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December 7, 2022

The weekend drive went well and Curiosity is back on top of the marker band, investigating some intriguing, rippled bedrock. We’re assessing whether we want to drill at this location, based on what we see in the chemistry data.

This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3672
This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3672. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›


So today’s two-sol plan is devoted to collecting data from APXS and MAHLI (supplemented by ChemCam and Mastcam) to evaluate the bedrock in our workspace, as seen in the  Navcam image (left). The target of interest is the bright rippled bedrock slab in between the shadow from the arm and the shadow from the mast in that image.

I was on shift as LTP today, and it was fun to think about the possibility of drilling here, and what our options would be if we decide not to pursue that. The team put together a lot of great activities to characterize this block and the surrounding area. First we’ll use the DRT to brush off a clean surface at a target named “Amapari.” Then APXS will do a short integration to provide data down in time for planning on Wednesday. ChemCam will assess the chemistry of the darker crest of a ripple at “Trovao” and Mastcam will collect a stereo mosaic over the workspace. Mastcam will also document the morphology of some nearby ripples, and take a multispectral observation of the DRT target “Amapari.” Later in the afternoon, MAHLI will image “Amapari” and another ripple crest named “Orocaima.” Then APXS will acquire two longer nighttime integrations on those targets. The second sol includes ChemCam LIBS on “Amapari” as well as a long distance RMI to assess an inverted channel. The plan also includes several environmental monitoring activities to search for dust devils and monitor the opacity of the atmosphere. Can’t wait to get the data down and hopefully plan our next drill!

Blog by Dr. Lauren Edgar, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center.

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