NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has simply began performing Sol 2359 duties.
“At first of Sol 2359, Curiosity discovered herself parked in entrance of some layered bedrock outcrops, a rarity within the rubbly landscapes that we’ve explored to this point within the clay-bearing unit,” reviews Vivian Solar, a planetary geologist at NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
“We had been constrained by energy in right this moment’s plan, however managed to make use of each out there minute for science,” Solar provides.
As a part of routine documentation of the chemical and textural variations on this area, the rover’s Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) can be making observations of “Rutherglen” to measure composition and detailed texture.
Curiosity’s Chemistry and Digicam (ChemCam) will even measure the composition of “Woodland Bay,” one other bedrock publicity within the workspace.
Outcrop layering and construction
“We will even take a few Mastcam mosaics – one of many complete workspace to get a greater have a look at the outcrop layering and construction, and to carry shade to the tonal variations within the Navcam photographs,” Solar explains. One other Mastcam mosaic can be of “Goosander,” an aeolian bedform that additionally exhibits tonal variations.
Solar notes that discussions are underway the place Curiosity will subsequent drive.
“One tempting choice was to drive to a lone float rock,” Solar says. “We puzzled what might this be – a meteorite, or a remnant of a better, eroded unit?”
An alternative choice was to drive to a close-by space that appears to include delicate ridges.
“Given the prevalence of ridges and comparable options within the clay-bearing unit, we determined that it was necessary to drive to the ridges and set ourselves up for contact science on these options,” Solar factors out.
“From our future location, we will even have the chance to picture that float rock in addition to a close-by butte. To facilitate these future observations, we added a post-drive Mastcam workspace mosaic so that we’ll have shade imagery to help in focusing on within the subsequent plan,” Solar reviews.
Lastly, after a drive of roughly 98 toes (30 meters) to the small ridges, Curiosity will make observations of a Phobos transit and a Mastcam tau, adopted by ChemCam Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Elevated Science, or AEGIS.
AEGIS observations are designed to autonomously shoot ChemCam targets after driving to a brand new location, Solar concludes.