Astrogeology Science Center

Sol 329 Update On Curiosity From USGS Scientist Ken Herkenhoff: Twilight Wins

8 July 2013

I'm MAHLI/MARDI uplink lead today, planning Sol 329, which includes another drive toward Aeolis Mons ("Mt. Sharp"). We are planning MAHLI and MARDI images after the drive, to document the terrain in the new location. On Sol 318, we took MARDI images at various times of day to determine when to best acquire such images. The images show that images taken in twilight (right after sunset) best show details of the terrain next to the left front wheel. Because dust was deposited on MARDI's lens during landing, the contrast in MARDI images is reduced. During twilight, less light is scattered off the dusty optics.

MAHLI images of the view to the left of the rover can be acquired while the arm is stowed, by simply opening the MAHLI dust cover, taking an image, then closing the dust cover. These images include the horizon as well as terrain closer to the rover, so should be useful in documenting changes as we drive along.