24 July 2019

Sol 2476: The Southern Escarpment Almost Within Reach

Posted by Ryan Anderson

This morning Curiosity found herself parked at the base of the southern escarpment of the Visionarium. She’s at a significant tilt of 21 degrees; you can see the slope of the horizon in the attached image. We’ve been imaging this ridge from several locations over the past few sols, trying to build up our understanding of the geology in this area. In today’s plan Curiosity will continue taking high resolution images of the outcrop with Mastcam and ChemCam; three specific areas are being targeted on the outcrop to see details of the various layering: ‘Antonine Wall,’ ‘Tyrebagger Hill,’ and ‘Seaton Cliffs.’

After completing the imaging, Curiosity will be driving just a little bit closer to try to put the layers near Tyrebagger Hill into the arm workspace. This requires backing up a short distance, turning slightly, and then re-approaching the ridge at a slightly different location, where we believe parking will be safe to unstow the arm for contact science, including low-angle MAHLI images of the layers. We may get close to or even break Curiosity’s high tilt record on this drive!

Written by Ashley Stroupe, Mission Operations Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory