Can't Touch This: Sol 3640

mars, space, universe, can't touch this: sol 3640

We arrived at the spectacular workspace pictured above, but what made it spectacular – rocks – is what also made it tricky. Our left front wheel was propped up just enough on one of the lovely and interesting rocks to make it unsafe to unstow the arm. Thus, as Deirdra, one of my planning partners said – it felt like Mars was taunting us with some early 1990s MC Hammer.

Fortunately, the rover planners were confident in finding a way to reposition the rover to stabilize us enough to get the arm out, so that small maneuever was added to today’s plan. Our fingers are crossed we have better luck tomorrow!

While we could not apply MAHLI or APXS to the rocks ahead of us, we had no restrictions, short of overworking uplink teams, on using Mastcam and ChemCam. We took full advantage of our additional time to image our amazing surroundings. We planned a ChemCam raster along one of the notable resistant ridges that span the workspace blocks, on target “Saracura.”

We used ChemCam RMI to image a stack of the layers at the edge of the marker band, at target “Curecurema.” Layer-parallel imaging like this is a terrific way to interrogate the mechanisms that formed those layers. There were so many interesting textures on the workspace rocks that we could not help but wonder if chemistry had anything to do with them. To investigate this, we planned Mastcam multispectral observations of two targets, “Patua” and “Tucano.” Mastcam will also cover the scene with multiple large stereo mosaics.

One will capture the marker band extending away from us to the south, another will cover the workspace blocks, and a third will image blocks similar to those in the workspace, but out of reach, at target “Benevenuto.” We still managed time for a Navcam dust devil survey, and DAN passive and active measurements before and after we reposition the rover, respectively. RAD and REMS run throughout the plan.

Sol 3639: Trick or Treat! by Kristen Bennett| Planetary Geologist – USGS Astrogeology
Today’s (Nov 1) planning felt like we were trick or treating on Mars, just in time for Halloween! The image above shows part of the workspace that was revealed in front of Curiosity today. There were a variety of rocks available to look at and picking just one was very challenging! One reason why this was tricky was because none of these rocks appeared to be “in place.”

This means that the rocks in the workspace likely tumbled down from higher up a slope. It is hard for geologists to interpret the results from a rock if we don’t know the context of where it came from. Tricky! However, scientists spotted a treat in the form of in place rocks off to the right of the rover.

The team decided to prioritize driving over to those rocks so we can understand the context of the rocks we study in more detail. Before we drive off, the team decided to get a few measurements on rocks in the workspace to get a small sample of the variety we observe. We had to pick just one or two rocks to analyze – kind of like picking just one or two pieces of candy from your trick or treat bag. “Nicara” was a smooth, dust-free target that was selected for contact science (APXS and MAHLI), and “Caicubi” was a nodular rock targeted by ChemCam.

There were also several Mastcam mosaics in today’s plan, including additional imaging of the workspace to obtain higher resolution images of the variety of rocks that were present. There were also Mastcam mosaics targeting the marker band that extended away from the rover both to the south and to the north. The drive was planned along the marker band to the north, and hopefully tomorrow Curiosity will be sitting at a new location along the marker band to investigate the next treat!

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