19 July 2018
The Sol 2115 wheel imaging went well, and we received the images needed to plan a drive back to ‘Sgurr of Eigg,’ near the Sol 1999 rover position. The >50-meter drive dominates the Sol 2116 plan, but leaves time for continued atmospheric and other scientific observations. Before the drive, Right Mastcam will image the ChemCam target selected by AEGIS on Sol 2115 and Navcam will monitor the opacity of the atmosphere. After the drive and the standard post-drive imaging needed to plan weekend activities, Mastcam will measure the atmospheric opacity and ChemCam will observe another target selected by AEGIS. Early in the morning of Sol 2117, Mastcam and Navcam will again monitor opacity, and Navcam will look for clouds overhead and near the horizon to measure wind velocity.
Earth and Mars are getting closer to each other this month, and by the end of this month Mars will be closer to Earth than it has been since 2003! Mars is visible low in the southeast after evening twilight. If you have a good telescope, you can monitor the progress of the global dust storm that is being intensely studied from spacecraft orbiting Mars as well as by MSL.
Written by Ken Herkenhoff, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center