Ken’s Sol 1647-1649 Update: Approaching the dune edge

24 March 2017 – The traction control test went well, and MSL drove over 30 meters on Sol 1646. The rover will be busy this weekend with lots of remote sensing, arm work, and a drive onto the edge of the dune. On Sol 1647, Left Mastcam will take a 360-degree panorama and Right Mastcam will acquire a 17×3 mosaic of the edge of the sand dune, which was named “Ogunquit Beach.” Then ChemCam and Right Mastcam will observe bedrock targets “Damariscotta Lake,” “Mount Katahdin,” and “Boothbay Harbor.” Late that afternoon, the arm will be unstowed for drill diagnostic tests and a full suite of MAHLI images on another bedrock target dubbed “Halftide Ledge.” APXS will then be placed on the same target for an overnight integration.

On Sol 1648, the arm will be stowed after more drill diagnostic tests and Navcam will search for dust devils while REMS acquires environmental data. Then the rover will drive onto the dune, toward a target near the center of the image above. After the drive, the arm will be unstowed to allow Mastcam and Navcam to acquire stereo images of the arm workspace to support planning next week. Early the next morning, Mastcam will measure the dust in the atmosphere and Navcam will search for clouds. In the afternoon, Right Mastcam will repeatedly take pictures of 3 areas near the rover to look for changes due to winds. Mastcam will also search for dust devils and measure atmospheric dust at two different times of day. Finally, the rover will sleep through the night to recharge in preparation for what will likely be a busy week.

Ken Herkenhoff is a ChemCam RMI specialist. An archive of Ken’s past updates can be read at http://astrogeology.usgs.gov/news/.

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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