Lauren’s Sol 1596-1597 Update: Approaching the dunes for round two

30 January 2017 – Over the weekend, Curiosity drove an additional ~ 26 meters to the southwest, as we prepare for another investigation of the active sand dunes. We’re still a few more drives away from the dunes, but looking forward to the next campaign. I was the GSTL today, and we planned some contact science and Mastcam imaging and another drive. The plan starts with a short APXS integration and MAHLI imaging of “Isleboro” to characterize the composition, grain size, and sedimentary structures exposed in a typical block of the Murray formation. Then we’ll use Mastcam to document some color variations and stratification at “Parker Bog,” and to assess fracture patterns at “Jim Pond.” We’ll also take a Mastcam image to monitor the deck and characterize the movement of fines. And ChemCam will continue its recovery activities with a LIBS observation of the titanium calibration target. Then Curiosity will drive further to the southwest, and acquire post-drive imaging for context and targeting, including an upper tier Navcam frame to prepare for more imaging of “Ireson Hill” (seen in the above Mastcam image from Sol 1590). The second sol is devoted to environmental monitoring, with Mastcam and Navcam observations to assess dust in the atmosphere and search for dust devils.

Lauren Edgar is a Research Geologist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center and a member of the MSL science team.

Dates of planned rover activities described in these reports are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.

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