It’s been a challenging week in Gale crater, but Curiosity and the rover team are ready to put those challenges behind us as we head into a busy weekend plan. I’ve been on shift as LTP and SOWG Chair this week, and we’ve had a handful of issues related to difficult terrain, being in a good orientation for communication, and having small downlink volumes available for planning.
Today was a “late slide sol” because the downlinked data that we needed for planning didn’t arrive on Earth until around 9:30am PDT this morning. Despite these challenges and the late start, we put together a very full weekend plan for Curiosity to carryout over the next three days.
The plan starts with a ChemCam observation on the bedrock target “Canaima” and multiple Mastcam mosaics to document the local stratigraphy and fractures. Then we’ll use MAHLI and APXS to investigate a couple of blocks of bedrock in our workspace, including a MAHLI “dogs eye” mosaic to examine the exposed stratification at the target “Kurupukari.”
Overnight, APXS will collect data on “Oshi” and “Bonfim.” On the second sol, Curiosity will collect another ChemCam observation on the target “Oshi,” followed by a ~14 m drive to the south. The topography looks a bit challenging, so here’s hoping that Curiosity can channel her sport mode to get up and over the terrain seen in the above Navcam image.
After the drive we’ll collect images to help with targeting on Monday. The third sol includes an autonomously selected ChemCam target, and Navcam observations to search for dust devils and monitor dust and clouds in the atmosphere. Early the next morning there’s an additional science block for environmental monitoring.
It’s nice to get back into some new terrain and the views are fantastic. Looking forward to the results from all of these activities, and hoping for easier planning in the week ahead!
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Racks in the sand from about a hundred sols ago Sol 3463
Pasadena CA (JPL) May 04, 2022
On sol 3415 we encountered what we unofficially dubbed ‘Gator Back’ terrain and decided to not fight the “creature” on the expense of our wheels but rather to turn around and go back. For those of you who like looking back into the events: the first encounter with that terrain that made us turn around was reported here on the blog on sols 3419-3420, blog 3421 showed a beautiful close up of the “beast,” and we decided to turn around on sol 3422. All this was not only reported in the blog, but also in a C … read more