Sampling Sequoia – NASA Mars Exploration

Mastcam image of the Sequoia drill hole acquired on Sol 3981.

Mastcam picture of the Sequoia drill gap acquired on Sol 3981. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS. Obtain picture ›

Earth planning date: Friday, October 20, 2023

The best precedence on this weekend’s 3-sol plan is the SAM preconditioning exercise. That is in anticipation of a SAM developed gasoline evaluation (EGA) of the Sequoia drill pattern subsequent week. We are going to overview the downlink from our first evening of CheMin evaluation over the weekend to make a last determination of whether or not we need to proceed with the EGA on Monday. We’re all excited to see what the mineralogy of our thirty ninth drill gap on Mars can be. We’re ~60 m greater in elevation than our earlier Ubajara drill location. Will the mineralogy of our latest drill pattern be the identical, or may there be adjustments as we climb up by means of the layers of sulfate-bearing rocks uncovered on Mount Sharp? Modifications in mineralogy might point out altering situations throughout the preliminary deposition of the sediment that contains the rock, or maybe later alteration processes. To help the upcoming, power-hungry, SAM EGA we needed to be cautious to protect energy on this weekend plan. Nonetheless, this nonetheless permitted us to pack in numerous science observations of each the rocks and terrain round us, in addition to atmospheric investigations.

ChemCam will analyze the “Fridays Folly,” “Guitar Lake” and “Wolverton” bedrock targets to research compositional variation throughout the layering current in the identical block because the Sequoia drill gap. The layers might signify among the materials sampled throughout drilling, thus the chemistry of the totally different layers can assist within the interpretation of the CheMin and SAM outcomes. We may even picture these targets with Mastcam for color documentation. In addition to firing its laser, ChemCam may even make the most of its distant imaging capabilities to amass RMI mosaics of the bottom of the close by Kukenan butte, and the crater rim. To enhance the RMI of the crater rim, a Mastcam mosaic can be pointed in the identical route. We’re additionally imaging some close by rocks with fascinating curvilinear options (“Brainard Lake”) in addition to the drill gap and drill fines with Mastcam. The drill gap commentary might help to find out whether or not wind is transferring the fines round, and with concentrating on of the fines for contact science, as soon as we’ve got completed supplying pattern to our inner CheMin and SAM devices. As an APXS staff member, I’m significantly keen to make use of the robotic arm to put APXS on the drill fines and examine their chemistry with what we measured on the floor. To seize the total context of our thirty ninth drill gap on Mars, a Navcam 360 mosaic of Sequoia and the encircling terrain may even be acquired. The terrain beneath the rover can be imaged with MARDI to search for adjustments as Curiosity is parked on this location throughout the drill marketing campaign (e.g., motion of windblown sand).

A plethora of environmental observations are additionally scattered all through the plan on totally different sols and at totally different occasions to watch adjustments in atmospheric situations. These embrace a Navcam cloud altitude commentary, a zenith film, two suprahorizon films, a line of sight scan and single line of sight picture. We may even purchase two Mascam tau observations on this plan. Normal REMS, DAN and RAD actions spherical out this 3-sol, weekend plan.

The MSL science staff are all eagerly anticipating our first peek on the mineralogy of Sequoia, which we must always obtain later at present!

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