Sols 2694-2695: Close to the Top!

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A short drive was planned in the previous sol to place Curiosity just below the top of the pediment. The drive went extremely well, and the workspace available for tosol’s plan is beautiful and full of tantalizing outcrops. 

Sol 2693: Mast Camera (Mastcam)

This image was taken by Mast Camera (Mastcam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 2693 (2020-03-04 04:45:50 UTC). Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The goal of this two-sol plan is to characterize the area just below the pediment capping unit to understand whether these rocks have a different chemistry than the rocks further away.  

Curiosity is currently sitting on a 26 degree slope, but we were still able to plan for contact science! The team selected two locations that are thought to be just below the pediment capping unit to investigate with MAHLI and APXS: “Huttons Section” and “Clach Glas.” Huttons Section was targeted by ChemCam in the previous plan and we added a Mastcam multispectral image of this target to this plan.

The plan also includes four different ChemCam targets to help characterize the variations in chemistry in this area. “Muir of Dinnett” and “Findhorn Bay” are ChemCam targets in different locations on the pediment capping unit. “Gleann Beag” was selected to be near the MAHLI and APXS target, Clach Glas. “Collieston” is targeting an area full of round nodules near the rover. Mastcam images of all the ChemCam targets are included in the plan. The Mastcam observation that includes Gleann Beag is a 7x5 mosaic that will cover the contact between the Murray Formation and the pediment capping unit. Additionally, Mastcam is taking a stereo mosaic called “Ochil Hills,” which will cover a vertical outcrop of the edge of the pediment that we have previously imaged from a different angle.  

In the second sol the plan is for Curiosity to finish the climb to the top of the pediment. The rover's current location is just below the top, so Curiosity only has a short way to go before she finishes her climb and we can start exploring the pediment capping unit. A MARDI video is planned during the drive, in which MARDI will take 12 pictures per minute looking down at the ground as Curiosity drives over the contact and onto the top of the pediment. We should have a great view awaiting us up there!  


By Kristen Bennett