Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 67 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Getting the Scoop

13 October 2012

Less than half of the ChemCam data acquired on Sol 66 have been received so far, but it looks like the activities we planned before the decontamination heating went well. So we requested another titanium calibration target observation in Sol 67, and the theme groups requested a new 3x3 LIBS raster on the rock "Pearson" and 2 RMI images of the 2nd scoop trench. Initially, the RMI images were planned in the early afternoon, so that the images would be returned to Earth right away and be used to study the bright spot seen in a Right Mastcam image of the scoop trench. But concerns that the bright spot is more material shed from the flight system, and that some of this terrestrial material is in the scooped dirt, led the tactical team to decide to dump the scoop and take MAHLI images of the scoop targets first. This freed up enough time in the plan that we could combine the ChemCam observations into a single block, which we preferred to save time. Because the MAHLI images replaced the RMI images as the data needed to determine what is causing the bright spot, this change was approved. It looks we will not continue scooping activities on Sol 68, as we don't want to put any terrestrial material into CHIMRA, and certainly not in the analytical instruments!