Sols 946-947: MAHLI mosaic
3 April 2015
The MAHLI operations team did a lot of good work preparing for Sol 946,
so I expected that it would be an easy day for me as uplink lead.
Unfortunately, a problem on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) prevented some of the data we expected to receive in time for
planning from being relayed to Earth. MRO has been very reliable in the
past and we have gotten used to receiving most of the MSL data through
MRO. Fortunately, the orbiter is recovering
quickly and should be back to normal operations this weekend. But
without some key MSL data this morning, it was more difficult than usual
to plan arm activities. Despite valiant efforts by the Rover Planners
and APXS team, a safe target for APXS placement
could not be found. The focus of the weekend plan is the outcrop at
the center of this image. But first, ChemCam and Mastcam will observe nearby targets "Elsinore"
and "Bishop" early in the afternoon of Sol 946. Then a few
reconnaissance MAHLI images of potential APXS targets and a 12-position
MAHLI mosaic of the outcrop are planned. Before dawn on
Sol 947, Mastcam will image stars in order to measure the concentration
of dust and ice in the atmosphere at night. After dawn, more Mastcam
(plus Navcam and ChemCam) observations of the sky are planned for
comparison with the nighttime measurements. Later
that morning, ChemCam and Mastcam will observe a target dubbed "White
Mountain." Only two sols are being planned because Sunday is a “soliday," a sol we skip on Mars so that we’re back in sync for unrestricted planning 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.