10 May 2019

Sols 2404-2406: (Starting to) Drive Away!

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Today we developed a 3 sol plan geared towards wrapping up activities at the ‘Kilmarie’ drill site. We learned early on that the SAM team decided to not proceed with a wet chemistry experiment at this site, which would have required us to drill a third sample. As a result, we finished analyses of the Kilmarie drill hole with MAHLI imaging of the drill hole and tailings and APXS measurements over two regions of the tailings. One APXS spot will be over a redder portion of the drill tailings (see image above), and the other APXS spot will be over the paler portion of the tailings (which also tends to appear as clumps in the above image). Acquiring two APXS measurements over these different areas may tell us whether these two colors represent differences in composition.

On Sol 2405, we will take a MAHLI selfie of the rover, giving us a nice view of the ‘Aberlady’ and Kilmarie drill holes and the landscape of the Glen Torridon region. We will also measure the redder portion of the Kilmarie tailings with ChemCam, which will provide a comparison with the APXS data acquired over that region. Also in the plan is a suite of ChemCam observations on bedrock and pebble targets in order to continue documenting the textural and chemical transition between coherent bedrock and rubbly materials in Glen Torridon. In particular, three targets – ‘Stotfield,’ ‘Tiffany 3,’ and ‘Pennan’ – are concentrated near an area where bedrock appears to transition to pebbles, and ‘Shalloch’ is a target focused on a farther patch of rubbly material. There are also several environmental observations spread throughout the plan, such as zenith movies, Mastcam taus, and Navcam dust devil surveys to monitor the atmosphere, as well as a MARDI observation to close out the change detection campaign at this drill site.

Written by Vivian Sun, Planetary Geologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory