Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 521 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Benign Terrain

23 January 2014 After confirming that the terrain ahead was suitable for acquiring another full set of wheel images, the Sol 521 plan focused on MAHLI and MARDI images of the wheels separated by 31 cm bumps. These images have been useful in evaluating wheel wear as the rover traverses rocky terrain. MARDI imagesare now taken at each step to better characterize the terrain at millimeter scales. So it was a relatively busy day for me as MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead. By reducing the number of wheel imaging locations from 6 to 5, we were able to squeeze a 10-meter drive into the plan as well. Fortunately, we have been driving across more benign terrain this week, and I'm expecting that this new set of wheel images will show minimal additional damage.