After a successful 13 meter weekend drive, Curiosity finds itself in the middle of "Marker Band" valley. The underlaying bedrock has changed dramatically over the last week, from dark and nodular to light-toned and relatively smooth. This area has been of interest to the science team since Gale crater was first selected as the landing site, 10 years in the making!
The orbital mineralogical information suggests the presence of Mg-sulfate bearing rocks in this area. Today's two sol plan provides our first opportunity to measure the dust-free chemical composition of this new type of bedrock with our APXS instrument, the team chose the target "Micobie."
In addition to Micobie, MAHLI will image "Jacamim," another bedrock target. We'll also take a ChemCam LIBS measurement of the bedrock target "Jacamim." These measurements will help place our orbital measurements into local context and help us piece together the story of how the chemical composition of Mt. Sharp has changed over its history.
Beyond studying the local bedrock, we are taking advantage of the fantastic 360 degree view around us to image exposures of the marker band on top and west of the "Bolivar" butte, as well as the stratigraphy expressed on the "Orinoco" and "Kulenan" buttes using Mastcam and ChemCam.
We will also continue our regular cadence of environmental monitoring measurements.
Our drive will take us another 14 or so meters into Marker Band valley as we investigate how the orbital indicator of Mg-sulfate is expressed in the bedrock at the rover scale over the next week.
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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