Sols 1330-1331: Characterizing the next drill site2 May 2016
Over the weekend, Curiosity completed the drilling investigation at Lubango, and we drove ~13 m to the “Ovitoto” area (note that this area is only ~4 m away from Cubango as the crow flies, but it took some maneuvering to get there). This area is composed of typical unaltered Stimson bedrock, which we’ll use to compare to the altered bedrock at Lubango.
I was on duty as GSTL today, and we put together a full plan of contact science to characterize the next potential drill site. The two-sol plan starts with a ChemCam observation of “Okoruso,” followed by MAHLI of the same site. ChemCam LIBS shots tend to blow away a lot of dust, so this will create some nice clean spots for MAHLI to observe grain-scale properties. The “Okoruso” target will then be brushed off with the DRT, and we’ll acquire MAHLI and APXS on the same spot. We’ll also do a preload test to prepare for drilling on Wednesday. Early the next morning, Curiosity will acquire several Navcam and Mastcam observations to monitor the atmosphere and search for dust devils. These activities will be coordinated with REMS monitoring at the same time. In the afternoon of the second sol we have a targeted science block, with ChemCam observations of “Omatako” and “Kombat” to investigate variations in composition near the drill site and another alteration zone. Looking forward to more drilling on Wednesday!
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.