10 September 2019
Today is our first planning sol following solar conjunction. For the past few weeks, Mars and Earth have been on opposite sides of the Sun, preventing routine communications with Curiosity. Our rover spent most of the time sleeping, with some routine environmental monitoring with REMS and RAD and occasional Hazcam images like the one shown. The image shows that we’re still parked at our ‘Glen Etive’ drill location where today we planned the 6th sol of our 8-sol drill campaign.
The primary activity for today’s plan was to dump the remaining powdered rock sample that we collected when drilling Glen Etive and then use APXS to analyze the small dump pile overnight. The GEO and ENV theme groups also planned a variety of activities to catch up on how things may have changed in the last few weeks. This included looking at the drill hole with Mastcam to see if the drill tailings might have blown away or been moved by the wind, getting measurements of atmospheric dust opacities and clouds with Mastcam and Navcam, and doing some routine instrument calibration activities. ChemCam will also target two new rock targets, ‘Cowgate’ and ‘Glenlivet,’ to continue to document the geochemical diversity in the area.
Written by Scott Guzewich, Atmospheric Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center