25 June 2019

Sols 2444-2446: The View from Teal Ridge

Posted by Ryan Anderson

Curiosity is still perched on top of Teal Ridge to investigate a fascinating outcrop that caps the ridge. The above Navcam image shows the view off to the right of Curiosity. The ridge-capping material is visible in the foreground, and the background shows where Curiosity is going to drive to next. We are spending part of the weekend characterizing the ridge-capping material, but a majority of the weekend plan will be devoted to SAM activities to look for methane.

The first sol of this three-sol plan includes a MAHLI dog’s eye mosaic of the target ‘Stack of Glencoul.’ Typically the arm is positioned such that the MAHLI instrument is looking down on a target. In a dog’s eye observation, the rover arm is positioned so that it looks at the target from the side. The team decided we should do a dog’s eye mosaic at this location so we can look directly at the laminations within these rocks. APXS will also target Stack of Glencoul in the weekend plan so we will be able to pair compositional information with these images. MAHLI will also take images of the ‘Yesnaby Stacks’ target to document a different part of the outcrop that exhibits laminations.

Also included in the plan are a Navcam dust devil movie, Mastcam images of the ‘Sandyhills’ target to monitor changes due to wind, a ChemCam observation of Yesnaby Stacks, and an addition to the ‘Beauly’ Mastcam mosaic to complete our Mastcam coverage of this outcrop.

The SAM instrument is also featured prominently in this weekend’s plan. The team is using SAM to periodically search for methane in the atmosphere, so SAM will ‘sniff’ the air during the night on the second sol and then spend part of the weekend analyzing this sample of the martian atmosphere.

Written by Kristen Bennett, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center