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Curiosity Mars Rover: Something Between Us

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Curiosity Mast Digicam (Mastcam) picture of latest drill gap taken on Sol 2490.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now in Sol 2505.

In her report right this moment, Michelle Minitti, a planetary geologist at Framework in Silver Spring, Maryland, mentioned that “right this moment was the ultimate alternative to actively command Curiosity earlier than the Solar comes between us and Mars.”

Minitti famous that many of the devices are safely saved for the photo voltaic conjunction break, however intrepid Navcam was out there for some last-minute science observations.

The rover’s Navcam will measure the quantity of mud within the environment, search for mud devils, and search for clouds in a collection of photographs and films on Sol 2506.

Absolutely loaded

“After that, the distant sensing mast will flip its gaze down towards the workspace to protect in opposition to mud accumulation on the mast devices,” Minitti famous.

Whereas Curiosity is not going to obtain instructions from Earth throughout photo voltaic conjunction, the robotic has already been loaded with a collection of instructions to maintain it systematically gathering knowledge for the subsequent two weeks, Minitti explains.

Curiosity’s Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) and Radiation Evaluation Detector (RAD) will purchase a number of measurements every sol.

The Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) will purchase one lengthy passive measurement every sol, and Navcam and the entrance and rear Hazcams will every purchase one picture per day.

Curiosity Navcam Proper B photograph taken on Sol 2503, August 21, 2019.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Drill gap cuttings

“The mast’s downward-looking view contains the ‘Glen Etive’ drill gap, permitting Navcam to observe any adjustments within the cuttings across the drill gap. DAN may even purchase lively measurements twice throughout photo voltaic conjunction to train its neutron generator. The info gathered shall be saved up for return as soon as we regain dependable communications with Mars,” Minitti identified.

Curiosity Navcam Left B photograph taken on Sol 2504, August 22, 2019.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Minitti added: “Simply as photo voltaic conjunction shouldn’t be day off for Curiosity, it’s not day off for the science staff! With out the duties of commanding the rover, the staff has extra time to pore over the spectacular knowledge Curiosity has gathered for us. It takes time to translate every picture, mosaic, and spectrum into a greater understanding of what occurred in Gale crater, and conjunction affords us extra of this time to assume deeply and thoroughly. Finally, the time devoted to science turns into papers, that are one of many some ways the science staff communicates what it has discovered with our colleagues and the broader public.”

Credit score: NASA/JPL

Lastly, Minitti emphasised that should you miss Curiosity whereas the robotic is out of contact, take pleasure in your personal private tour by the entire collected photographs. “We promise there is sufficient to see there to get you thru two weeks!”

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