Sol 1311: Take Me To Fracture Town

13 April 2016

Navcam view toward large fractures seen from orbit

Today I was on duty as KOP again, but we got to sleep in: we started at 7 am instead of 6:30!

Curiosity is in good shape and our drive was successful. In the Sol 1311 plan, we have ChemCam observations of the targets “Garnet Koppie”, “Amspoort”, “Soutrivier”, and “Uubvley”. Garnet Koppie and Amspoort will allow us to compare the composition of a bright fracture halo and the nearby bedrock, Soutrivier is targeting a small white vein, and Uubvley is a fin of material sticking up near a large fracture. ChemCam also has a long distance RMI observation of the Peace Vallis channel off to the north. We talked a lot about possible places to image with Mastcam, but decided that we will have a better view of everything of interest after another drive or two, so Mastcam just has documentation images of the ChemCam targets.

After the targeted observations, we have a short drive to put the rover in a better position to see the terrain in front of it. This will allow us to drive into the area with large fractures visible from orbit, which we have started informally calling “Fracture Town” but which will probably get a more official name soon.

The plan finished with some early morning atmospheric observations on Sol 1312, including a ChemCam passive sky observation, Mastcam observation of the amount of dust in the atmosphere, and Navcam movies to watch for clouds.

by Ryan Anderson

-Ryan is a planetary scientist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center and a member of the ChemCam team on MSL.

Dates of planned rover activities described in these reports are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the martian environment, communication relays and rover status