Curiosity Mars Rover: New Terrain to Investigate

Curiosity Entrance Hazcam Proper A photograph taken on Sol 2316, February 10, 2019.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now performing Sol 2317 duties.

“Curiosity is driving throughout the clay-bearing unit, which remains to be a really new terrain with many particulars but to be understood,” reviews Susanne Schwenzer, a planetary geologist at The Open College, Milton Keynes within the U.Ok. “The area is roofed in little pebbles – and has numerous small sand patches, too, each of which we proceed to research.”

Curiosity Navcam Proper A picture acquired on Sol 2316, February 10, 2019.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltec

Little additional north

A latest drive by the robotic moved it a bit of additional north – to be actual, Curiosity drove 95 toes (39 meters from its final location.

“The parking location offered us with the identical pebbly-strewn floor as earlier than, with the occasional small sand characteristic,” Schwenzer provides. With this terrain being new, and a few small-scale sedimentary options noticed by the eagle-eyed sedimentologists on the workforce, there was a choice to make use of Curiosity’s Chemistry and Digicam (ChemCam) on three pebbly targets, “Dauntless,” “Otter,” and Thistle.”

Curiosity ChemCam Distant Micro-Imager picture taken on Sol 2316, February 10, 2019.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

Giant pebble

The workforce additionally discovered – for the primary time on this new unit – a pebble massive sufficient to get a full Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) raster on one steady piece of rock.

“Sure, that is how small the pebbles are! We used the chance, named the goal “Emerald,” and investigated it utilizing a Three-spot APXS raster, accompanied by [Mars Hand Lens Imager] MAHLI observations on this goal.

Explains Schwenzer: To place all of the small items into context, scientists deliberate a big Mastcam multispectral raster investigation masking the workspace in entrance of the rover, and together with the targets “Dauntless,” “Faoilean” (a sand patch), and the APXS goal “Emerald.” That plan additionally covers a number of the sedimentary particulars that have been noticed within the put up drive imaging. Two additional Mastcam observations goal aeolian options (goal “River Brora”) and a small ridge forward of the rover, named “Osprey.”

Curiosity Navcam Left A picture taken on Sol 2316, February 10, 2019.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Declining mud occasion

Mars environmental researchers included atmospheric opacity measurements with each Mastcam and Navcam, in addition to cloud remark films and a dust-devil survey within the weekly morning suite.

Curiosity Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) produced on Sol 2316, February 10, 2019. MAHLI, positioned on the turret on the finish of the rover’s robotic arm.
Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“Now that the regional mud occasion has declined,” Schwenzer factors out, “we’re seeing an uptick in mud devils!”

A rover drive is focused in direction of a small outcrop – the most important piece of steady rock up to now seen within the new terrain.

“Go, Curiosity, geo-minded Earthlings will like to get shut and private to an outcrop quickly once more!,” Schwenzer concludes.

Credit score: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

New street map

In the meantime, a brand new Curiosity traverse map by means of Sol 2313 has been issued.

The map exhibits the route pushed by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity by means of the 2313 Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars (February 08, 2019).

Numbering of the dots alongside the road point out the sol variety of every drive. North is up. The size bar is 1 kilometer (~zero.62 mile).

From Sol 2311 to Sol 2313, Curiosity had pushed a straight line distance of about 127.94 toes (38.99 meters), bringing the rover’s whole odometry for the mission to 12.53 miles (20.16 kilometers).

The bottom picture from the map is from the Excessive Decision Imaging Science Experiment Digicam (HiRISE) in NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Curiosity Mars Rover: New Terrain to Investigate