25 June 2018
Despite the global dust storm (more correctly known as a ‘planet encircling dust event’) darkening the skies, our nuclear-powered rover continues to do good science. The sol 2090 plan begins with the first of several Navcam observations of the dusty atmosphere over the weekend, followed by ChemCam observations of the targets ‘Caribou Lake,’ ‘Simar,’and ‘Arlberg’. ChemCam also will image the target ‘Young Lake’ again. Mastcam will take individual pictures of the ChemCam targets on Arlberg and Caribou Lake, plus small stereo mosaics of Simar and ‘Hawk Ridge’ to help measure the orientation of the veins and layers seen there. Mastcam will then make some observations of the sun and the distant crater rim to measure the dust in the atmosphere and MARDI will take an image of the ground underneath the rover. Later in the afternoon on sol 2090, Mastcam will take some images of MAHLI to make sure it isn’t getting too dusty. APXS will then make two measurements: one on ‘Hunter Lake’ and another on Caribou Lake.
On Sol 2091, we start first thing in the morning with Mastcam and Navcam atmospheric measurements of dust and searches for clouds. Later in the morning, we’ll repeat some of the dust observations and Mastcam will take pictures of ‘Clappers,’ Hunter Lake, and Caribou Lake.
On Sol 2092 SAM will make a measurement of the atmospheric composition, and then Navcam will measure the dust in the atmosphere before we drive. The drive should go about 28 meters, heading back up the slope toward the top of Vera Rubin Ridge. After the drive, Mastcam will make another round of atmospheric dust measurements plus normal post-drive imaging, including a documentation image of the ground near the rover. MARDI will also take a documentation image.
Written by Ryan Anderson, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center