7 April 2019
We are go for full drill! Today’s plan will see Curiosity execute the final preparatory steps and then drill at our ‘Aberlady’ bedrock target (seen here underneath the rover’s arm and turret during the pre-drill APXS measurement) . This is a moment that the mission has been waiting for since Gale Crater was chosen as our landing site 8 (Earth) years ago! The clay bearing unit on the slopes of Mt. Sharp, which the rover is now parked on, is one of the primary reasons Gale Crater was selected over other competing landing sites and Curiosity’s suite of instruments is tailor made to investigate what materials comprise it.
Prior to the drill activities, ChemCam and Mastcam will investigate two nearby bedrock targets and ENV has a Mastcam dust devil movie planned. After the drill, on the 3rd sol of today’s plan, we’ll begin investigating the drill hole and the resulting rock powder with ChemCam and Mastcam.
Written by Scott Guzewich, Atmospheric Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center