NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, now in Sol 2578, is continuous its exploration of Central Butte with a two-sol “touch-and-go” plan.
That signifies that the rover can have one sol of contact science at its present cease earlier than the robotic continues on her drive across the base of the butte.
“Early on in planning, there was some dialogue in regards to the drive route; finally, the crew determined to go south to get a better view of a few of the uncovered layering throughout the butte,” stories Mariah Baker, Planetary Geologist at Johns Hopkins College.
A brand new plan included time for a brief science block earlier than the drive, which the rover science crew crammed with a Chemistry and Digital camera (ChemCam) Distant Micro-Imaging (RMI) digicam mosaic of goal “Crimond” and a Mastcam mosaic that can present elevated protection of Curiosity’s drive course.
Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurements have been additionally deliberate for the bedrock goal “Pobie Financial institution,” comprising the “contact” a part of this plan.
After this science block, the rover was set to “go” to her subsequent cease, which is able to convey it just a little additional up the bottom of the butte.
Commonplace post-drive imaging utilizing Navcam, Mastcam, and Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) will spherical out the primary sol and can present a greater take a look at its new workspace.
The second sol within the plan accommodates one untargeted science block, which is able to embody a ChemCam passive measurement, a ChemCam Autonomous Exploration for Gathering of Elevated Science (AEGIS) remark, and a Mastcam stereo mosaic of the highest of the butte.
The crew additionally deliberate a set of environmental observations together with Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) and Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) measurements, in addition to Mastcam photos of the crater rim, a Mastcam sky survey, a Navcam line-of-sight remark, and a Navcam supra horizon film.
“This knowledge will assist give us a head begin on our subsequent plan in order that we are able to use our time to look at Central Butte extra carefully,” Baker notes. “To be able to accomplish all of our science objectives at this location, the rover will make a pair extra stops alongside the aspect of the butte earlier than persevering with alongside the long-term strategic route.”