Ready to Drill – Update for Sols 3054-3055: Written by Kristen Bennett, Planetary Geologist [Summary & Links in comments]
Ready to Drill – Mission Update for Sols 3054-3055:
Written by Kristen Bennett, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center
March 8, 2021
Curiosity is ready to go ahead with the first drill of 2021! Today we are planning preliminary observations of the potential drill location called “Nontron.” This includes MAHLI images, APXS integrations, a ChemCam passive observation, and Mastcam multispectral images of Nontron. This plan also includes a drill preload test to prepare for the drill procedure. After collecting this wealth of data at Nontron, we anticipate moving forward with the full drill in the next plan.
The plan is also packed with exciting non-drill related activities. The rover is parked near the Mont Mercou cliff face, a towering outcrop that gives us a great view of the sedimentary structures that are present. The plan includes a ChemCam passive observation and a Mastcam multispectral mosaic of part of the outcrop, called “La Coquille,” to investigate the chemistry and any potential color variations.
There is an additional Mastcam mosaic that covers several blocks of bedrock at the base of the La Coquille outcrop. This group of blocks (shown in the image above) inspired one science team member to name this target “La Madeleine,” similar to the children’s book. Here is our martian take on the story:
On an outcrop on Mars all covered with veins Were twelve little rocks in two straight lines This target is called La Madeleine!
Finally, Curiosity is looking towards the sky. The plan includes a Mastcam mosaic taken at twilight to monitor clouds in the evening sky. Additionally, a ChemCam passive sky observation has been coordinated with measurements from the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter spacecraft. This joint observation will be used to compare what the ground-based rover observes in the sky with what the spacecraft sees from orbit.
This substituted image is part of a mosaic of Curiosity’s right-side navigation camera captured at the end of its drive on Sol 3052. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Follow the link below for the original image
These blog updates are provided by self-selected Mars Science Laboratory mission team members who love to share what Curiosity is doing with the public.
Dates of planned rover activities described in these reports are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.
Recent drive details (uncalibrated):-
Sol: 3052 (not yet available)
Sol: 3049 (March 5, 2021)
Distance (point-to-point): ~24 meters ~79 feet)
Start Elevation: -4076.484 meters
Finish Elevation: -4073.724 meters
Elevation change 2.76 meters (9 feet)
Pointing (yaw): 177.50° (0° = North)
Planetocentric longitude: 137.41256°
Planetocentric latitude: -4.735278°
Site Index: 87
Drive index: 696
Total distance: 24.88 km (15.46 miles)
Total climb: 427.3 meters (1402 feet)
Map Quadrangle: Nontron
Target names (theme): French places.
Map archive: https://mars.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/map-archive/
Update archive: https://mars.nasa.gov/msl/mission-updates/
Quadrangles names: https://imgur.com/a/5v22tzK
Destination Mount Sharp: https://youtu.be/T1SL0NnXRW0
Fly down Gale: https://youtu.be/bMdE9t5aSaM
Raw Images: https://mars.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/raw-images/
Map credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UofA/USGS & F.Nogal
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