust storm on Mars. Mastcam will measure the dust load in the atmosphere, and image two areas, ‘Noodle Lake’ and a spot where a test Duluth sample portion was dropped, to look for wind-induced changes. Regular REMS measurements will give us the data we need for weather reports as the storm builds.
Written by Michelle Minitti, Planetary Geologist at Framework