Ken’s Sol 1721 Update: An easier planning day

8 June 2017 – MSL drove 26 meters on Sol 1720, as planned, to a location with blocks of bedrock in the arm workspace. Because the rover climbed another 3 meters in elevation, contact science has top priority for today’s plan, with driving next in priority. One of our strategic goals is to measure the chemistry of Murray formation rocks using APXS at elevation intervals of no more than 5 meters. So the GEO science theme group (STG) selected a smooth, typical Murray bedrock target named “Fawn Pond” as the top priority for contact science (APXS and MAHLI observations), and planned ChemCam and Right Mastcam observations of nearby target “Kief Pond.” The GEO plan also includes a 6×2 Right Mastcam mosaic to investigate sedimentary structures at “Arey Cove” and standard post-drive imaging. The ENV STG requested non-standard RAD activities that required lengthening the post-drive science block. Despite concerns about power, all of these science activities fit nicely into the plan! I’m SOWG Chair today for the third day in a row, and it’s been the easiest shift so far: There were no delays in processing the new data needed for planning this morning, and the volume of data expected to be returned in time for planning tomorrow is comfortably larger that it was on Sols 1719 and 1720.

Ken Herkenhoff is a ChemCam RMI specialist. An archive of Ken’s past updates can be read at

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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