10 December 2018
Even on Mars, where every second of Curiosity’s sol is planned, things don’t always go quite as expected. This morning we learned that Curiosity didn’t complete her planned drive yesterday and instead stopped at the mid-drive point. We had to decide whether to finish the remainder of the previously planned drive, or bump towards a red Jura candidate and potential drill target in today’s plan.
After some thoughtful discussion, we decided to make the most of where Curiosity ended up, and planned a bump toward the nearby target ‘Rock Hall’ (located to the right of centre in the image above). Targeted ChemCam LIBS and Mastcam multispectral observations were then planned to characterize Rock Hall and confirm if it’s a member of the red Jura. Tosol‘s bump will have Curiosity set up for drilling and in position to test the hardness of Rock Hall with a drill pre-load test and ChemCam LIBS tomorrow, if need-be. Unfortunately, the amount of pebbles on top of Rock Hall will likely prevent our ability to use the Dust Removal Tool (DRT) on the surface, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be drilled.
In addition to the targeted Mastcam and ChemCam activities mentioned, a 360° Navcam dust devil survey rounded off a 1 hour science block to try and catch some late morning dust devils.
Written by Brittney Cooper, Atmospheric Scientist at York University