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Curiosity Blog | Sols 3167-3169: Holiday, Soliday, and Preparing To Drill!

July 2, 2021

On Sol 3165 Curiosity carried out a short bump to better position the rover for drilling. The bump went well and we were excited to dive straight into planning today.


Photo from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3165.
This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3165. Credits:NASA/JPL-Caltech. Download image ›

This plan will cover four days on Earth to account for the Independence Day holiday in the U.S., but it also coincides with a “soliday” on Mars – a day without planning to allow Earth and Mars schedules to sync back up. So we still planned a typical three-sol weekend plan. Well-timed, Mars!

The plan starts by taking a 360-degree Mastcam mosaic, which will be helpful for documenting this location, identifying future targets, and looking for changes during the course of the drill campaign. Then ChemCam will investigate the target “Pontours” which we’re evaluating as the drill location (the target is in the middle of the above Navcam image). Next, we’ll brush the “Pontours” target with the DRT and use MAHLI and APXS to characterize its texture and chemistry. On the second sol we’ll conduct a drill pre-load test to make sure that the bedrock and hardware can withstand the force of drilling at this location, along with a lot of MAHLI documentation of the intended drill, dump, and portion locations. SAM will also conduct a cross-calibration activity. The third sol starts with a Navcam sky survey to look at the scattering phase functions of clouds. Later in the morning, Navcam will search for dust devils and Mastcam will monitor the dust content in the atmosphere. Then we’ll acquire a Mastcam multispectral observation of “Pontours” followed by imaging of a nearby sandy trough named “Lolme” which will be used to track movement before and after drilling. Then ChemCam will assess a nodule-rich target named “Dournazac,” to evaluate the chemistry of these diagenetic features. There were a lot of other great science observations that were suggested, but it was a challenge to fit everything in today. Looking forward to seeing the data from this new location and preparing to drill next week!

by Lauren Edgar