9 December 2018
After a successful weekend of activities and driving, we were hopeful that we would wake up on Sol 2256 and be ready for contact science and drilling. Unfortunately, Mars had other plans; similar to Friday’s planning, our workspace turned out to be just as fractured and unsuitable for drilling, so onward we go in search for a drill target elsewhere (again)! Our first two attempts at finding drillable red Jura were unlucky, so this time, we’ll try our luck and head towards a third candidate drill location, called ‘Region C.’ Fingers crossed that the third time’s the charm!
The plan for Sol 2256 includes a nice long science block before we drive. During the science block, we’ll collect ChemCam data on two targets: ‘Sandy Haven,’ a small soil patch, and ‘Tarness Haven,’ a block of reddish outcrop in front of the rover. We’ll also acquire a Mastcam multispectral mosaic looking ahead towards Region C to assess for color variations that will help us determine where the best red Jura location for drilling may be. The environmental group will also be acquiring some Navcam observations to monitor the atmosphere; these include a line of sight image and a dust devil movie.
After the science block, Curiosity will drive towards Region C, shown as the bright exposed bedrock in the mid-field of the Navcam image above. Halfway through the drive, we’ll stop for some Mastcam and Navcam imaging to assess the upcoming terrain. Once we get to our final parking spot, we’ll take some additional images to assess the ground in front of us. Together, these mid- and post-drive images will inform whether we drill at Region C or continue on in the search for red Jura. Stay tuned!
Written by Rachel Kronyak, Planetary Geologist at University of Tennessee