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21 January 2016

Sol 1230-1231: Getting the scoop at Namib Dune

Our campaign to analyze “Namib Dune” continues! In the sol 1230-1231 plan the main event is dropping off some sand in the SAM instrument, but some of the other instruments got a workout too. The sol 1230 plan originally included a science block with some ChemCam, Mastcam, and Navcam observations, but unfortunately that had to be cut to save power, so those observations will have to happen over the weekend. …

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18 January 2016

Sol 1228-1229: Selfie and Scooping

Our campaign to analyze the Bagnold dunes continues! In the Sol 1228 plan we have a bunch of arm activity, starting with a rover “selfie” in front of the sand dune, followed by scooping up and sieving a sample of sand. Mastcam and MAHLI will both thoroughly document the scooping process. Mastcam also has a change detection observation of the target “Hebron”. On Sol 1229, Mastcam will repeat that change …

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16 January 2016

Sols 1225-1227: Analyzing dump piles

As seen in the images above, the arm activities on Sols 1223-1224 went well, and we’re ready for even more contact science in the 3-sol weekend plan.  To kick things off, ChemCam will analyze the composition of the wall of the scuff and will also document a sharp-crested ripple with the RMI.  Then Mastcam will document the ChemCam target and look for sand movement.  Overnight, APXS will be used to …

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11 January 2016

Sols 1221-1222: Back on track

MSL has recovered from the motor controller anomaly, so tactical operations are back on track, with a drive to the dune sampling area planned for Sol 1221.  I helped the ChemCam team select targets for LIBS and RMI observations today.  Before the drive, ChemCam will observe a target named “Probeer” on a patch of bedrock in front of the rover.  Mastcam will also image Probeer and acquire a stereo mosaic …

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5 January 2016

Sol 1215: Driving to a sampling location

After wrapping up our holiday investigation on the lee side of Namib Dune, it’s time to move to a new location along the dune to sample the chemistry and mineralogy of the sand.  On Sol 1214 we checked out our wheels (see the MAHLI wheel image above, with Namib Dune and Mt. Sharp in the background), and decided to go for a long drive today.  The plan is drive ~ …

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21 December 2015

Sol 1200-1201: The Best Laid Plans

Unfortunately, over the weekend there was an issue with the rover’s arm while the “Greenhorn” sample was being dumped, which caused the rover to stop what it was doing. Because the arm ended up in an unexpected position, it prevented the APXS and MAHLI observations from occurring as planned, and it was in the way of the subsequent three ChemCam observations. The arm issues meant that today’s plan was dedicated …

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17 December 2015

Sols 1196-1197: Aeolian paradise

On Sol 1194 Curiosity drove 47 m around the lee side of “Namib Dune.”  The latest Navcam images reveal many beautiful aeolian features on the slipface and interdune deposits. In today’s 2-sol plan, we’ll continue driving around “Namib Dune.”  On the first sol we’ll use ChemCam to assess the composition and grain size of a ripple.  Then we’ll use Mastcam to image the brink of the dune and its slipface …

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7 December 2015

Sols 1187-1188: Analyzing bedrock and sand

After successfully completing a mobility test last week (as seen by our wheel tracks through this sand patch), Curiosity drove ~35 m toward a dune that is now named “Namib.”  We’ve accomplished a lot of reconnaissance imaging of the dunes, and we’re looking ahead to monitoring the dune slipface and sampling the chemistry and mineralogy of an active dune.  We’ve also acquired some beautiful close-up images of the sand grains, …

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3 December 2015

Sol 1183: Completing mobility tests

Today we are planning the last sol of the mobility test, turning and backing out of the sand while taking multiple Hazcam images, then pausing to take Navcam and Mastcam images of the wheel tracks.  But first, Mastcam will take multispectral images of a rock named “Narabeb” and a soil target dubbed “Kubib.”  The right Mastcam will also acquire another 2×2 mosaic of Secomib, to look for changes in the …

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23 November 2015

Sol 1173: Dune monitoring

Over the weekend, Curiosity drove 51 m closer to the Bagnold Dunes.  I’m on duty as the Geology Science Theme Lead, and today we’re planning Sol 1173, which includes a short science block, a drive, post-drive imaging, and some untargeted science in the afternoon.  The main focus of today’s plan is to monitor the dunes and document the bedrock along the way.  We’ll start with several Mastcam observations to monitor …

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