19 December 2018

Sols 2265-2275: Curiosity planning for the holidays

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Mastcam Left image of the ‘Rock Hall’ drill hole, red Jura slab surrounded by sand-filled polygonal troughs.


Planning today revolved around making sure that Curiosity has enough power after the Christmas holidays to be able to continue analyzing ‘Rock Hall,’ the red Jura sample that we successfully drilled last weekend. We planned and uplinked 1 sol (sol = martian day) of science and diagnostic activities and 10 sols of REMS to take us through to the end of December. Tomorrow, our final day of planning before the MSL team takes a break for the holidays, we will plan Sols 2276 – 2278 to execute on Mars before the team here on Earth returns to nominal planning activities.

The priority was to facilitate diagnostic testing of the B-side computer to help assess the rover anomaly we experienced a few months ago (see this description of the anomaly). The diagnostics require Curiosity to be awake for long periods of time, which drains her battery, and does not leave much power for other activities. Because of this, although we had tentatively planned some ChemCam LIBS and RMI observations of rock targets in the workspace, as well as some Mastcam and Navcam environmental activities, we were unable to fit them into the final plan. We were able to include some Mastcam change detection images of a couple of the sand-filled polygonal troughs in this area (‘Luskentyre’ and ‘Fishertown’), to monitor how the wind moves sand around, as well as a Navcam deck pan to observe the rover deck. Standard DAN passive and DAN active, RAD and REMS activities round out the plan.

Written by Lucy Thompson, Planetary Geologist at University of New Brunswick