13 July 2019
The Sol 2463 drive went as planned, leaving the rover in position to examine what appears to be a small dome in the sedimentary rocks (visible on the left side of the scene above). To determine whether the layers really do bow upward here, we planned an oblique MAHLI mosaic and a Mastcam stereo mosaic. MAHLI will also acquire full suites of images of bedrock targets ‘Ecclefechan’ and ‘Kirbuster’ after ChemCam has measured their chemistry and hopefully cleared off some dust using its laser. ChemCam will also observe a small, brighter outcrop named ‘Hatton’ on Sol 2465. Later that sol, Mastcam will image the sun just before sunset, and APXS will perform short integrations on Kirbuster and longer, overnight integrations on Ecclefechan.
On Sol 2466, Mastcam will image the sun and the Gale Crater rim just after noon to measure the dust content in the atmosphere. Then Mastcam will acquire 3 stereo mosaics, of the possible dome in front of the rover, of the ‘Aitken Pit’ area to the left, and of the top of Harlaw Rise before the rover drives away. During the drive around the east side of Harlaw Rise, the rover will pause to acquire Left Mastcam and Navcam stereo mosaics of that side of the rise before proceeding to the south. The usual Hazcam, Navcam, Mastcam and MARDI images will be acquired after the drive, along with some additional Left Mastcam coverage on the right side of the rover to help select ChemCam targets on Monday.
Navcam will search for dust devils to start off Sol 2467, then ChemCam will perform a series of calibration activities. Later that afternoon, Mastcam will again measure dust in the atmosphere and Navcam will search for clouds before and after sunset. Finally APXS will measure the composition of the atmosphere overnight. There are lots of complex activities in this plan, so it was a busy day for me as SOWG Chair; I’m glad that all of the desired observations made it into the plan!
Written by Ken Herkenhoff, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center