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Curiosity Mars Rover: Back on Top Again…of Vera Rubin Ridge

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Curiosity Navcam Left B picture taken on Sol 2098, July 1, 2018.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“Curiosity is again on high of the Vera Rubin Ridge as soon as extra, having accomplished our drive over the weekend as we transfer towards our subsequent drilling goal within the ‘Pettegrove Level’ geological member,” experiences Scott Guzewich, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard House Flight Middle in Greenbelt, Maryland.

“After climbing again onto the ridge, there is no such thing as a lack of attention-grabbing bedrock targets close by and the bottom is way smoother and appropriate for driving in comparison with the place we’ve been for the final many weeks whereas we studied our “Duluth” drill gap and its environment,” Guzewich provides.

Mud storm

A mud storm marketing campaign continues with a wide range of measurements of atmospheric mud opacity (which has continued a really gradual decline from a peak about 2 weeks in the past).

“We’ve needed to alter present measurement strategies for measuring mud opacity and create new ones to account for the excessive quantities of mud within the ambiance and the corresponding low mild ranges on the floor,” Guzewich explains. “However this additionally affords us new alternatives to check the properties of mud particles themselves.”

Curiosity Mastcam Left picture acquired on Sol 2098, July 1, 2018.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


In an earlier report, Christopher Edwards, a planetary geologist at Northern Arizona College in Flagstaff, Arizona, famous that Curiosity was going through uphill challenges.

“Curiosity stopped its drive a bit sooner than anticipated. It so occurs that the autonomous software program onboard Curiosity designed to maintain it driving safely kicked in and ended the drive in need of the deliberate distance,” Edwards notes.

Setback to science

“When issues like this occur, it’s a little bit of a setback to science, however maintaining the rover secure is precedence primary,” Edwards provides.

Not solely did the drive cease quick, however Curiosity really ended up in a location the place there wasn’t a very good floor mannequin, Edwards remarks, triggering the Slip Threat Evaluation Course of (SRAP) to fail.

A failed SRAP signifies that Curiosity can’t safely perform any arm-based actions, so the science group resorted to distant sensing actions utilizing the cameras and the Chemistry and Digital camera (ChemCam) instrument to proceed to evaluate the Vera Rubin Ridge.

Curiosity Mastcam Left picture acquired on Sol 2098, July 1, 2018.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Distant sensing actions

In a newly drafted three sol plan, Curiosity will first perform a bunch of distant sensing actions together with 5 ChemCam actions, Mastcam documentation photographs of the ChemCam places and a small Mastcam mosaic of a layered rock outcrop on the horizon, Edwards explains.

On the second sol, the rover will make good progress driving alongside the beforehand deliberate path utilizing solely the prevailing terrain floor mannequin that’s out there,

The standard suite of post-drive imaging to assist determine science targets within the subsequent plan may also be acquired.

Mud storm

“Importantly, because the mud storm on Mars continues to have an effect on Curiosity, actions designed to watch the quantity of mud within the ambiance will stay a precedence and be made as regularly as potential,” Edwards concludes.

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