Sol 765 Update on Curiosity from USGS Scientist Ryan Anderson: Feeding CheMin

29 September 2014

MAHLI image of the drill hole and tailings at Pahrump Hills.

After our successful drill last week, the main event in today’s sol 765 plan is dropping off the drilled sample in CheMin, which will tell us what minerals are in the rocks of Pahrump Hills. CheMin works by shining a beam of X-rays through the sample and recording how the X-rays reflect off of the structure of the crystals in the sample. To make sure that every possible orientation of the crystals is measured, the sample holder vibrates, causing the powdered rock to mix around in the sample cell.

The drill sample has been sieved so that only particles smaller than 150 microns will go to CheMin. The rover will dump out the particles that are coarser than 150 microns, take pictures of them with Mastcam and MAHLI, and measure their composition with APXS. Not all of the fine-grained sample will go to CheMin: some will be saved for analysis by SAM, and in case we want to re-analyze it with CheMin.

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.