In the current parking position, we have entered a new quad of the map, the Bishop quad named after the small town of Bishop. Bishop lies in the shadow of California's Sierra Nevada mountain range, and is the starting point of many trips into the high Sierras from the east. That means, we have a large range of new names themed after the Sierras at our disposal. Curiosity will take an APXS and MAHLI image of the target we named "Mosquito Flat."
It is a rock with an interesting dark feature, which will complement the observations on the lighter toned bedrock Curiosity targeted in the past plans. ChemCam is targeting a diagenetic feature with its LIBS on a target called "Chocolate Peak" (nothing to do with the state of my computer keyboard, I promise, as this name refers to the 11,682 foot Chocolate Peak in eastern Sierras). ChemCam also looks at the Gediz Vallis Ridge with a long distance RMI observation. ChemCam also has an AEGIS LIBS observation in the sol after the drive.
Mastcam has a multispectral observation of the DRT spot at "Mosquito Flat" in the plan, a documentation image on "Chocolate Peak" and two larger mosaics. One is directly to the starboard side of the rover to investigate all the laminations and diagenetic features we see in the area around us, and one on the Gediz Vallis Ridge, which continues to be an intriguing target that we learn more about as we get more images.
Atmospheric observations with a focus on the opacity of the atmosphere as well as DAN looking at the subsurface and a MARDI image round off the plan. Have fun on the rocky road, Curiosity.
Sols 3946-3947: Onwards to Bishop
by Lauren Edgar, Planetary Geologist at USGS Astrogeology Science Center
Pasadena CA (JPL) Earth planning date: Monday, September 11, 2023: Curiosity is making good progress towards our next potential drill location in a region of alternating light and dark banding. Before we get there, we're collecting a lot of great contact science on these blocks of broken up bedrock to document compositional and textural changes. Today's two-sol plan includes contact science and driving on the first sol, followed by untargeted remote sensing on the second sol.
I was on shift as SOWG Chair today, and it was a remarkably smooth day of planning - I love it when the plan comes together so well and fits within our power, data, and time of day constraints while accomplishing some great science. The plan starts by using the DRT to expose a fresh surface at the bedrock target "Antikythera," followed by APXS to assess its chemistry. Then we'll use ChemCam and Mastcam multispectral to collect some additional chemistry observations on the same target.
The team also planned several Mastcam mosaics at "Delphi," "Mycenae," and "Zagori" to assess the local bedrock and some resistant fins, and to document a nearby ripple field with an edge-on view of the bedform crests. We'll also use the ChemCam RMI to acquire a long distance mosaic looking back towards Peace Vallis, and take a Mastcam tau observation to assess atmospheric opacity. In the afternoon, MAHLI will image the DRT target "Antikythera," followed by a ~26 m drive and imaging to prepare for the next plan. The second sol includes an autonomously selected ChemCam target, and Navcam observations to assess dust in the atmosphere and search for dust devils.
The planned drive should put us in a new mapping quadrangle, informally known as the Bishop quad. Our informal naming convention is to divide up the exploration region into square quadrangles (0.025 degrees of latitude or longitude on a side) and each quad is assigned a name of a town with a population less than 100,000 people. As Curiosity investigates targets within a quad, we assign names to targets that correspond to geological formations and features from near that town on Earth. Bishop California is located in Owens Valley, and is the starting point for trips into the High Sierra, including some awesome geology. It feels like a fitting name for the next part of Curiosity's ascent of Mt. Sharp!
|Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters|
Two Russians, American reach space station
NASA joins the still controversial search for UFOs
Rockets and Porsches: rich Russians flock to Baikonur spaceport
Soyuz hatch opens, Expedition 69 expands to 10 crewmates
Marcus Wandt will fly to International Space Station on third Axiom Space mission
SpaceX launches 22 Starlink satellites in 65th mission of 2023
NASA approves crew for Axiom's third private mission to space station
Mini space thruster that runs on water
Dusty Skies in the Cloudy Season: Sols 3950-3952
Sols 3948-3949: A Rocky Road, or Two!
Another Martian Weekend" Sols 3943-3945
Sols 3936-3939: Double the Fun
Tianzhou 5 spacecraft burns up on Earth reentry
Crew of Shenzhou XV mission honored for six-month space odyssey
China solicits names for manned lunar exploration vehicles
From rice to quantum gas: China's targets pioneering space research
Intelsat delivers new reliable broadcast connectivity service|
Germany blocks full Chinese takeover of satellite startup
Successful entry into service of Eutelsat Hotbird 13F and 13G satellites
Sidus Space announces 180-Day extension on NASDAQ minimum pricing
China builds new radio telescope to support lunar, deep-space missions
Skyloom and Satellogic sign agreement for Multipath Optical Comms Data Transmission
GMV tests robot for assembly and maintenance of structures in Earth orbit
Sidus contracts with HEO for non-Earth imaging payload data services
Exoplanet with a large iron core adds to puzzle of how planets form
Webb discovers methane, carbon dioxide in atmosphere of K2-18 b
Alleged bodies of 'non-human beings' shown in Mexican Congress
On the road to spotting alien life
Possible existence of Earth-like planet predicted in Outskirts of Solar System
SwRI will lead Hubble, Webb observations of Io, Jupiter's volcanic moon
In the service of planetary science, astrophysics and heliophysics
Mysterious Neptune dark spot detected from Earth for the first time
|Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters|