14 April 2019
With our time at Aberlady coming to a close, the search for our next drill target is in full swing. On Friday, the team discussed two different ‘bump’ options that are near our current workspace and may be drillable. These targets were weighed against the option to head back toward a site we already passed or to do a small ‘walkabout’ to scout out other promising bedrock outcrops. Ultimately, we decided to try our luck with one of the two nearby targets (one of which can be seen in the image above). However, the bump was postponed until Wednesday so that there would be enough time for the team to finish its assessment of the Aberlady workspace.
On the penultimate day of observations at Aberlady, we will focus on refining our understanding of the composition of local rocks and drilled material. ChemCam measurements of the drill hole and accompanying MAHLI images will be used to characterize a potential vein within the drilled rock. ChemCam will also target the edge of a large bedrock chunk, which appeared to get uplifted during drilling, and will take an image mosaic of a distant sulfate unit on Mount Sharp. APXS will also reshoot a pile of dumped material today, and it will shoot the tailings around the drill hole tomorrow. A short Navcam movie was also planned, which will continue the rover’s regular monitoring of dust devil activity in Gale crater.
Overall, today was a fairly light planning day for the rover. Although our next drill target may be less than a meter away, the team is looking forward to wrapping up activities here at Aberlady and moving on to our next workspace!
Written by Mariah Baker, Planetary Geologist at Johns Hopkins University