Sol 880: Resuming science planning

26 January 2015

In spite of missing a command uplink due to a temporary outage at one of the Deep Space Network sites early last week, the flight software transition went well and the MSL operations team is back to planning science activities!  Lots of good observations were proposed, so many that some ChemCam and Mastcam activities had to be deleted from the Sol 880 plan to ensure that the rover batteries maintain enough charge to allow the drill-related activities planned for Sol 881.  

But Mastcam images of areas previously disturbed by the rover are planned, to look for changes caused by winds.  The focus of the Sol 880 plan is to brush a potential drill target dubbed "Mojave2" and image it with MAHLI.  The drill assembly will then be pushed against Mojave2 to determine whether the rock is thick enough to drill. 

 After sunset, MAHLI will use its LEDs to take higher-resolution pictures of the brush spot and the chunks of rock thrown out of the Mojave mini-drill hole.  Previous MAHLI images show that images taken at night often provide useful complementary information when compared with daytime images of the same target.  Finally, the APXS will be placed on the brushed spot for overnight integration. 

by Ken Herkenhoff

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.