On the Move and Watching Wheel Wear

Curiosity’s Location as of Sol 3018 since touchdown in Gale Crater on Aug. 5, 2012. Distance Pushed 15.13 miles (24.35 ).
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is simply closing out Sol 3020 operations.

Ashley Stroupe, Mission Operations Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, reviews the is transitioning out of the fractured intermediate unit right into a fractured rubbly unit, with rover drivers hoping to attenuate wheel put on.

Curiosity Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) picture taken on Sol 3018, February 1, 2021.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

A current Curiosity touch-and-go was carried out, with the science workforce busily analyzing the outcomes of the triboelectric experiment that Curiosity did over the weekend – a search for the spark of static electrical energy on Mars.

Curiosity Mast Digicam Proper picture acquired on Sol 3018, February 1, 2021.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

composition

A brand new plan requires contact science with the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and Alpha Particle X- Spectrometer on a bedrock goal named “Lunas,” as a of the common monitoring of bedrock composition and adjustments.

Curiosity Entrance Hazard Avoidance Digicam Proper B picture taken on Sol 3019, February 2, 2021.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Curiosity Rear Hazard Avoidance Digicam Proper B picture acquired on Sol 3019, February 2, 2021.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“The goal was a bit robust to select as a way to keep away from some discolored areas and the veins and attempt to get an excellent illustration of the bedrock itself,” Stroupe provides.

After the robotic’s arm is stowed, the plan is for the rover to take a number of focused science observations, together with a Chemistry and Digicam (ChemCam) Distant Micro-Imager (RMI) mosaic of the sulfate unit and a big Mastcam mosaic of the contact with the sulfate unit.

Reduce wheel put on

“We’re additionally doing a little atmosphere observations,” Stroupe says, “together with a crater rim and a protracted mud satan film.”

The rover’s drive within the plan is aimed toward parking simply earlier than it transitions out of the fractured intermediate unit (and earlier than getting into the fractured rubbly unit).

“As soon as we get again into the rubbly unit,” Stroupe factors out, “the driving will get a bit bit more durable for the Rover Planners, as a result of there are much more small and medium sized rocks that we’ll must keep away from to attenuate wheel put on.”

Curiosity Mast Digicam Left picture taken on Sol 3018, February 1, 2021.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Quick drive

A brief drive of about 82 toes (25 meters) of the rover places the Mars equipment in terrain that’s flat and away from main hazards. “The plan is to park the we will do one final contact science commentary of this unit earlier than leaving it behind,” Stroupe provides.

“We’re profiting from the brief distance of the drive and the arm will probably be unstowed on the parking location. We’ll be taking further workspace and drive path imaging at this location as our final take a look at the unit,” Stroupe reviews.

Curiosity Mast Digicam Proper picture acquired on Sol 3018, February 1, 2021.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Environmental observations

On the second sol of the plan, Sol 3021, the robotic will perform extra of the usual environmental observations, together with one other mud satan film and a suprahorizon film with navcam within the morning, and a protracted Mastcam sky survey and photo voltaic tau within the afternoon.

 

 

“We’re additionally throwing in a late-afternoon Navcam optics monitoring exercise to assist us monitor the mud on the cameras,” Stroupe concludes.

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