Sols 908-913: Drilling Telegraph Peak and Leaving Pahrump

27 February 2015

MAHLI image of the drill hole at Telegraph Peak

It’s been a busy week on Mars, as usual! The big activity in the Sol 908 plan was drilling at the target “Telegraph Peak”. After the drilling, on sol 909 ChemCam made measurements of the targets “Tapeats” and “Humbug”, and Mastcam took supporting images of those targets. Mastcam also took images of the fresh drill hole using all of its scientific filters. 

On sol 910, ChemCam took some passive spectra of the powder generated by the drilling at Telegraph Peak, along with an RMI image of the drill hole. As the whole internet learned this week, the way your eye and brain perceive color can be misleading, so we like to use the Mastcam filters and ChemCam passive spectra to really get an accurate idea of the color of our drill tailings. ChemCam also had an observation of a gray raised ridge called “Bluff” and some fine soil dubbed “Tintic”. Mastcam helped out by taking color images of those ChemCam targets and Navcam took a routine atmospheric monitoring “movie” over Mt. Sharp. At night on Sol 910, MAHLI used its built-in LEDs to take pictures of the drill hole.

On sol 911, the rover dropped off some of the powder collected from Telegraph Peak to CheMin for analysis, and APXS had an overnight analysis of the drill tailings.

On sol 912, Mastcam will take a mosaic of some dunes in an area called “Artist's Drive” and ChemCam will zap the Telegraph Peak drill hole. It turns out that we missed the gray resistant ridge target “Bluff” from sol 910, so we will try to hit it again on sol 912.

After that, we will drive down Artist's Drive, away from the “Pahrump” area. After the drive, we will collect our standard post-drive images so we can select targets next week. On sol 913 ChemCam, Mastcam, and Navcam will make some atmospheric measurements, since we won’t have data down yet to allow for targeted observations.

by Ryan Anderson

--Ryan is a planetary scientist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center and a member of the ChemCam team on MSL.

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.