11 September 2018
In the weekend plan Curiosity drove to an area that the team thought would be a good location for the next drill site on Vera Rubin Ridge. The drive was a success, and there is a block named ‘Inverness’ in the center of the workspace that was selected to be the next drill target.
The 2-sol plan focuses on characterizing Inverness in preparation for the drill campaign. This includes removing dust from the surface of the rock with the DRT, as well as taking MAHLI images, APXS measurements, a ChemCam LIBS observation, and a Mastcam multispectral observation of Inverness.
In addition to all of the measurements of Inverness, Curiosity will begin taking change detection images. The rover will be sitting in one spot for some time during the drill campaign, so this is a good opportunity to see if any of the sand around Curiosity is being moved around by the wind. In the current plan this includes a MARDI twilight image and Mastcam images of ‘Sandend’ and ‘Skene.’
But wait! There’s more! This plan also includes a Mastcam image of the target ‘Stoneyburn,’ a Navcam dust devil survey, and MAHLI night time images of the CheMin inlet.
This full 2-sol plan will set Curiosity up to start drilling into the next target on Vera Rubin Ridge later this week. Just another day planning to put holes in rocks on Mars!
Written by Kristen Bennett, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center