30 July 2019
The rover is currently located in the southern part of the ‘Visionarium,’ where we are set to start our next drill campaign, and we can’t help but take in the scenery! Perched on top of a small escarpment, we have arguably one of the best backdrops we have ever had during a drill campaign. The stunning panoramic views of Mount Sharp and surrounding terrains (like those seen in the Navcam image above) could truly take one’s breath away – if the lack of oxygen wasn’t enough!
Today marked drill Sol 1, which meant the team was focused on locating and prioritizing drillable rocks in our workspace. The target ‘Glen Etive 1’ was selected as the primary drill option; ChemCam, MAHLI, and APXS measurements on Glen Etive 1 will provide information on the geologic and chemical properties of this rock before we start to drill. ChemCam will also target another spot on the same rock layer (‘Glen Etive 2’) as well as a target on another outcrop nearby (‘Ninian’). We also included various Mastcam observations in tosol‘s plan such as documentation images of the three ChemCam targets, a stereo image of a layered rock target called ‘Liddel,’ and a larger mosaic image of a distant sandstone unit. A set of environmental measurements rounded out the plan, including two DAN activities, REMS monitoring, and Navcam images to monitor dust loading and dust devil activity.
The team is eager and ready to jump into drilling at this new location, especially given the picturesque backdrop we get to enjoy while we work. And since a full drill campaign can last weeks, we can continue to revel in the beauty of Gale crater’s vast and diverse landscapes for at least a little while longer.
Written by Mariah Baker, Planetary Geologist at Johns Hopkins University