10 January 2019
Our onboard instruments SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) and CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy) have come to the end of their investigation of the Rock Hall target, likely to be our last drill location on the Vera Rubin Ridge, so this 2-sol plan is the beginning of the drill operation wrap up. On the first sol (2286) SAM will ‘doggie bag’ some sample, saving it for further experimentation in future weeks. The second sol of the plan (2287) will centre on preparations to ‘dump’ the remaining sample from the drill onto the ground in the weekend plan, so that it can be analyzed by APXS, MAHLI, Mastcam and ChemCam. For example, Mastcam will image the Rock Hall drill hole, to monitor the degree of movement of the drill fines in the 3 weeks since our drilling.
The Geology (GEO) theme group planned ChemCam LIBS observations on four targets within the workspace. ‘Deveron’ is a typical bedrock target, to help further characterize the bedrock in this area. ‘Burra’ has an interesting pitted texture, whilst ‘Braeriach’ has a shiny appearance. ‘Gometra’ is a potential iron meteorite, which has been previously targeted, but warranted further investigation. Mastcam will take colour images of the LIBS targets, in addition to remote sensing of the ‘Greenheugh’ pediment, further up the slopes of Mount Sharp. The Environment (ENV) theme group is continuing to document dust levels in the atmosphere, via a Mastcam sky column activity, and a full tau/extinction pair of images. Additionally, DAN passives and standard REMS activities are throughout the plan.
Written by Catherine O’Connell, Planetary Geologist at University of New Brunswick-Cooper