Sols 867-868: Mini-Drill at Mojave

12 January 2015

Crystals in Mojave


Over the weekend, Curiosity did a short drive to get into position to drill at “Mojave.”  The previously acquired MAHLI images of this target show some really interesting crystals, and we’re excited to use CheMin to figure out what minerals are present.

The main event in today’s two-sol plan is to do a mini-drill at Mojave.  Before we do a full drill deep enough to collect rock powder, we do a mini-drill in preparation.  We’ll also collect a number of MAHLI images before and after the mini-drill to characterize the drilling location.  The plan also includes some DAN observations to characterize the subsurface near this site.  Then we’ll acquire APXS of the mini-drill hole to assess the composition of the freshly exposed material.

On the second sol we will move the arm out of the way to image the hole with Mastcam, and then Curiosity will acquire a self-portrait.  We like to take these “selfies” at each of the drill hole locations to document the site, and it’s also a good way to check up on the state of the rover.  

Looking forward to more drilling on Mars!

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.