Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 129 update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Contact Science

16 December 2012

We have been waiting for the remaining soil sample in CHIMRA to be dumped before the arm instruments can be fully used again. The Sol 128 plan included cleaning the sample out of CHIMRA and taking Mastcam images to confirm that the cleaning was successful. If that went well, we could plan "contact science" with the arm on Sol 129. But the confirming data would not be analyzed until the beginning of the SOWG meeting, so we had to formulate contingency plans while we waited for the go-ahead for contact science. This made for a difficult planning day for the team. As SOWG Chair, I had to make quick decisions and rush through the meeting, but I was happy with the plan when we were through. We got the word that CHIMRA was clean a bit earlier than expected, and proceeded to plan observations of 2 targets in front of the rover with APXS and MAHLI. We also planned ChemCam and Mastcam observations, plus DAN active neutron spectroscopy in our new location.