6 June 2019
The original plan for Sol 2429 involved a ‘touch-and-go’ where the rover would have engaged in contact science (that’s the ‘touch’ portion) followed by a drive (the ‘go’ portion), but through discussion the instrument leads determined tactically that they were satisfied with the contact science already acquired at this location. Thus, we planned a ‘no-touch-and-go,’ and were able to take the time planned for contact science and use it to extend the length of a remote sensing science block before the drive.
This science block contains two Mastcam multi-filter observations, a 10×1 ChemCam raster on target ‘Awe,’ a 5×1 raster on target ‘Castle Rock,’ and a Mastcam stereo mosaic to capture nearby gravel. Curiosity will then drive an hour and twenty minutes, and wrap up the sol with some post-drive imaging of the new workspace, a Mastcam tau to measure atmospheric opacity, and a post-drive DAN active. For those not familiar, a post-drive DAN active consists of the DAN instrument shooting neutrons into the ground and measuring the energy of the reflected neutrons to detect hydrogen just below the surface. A DAN active occurs after every drive so that the DAN team can acquire these measurements at every location that Curiosity stops and does science. DAN actives run in conjunction with DAN passives, and while you may not hear about them often, the passive measurements run pretty much anytime Curiosity is awake for more than an hour. In passive mode, DAN relies on cosmic rays to provide a source of neutrons for its measurements.
The second sol consists of a science block that will occur following the sol 2429 drive (thus we don’t know what the workspace will look like). In this block we planned an AEGIS activity to find a target of interest and run a 3×3 ChemCam raster on it, and added two types of Navcam movies with pre-determined pointings to hunt for dust devils. Standard REMS extended block and nominal hourly measurements of temperature, pressure, humidity and UV radiation were also included in this plan. We made sure to include an extra REMS extended block over the dust devil surveys because the pressure monitoring can be used in combination with the visual imagery to measure and detect these low-pressure vortices.
Written by Brittney Cooper, Atmospheric Scientist at York University