Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 2223: Optimism for “Highfield”

6 November 2018

Sol 2222 Navcam of Highfield

On Sol 2222, Curiosity drove ~10 m towards the “Lake Orcadie” location, in the hopes that we would be able to drill the gray Jura member here.  Today’s plan is focused on characterizing the target “Highfield,” the bright patch of outcrop shown in the middle of the above Navcam image.  I was the SOWG Chair today, and it was a pretty straightforward planning day because most of the activities were pre-planned as part of our standard drill site characterization.  First APXS will carry out a short integration on the intended drill target, followed by two MAHLI images.  Then we’ll use the DRT to brush the target, followed by Mastcam imaging and a full suite of MAHLI images.  Then we’ll do a drill pre-load test, which means that we’ll put weight on the drill bit to make sure the surface can support it, and if it makes marks on the surface this might give us an indication of how hard or soft the surface is. Overnight, we’ll acquire a longer APXS integration on “Highfield.”  We were pretty tight on both power and data volume today so it was a bit of a challenge to prioritize everything, but we’re optimistic that this will be our chance to sample the gray Jura member.  I’ll be on duty again tomorrow, so I’m eagerly awaiting our downlink and hoping that we’ll be “go” for a full drill hole here!

By Lauren Edgar

--Lauren is a Research Geologist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center and a member of the MSL science team.

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.