17 September 2019
Please welcome our 23rd drill hole on Mars! Coming in at ~43 mm depth, and both the rover and new drill hole are happy and healthy! Curiosity drilled into the same block as our previous drill target over the weekend, reaching full drill depth with only a little percussion needed. The first drill hole (the one closest to the rover, as seen in the Hazcam image here) was named Glen Etive, and the new drill hole is named, you guessed it, Glen Etive 2!
Following the successful drilling this weekend, Curiosity spent lots of time documenting the new hole so that the science team could get to work on Monday morning with plans to characterize it. We’ll be planning all of the standard chemistry measurements of the drill hole and drill tailings starting on Wednesday. But first, we plan to calibrate the ChemCam instrument to prepare for all of this upcoming work! On Sol 2529, Curiosity will calibrate its laser-induced breakdown spectrometer by measuring its titanium calibration target. Then, on Sol 2530, Curiosity will measure the imaging capabilities of the instrument by taking measurements of other calibration targets onboard the rover. These calibration activities take place every few weeks to make sure that the instruments are operating correctly and the data are as accurate as possible. By the time our chemistry measurements make it into Wednesday’s plan, we can be confident that ChemCam will continue to provide the fantastic data that it has been for the past seven years!
Written by Mark Salvatore, Planetary Geologist at University of Michigan