15 May 2019
Now that we’re back on the road following our drill campaign at Kilmarie, Curiosity is planning a quick ‘touch-and-go’ activity today to characterize the local bedrock. Yesterday afternoon, Curiosity drove a short 3 meters to the north towards a large ripple field named ‘Rigg,’ which is where the ‘go’ portion of today’s ‘touch-and-go’ will take her this afternoon. Before then, however, Curiosity will extend her arm and analyze a patch of bedrock with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and then zap some more bedrock off to the starboard side of the rover using the ChemCam Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) instrument. She’ll then proceed with a well-planned dance that will dip one of Curiosity’s wheels into the nearby sand ripples, scuffing the surface and creating a small trench, and then orient herself in a position that will be better suited to study both the disturbed and undisturbed portions of the ripples. The next few days will be dedicated to studying these ripples before Curiosity plans to investigate more of the clay-bearing materials of the Glen Torridon region to the south and east of Vera Rubin ridge.
Written by Mark Salvatore, Planetary Geologist at University of Michigan