Taking a Rain Check – NASA Mars Exploration

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on October 12, 2023, Sol 3975 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission.

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity acquired this picture utilizing its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), positioned on the turret on the finish of the rover’s robotic arm, on October 12, 2023, Sol 3975 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS. Obtain picture ›

Earth planning date: Friday, October 13, 2023

It has been an thrilling week in house – Conor already talked about the information from OSIRIS-REX on Wednesday and simply earlier than I logged on for my shift this morning the Psyche spacecraft launched. However the week is not over and weekends on Mars have plenty of room for pleasure.

Wednesday’s pre-drilling exams on track ‘Sequoia’ (proven within the picture above) principally went easily, however the preload take a look at failed. That meant we would have liked to make a slight adjustment, transferring the drill goal a pair centimetres. Even such a slight change meant we needed to redo drill sol 1 – no drilling for us this weekend. As a substitute we’ll be attempting once more on Monday on a barely new goal, ‘Sequoia 2.’

This jogged my memory a little bit of the Psyche launch. It was initially deliberate for the 12th, however climate situations meant the launch was delayed. It is not climate delaying us, however we’re nonetheless taking a rain test on drilling. We’re no strangers to issues getting shuffled round and moved again – Curiosity simply needed to readjust its place to achieve our present drill goal. I even began penning this weblog all prepared to speak about drilling this weekend! Of the various issues I’ve discovered from Curiosity over time, it is the right way to react to adjustments. Finally, taking the weekend to redo drill sol 1 will imply that we’re in a good higher place to drill subsequent week.

The weekend is not fully given over to evaluating our new drill goal although. That will likely be finished on the second sol, which is kind of a repeat of Wednesday’s drill goal characterisation with APXS and MAHLI (however no DRT). The opposite two sols have lots to occupy our rover as effectively. Navcam and Mastcam are beginning photometry experiments, which have a look at how mild scatters off the floor at completely different instances of sol. 4 of those experiments are deliberate for the weekend, with extra to come back within the following sols. The primary sol additionally sees ChemCam and Mastcam inspecting a close-by block, ‘Gray Cross,’ in addition to a Mastcam photo voltaic tau.

The third sol sees a pleasant lengthy science block, with a 360 diploma mud satan survey and a suprahorizon cloud film in addition to ChemCam LIBS on one other block ‘Bubbs Creek’ and a protracted distance mosaic on Kukenan. A bit later within the afternoon we’re additionally getting a cloud altitude commentary, which lets us use cloud shadows to estimate cloud altitudes. We’re shortly approaching the tip of the cloudy season on Mars, so it is at all times nice once we can get some cloud watching in. We get up early on our remaining morning for our weekly morning ENV block, the place we do some extra cloud watching (zenith and suprahorizon films and a part operate sky survey) in addition to some mud characterisation with one other Mastcam tau and a 4×1 Navcam line of sight commentary.

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