2 July 2018
Curiosity is back on top of the Vera Rubin Ridge once more, having completed our drive over the weekend as we move toward our next drilling target in the ‘Pettegrove Point’ geological member. This Navcam image shows the occasionally steep edge of the Vera Rubin Ridge on the left side of the image and the dusty haze beyond it that has shrunk our horizons for the last few weeks.
Today’s 2-sol plan involved contact science with APXS on rock targets ‘Dumbarton Rock’, ‘Duntarvie Castle’, and ‘Duntelchaig’ and four ChemCam LIBS rasters on nearby targets. After climbing back onto the ridge, there is no lack of interesting bedrock targets nearby and the ground is much smoother and suitable for driving compared to where we’ve been for the last many weeks while we studied our ‘Duluth’ drill hole and its surroundings.
As ENV science lead today, I continued our dust storm campaign with a variety of measurements of atmospheric dust opacity (which has continued a very slow decline from a peak about 2 weeks ago). We’ve had to alter existing measurement techniques for measuring dust opacity and create new ones to account for the high amounts of dust in the atmosphere and the corresponding low light levels at the surface. But this also affords us new opportunities to study the properties of dust particles themselves.
Written by Scott Guzewich, Atmospheric Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center