Sols 1852-1853: Feeding SAM some sand20 October 2017
MSL drove over 20 meters on Sol 1850, to an area with lots of bedrock exposed. We had several nice targets to choose from, but were limited in what we could plan because we want to prepare for a SAM evolved gas analysis (EGA) of sand from "Ogunquit Beach," which requires significant power. We are planning only 2 sols today, to get synced back up with "Mars time" on Monday, so will not be driving this weekend.
Despite the power constraints, we were able to plan a lot of activities today. Sol 1852 will start with Navcam searches for clouds and dust devils, followed by Mastcam mosaics of the expected path ahead (southward). Then ChemCam and Right Mastcam will observe bedrock target "Balfour" and a block named "Ripon." Late that afternoon, MAHLI will acquire a full suite of images of Balfour before APXS is placed on it for an overnight integration. We considered brushing Balfour before examining it with MAHLI and APXS, but to save time/power we decided not to. The ChemCam laser often cleans dust off of the surface of rock targets, so we're hoping that will suffice on Balfour.
On Sol 1853, the long-awaited drop-off of Ogunquit Beach sample to SAM is planned! This activity was delayed by the drill anomaly and the testing that followed, so we are excited to be planning it today. If all goes well, the SAM EGA will be planned on Monday.
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.