Sol 523 - 525 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Heading for the Chute25 January 2014
Late yesterday, the strategic drive team decided that it would be best to head west, through the chute, because the terrain beyond appears safer for driving. So the Sol 522 drive (toward the south) was pulled from the plan and the rover stayed put. The plan for the weekend includes targeted remote sensing and contact science on Sol 523, wheel imaging and a ~24 meter drive on Sol 524, and a SAM measurement of the atmospheric composition on Sol 525. It was a busy day for me as MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead, as we considered various MAHLI activities and tried to fit them into the plan. We ended up with MAHLI images and an APXS measurement on a rock dubbed "King" as well as the usual post-drive MAHLI image from the stowed position.
The smaller rover Opportunity landed on Mars 10 years ago, and is still operating, gathering excellent scientific data. Because I was scheduled on MSL operations today, I was not able to call in to the Opportunity SOWG meeting today. But I saw a lot of good email and web traffic on the subject and celebrated with the Opportunity team members that were also working MSL operations. What an incredible mission!