3 December 2018

Sol 2250-2251: Grey today, red tomorrow!

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Image taken by the MAHLI, Mars Hand Lens Imager, on sol 2247. Note the sand movement into the drill hole.

On sol 2250 Curiosity finishes the observations on and around the Highfield drill hole and drives on to an area where red Jura is exposed. The dataset Curiosity collected at the Highfield location is very informative already before tosol‘s activities. It includes observations that especially benefit from the longer stay, such as the change detection imaging experiments. In one of the images, the sand movements became very apparent by the drill hole already starting to fill in – not a planned change detection, but an interesting one nonetheless. It is just a few sols since we drilled, yet sand has drifted in and parts of the drill fines have blown away. We were once more reminded, just how active Mars is!

Today’s plan included the two last ChemCam observations in the Highfield area: one measurement will be taken of the Highfield dump pile, and one of a vein target called ‘Niddrie.’ Those will help us to better understand the drilled sample itself, and also the geologic and geochemical context of the drill site. Mastcam will document the activities as usual.

Then we will head off to the next potential drill site to find a good place to drill the red Jura. The team has extensively surveyed the area, and Curiosity is heading to a site called ‘Lothian.’ After the drive, Curiosity will gather as much information as she can by doing a large workspace Mastcam mosaic. Other activities are Navcam post drive imaging and an AEGIS. On to new adventures, red Jura, here we come!

Written by Susanne Schwenzer, Planetary Geologist at The Open University