NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover at Gale Crater is now performing Sol 3083 duties.
The robotic is close to the transition between the “Glasgow” member and the sulfate-bearing unit. “As it is a main geologic transition, the science staff is attempting to get as a lot knowledge as doable earlier than transferring away,” experiences Ashley Stroupe, a mission operations engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
New plans known as for Curiosity to do a “touch-and-go,” performing contact and focused distant science earlier than driving away.
First, Curiosity was to get some arm train in, doing Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) observations of “Puymangou,” a darkish spot on a bedrock slab in entrance of the rover.
“Science will check if the colour distinction represents a distinction in composition relative to the close by bedrock,” Stroupe provides. “For the Rover Planners (of which I’m one at the moment), it is a difficult goal as a result of it’s small and a bit of raised relative to the encircling elements of the rock. We additionally have to keep away from the close by pockets of sand trapped by the floor roughness of the rock. After the arm actions, Curiosity will stow the arm to organize for driving.”
Earlier than driving away, there’s a set of focused science observations with Curiosity’s Mastcam. “Along with a small 3×Three mosaic of the contact science goal, we’ll take a big stereo mosaic of “Mont Mercou” from the southwest to get extra views of the sedimentary buildings of the ridge,” Stroupe explains.
Along with all the pictures taken from different areas round Mont Mercou, Stroupe provides that this final set will allow researchers to construct a whole 3-D mannequin of the function.
On this identical pre-drive time, the rover’s Chemistry and Digital camera (ChemCam) will even do a passive sky remark as a part of our environmental suite.
“Then, we are saying goodbye to Mont Mercou and start our drive, about 30 meters [98 feet] to the south-southwest. The terrain on this space is each fairly rocky and has patches of sand, offering one other problem for the Rover Planners,” Stroupe notes.
“Curiosity will wind her approach round among the sharper rocks and greater patches of sand with a purpose to land on a excessive level that ought to present a very good viewshed for planning the subsequent drive, in addition to touchdown on some bedrock to allow contact science within the weekend plan,” Stroupe experiences. “The Rover Planners (and Curiosity’s wheels) are positively trying ahead to being additional south, the place the terrain is extra benign and our drives will now not have to appear like a slalom monitor.”
After the drive, researchers will take some imaging to assist the subsequent drive, in addition to some further ChemCam observations of the sky and its calibration targets with a purpose to proceed to observe the well being of the instrument.
“Simply round sundown, we’ll do one other set of cloud observations with Mastcam and Navcam within the hopes of getting one more spectacular picture of the Martian cloudy skies,” Stroupe says, and a Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) picture of the bottom beneath the rover.
Additionally on faucet is the robotic performing environmental observations, together with a mud satan film and a supra-horizon film, in addition to some twilight Mastcam pictures, Stroupe provides.