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Curiosity Mars Rover: The “Hunt” is On!

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Curiosity Navcam Left A photograph acquired on Sol 2256, December 11, 2018.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2256 duties.

The hunt for purple Jura continues reviews Rachel Kronyak, a planetary geologist; College of Tennessee in Knoxville.

“After a profitable weekend of actions and driving, we have been hopeful that we’d get up on Sol 2256 and be prepared for contact science and drilling,” Kronyak provides. “Sadly, Mars had different plans; much like Friday’s planning, our workspace turned out to be simply as fractured and unsuitable for drilling, so onward we go in seek for a drill goal elsewhere (once more)!”

Curiosity Entrance Hazcam Left A picture acquired on Sol 2256, December 11, 2018.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Third time’s the appeal?

The primary two makes an attempt at discovering drillable purple Jura have been unfortunate, so this time, Curiosity will strive its luck and head in the direction of a 3rd candidate drill location, referred to as “Area C.”

“Fingers crossed that the third time’s the appeal,” Kronyak says.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) picture produced on Sol 2255, December 10, 2018. MAHLI is situated on the turret on the finish of the rover’s robotic arm.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The plan for Sol 2256 features a good lengthy science block earlier than the rover’s drive. In the course of the science block, the robotic’s Chemistry and Digicam (ChemCam) will acquire information on two targets: “Sandy Haven,” a small soil patch, and “Tarness Haven,” a block of reddish outcrop in entrance of the rover.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) picture produced on Sol 2255, December 10, 2018. MAHLI is situated on the turret on the finish of the rover’s robotic arm.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Line of sight

“We’ll additionally purchase a Mastcam multispectral mosaic wanting forward in the direction of Area C to evaluate for coloration variations that may assist us decide the place one of the best purple Jura location for drilling could also be,” Kronyak factors out. “The environmental group may also be buying some Navcam observations to observe the environment; these embody a line of sight picture and a mud satan film.”

After the science block, Curiosity will drive in the direction of Area C. Midway by means of the drive Curiosity will cease for some Mastcam and Navcam imaging to evaluate the upcoming terrain.

Parking spot

“As soon as we get to our last parking spot, we’ll take some extra pictures to evaluate the bottom in entrance of us,” Kronyak concludes. “Collectively, these mid- and post-drive pictures will inform whether or not we drill at Area C or proceed on within the seek for purple Jura. Keep tuned!”

Curiosity Mastcam Left picture taken on Sol 2255, December 10, 2018.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Tactical selections

In an earlier report, Mariah Baker, a planetary geologist at Johns Hopkins College in Baltimore, Maryland, acquiring increased decision pictures of the publicity of purple Jura will assist the staff decide if it might be drilled subsequent week.

Curiosity ChemCam Distant Micro-Imager picture acquired on Sol 2256, December 11, 2018.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

“Making these tactical selections requires numerous fast considering; the staff should weigh fast scientific priorities with long-term targets, and should attempt to decide one of the best potential drill goal with restricted information,” Baker notes.

“We by no means know precisely what we’ll discover after we arrive at a brand new web site, so one of the best we are able to do is use lengthy distance imaging and classes realized from earlier websites to make an informed resolution on the place to ship the rover subsequent,” Baker concludes. “Hopefully this plan will put us in a great place on Monday to both drill the brand new outcrop or proceed on our strategic path.”


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