08 March 2017 – The MSL rover drove a little over 40 meters on Sol 1630, to a place with bedrock blocks surrounded by dark sand. There’s a bright block with parallel linear features in the arm workspace, so the tactical team decided to plan contact science on those features. This made for an exciting day for me as MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead! The MAHLI image through the closed dust cover that was planned for Sol 1630 was successfully acquired, so we’re planning to acquire a similar image of the APXS target “Spring Point” on Sol 1632. MAHLI diagnostic images of its calibration target and more drill diagnostic tests are also planned for Sol 1632, along with ChemCam and Right Mastcam observations of Spring Point and a nearby target named “Nine Lake.” Right Mastcam will also take an image of a laminated rock dubbed “Grand Pitch” before the rover drives away.
On Sol 1633, Navcam will search for dust devils and ChemCam will again use AEGIS to autonomously select and observe a target in the rover’s new location. Finally, MARDI will take another image during twilight. If all goes well, we’ll be able to return to normal MAHLI operations this weekend!
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.