We kicked off Curiosity operations this morning with the news that our previous drive did not complete as planned. Some of the sand in the area caused the rover to veer ever-so-slightly off course, which then caused the right side of the vehicle to just clip the edge of a large rock.
When the onboard safety check sensed the wheels were climbing a feature larger than anticipated, Curiosity stopped mid-drive to await further instructions. Fortunately, the human operators back on Earth could see there was nothing particularly dangerous about this terrain, so in today's plan, we asked Curiosity to continue towards an area in Marker Band valley that has a very different texture in orbital images.
As a result of the right middle wheel being perched on a rock (see image above), we did not want to risk shifting the rover's center of mass by unstowing the arm today. As a result, we filled the plan with lots of remote sensing observations.
We'll take a ChemCam LIBS observation of a nodule we named "Rio Negro," as well as Mastcam mosaic of cool rocks around the rover that we named "Las Lajitas," "La Esmeralda," and "Cumana." We'll also collect a long distance ChemCam RMI mosaic of another area of the marker band, and several observations to monitor the environment around us.
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Sol 3571: We'll Take a Little Bit of Everything Please!
Pasadena CA (JPL) Aug 22, 2022
Today we planned a single sol plan cramming lots of science into a small plan, before driving in the afternoon. The workspace here has flat-lying bedrock, sometimes with visible laminations or with raised ridges, with some patches of rougher textured (chaotic looking) material overlying the bedrock and lots of float rocks. So - rather than choose between them - we are doing a bit of everything! ChemCam will use LIBS to look at the composition of representative bedrock here, at the target "Buck Isl ... read more