Sol 68 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Schmutz!14 October 2012
The MAHLI image of the "schmutz" in the 2nd scoop trench (at lower left in photo) shows that it is brighter than anything else in the image, but it's still not clear what it is. In case it is debris from MSL, a nearby area of the same sandy ripple will be imaged by MAHLI to determine whether similar debris is present there. If not, the plan is to scoop that target. MAHLI images of other potential scoop targets were also planned, along with Mastcam, ChemCam, and other observations. It was my last shift as ChemCam PEL, and I was glad that we were able to squeeze in another instrument characterization activity, intended to determine the best gain setting for RMI imaging. The results of this test will be used to improve the quality of future RMI images.