Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 704 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Off-Planet Driving Record

29 July 2014

I should have mentioned yesterday that the Opportunity rover recently broke the off-planet driving record that was previously held by the 1973 Lunokhod 2 lunar rover. It will be a long time before the 40-km record is broken, even at the rate MSL is moving. But Curiosity made almost 30 meters of progress on Sol 703, ending up in a location with a nice, smooth area in front of the rover, well-suited for dumping the sample from CHIMRA. But, as shown in the same Front Hazcam image, the right front wheel is again perched on a rock, so there was a lot of concern about stability during arm activities. This made planning complicated, as we had to prepare contingency activity plans while rover stability was evaluated. Ultimately, the result of the slip risk assessment process was that arm activities were approved, and we plan to dump the sample on Sol 704. As MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead again today, I focused on the plan for MAHLI imaging of the dump location before and after dumping the sample. ChemCam and Mastcam observations of nearby rock targets Thimble and Resting Spring are planned after the APXS is placed on the dump pile

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.