A ‘Blissful’ Martian Rock Paradise, Straight Ahead! – NASA Mars Exploration

This Left Navcam image shows a tonal difference between lighter coloured rocks at the base of the image and darker rocks in the upper half of the image.

This picture reveals a tonal distinction between lighter colored rocks on the base of the picture and darker rocks within the higher half of the picture taken by the Left Navigation Digicam onboard NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3917. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Obtain picture ›

Earth planning day: Monday, August 14, 2023

The Gediz Vallis Ridge represents a massively attention-grabbing and enigmatic characteristic, one which now we have been speaking about since touchdown (and possibly effectively earlier than that), however one which appeared so very very distant. We’ve got been discussing science objectives and campaigns for after we attain it at our bi-annual long run planning conferences …. and each likelihood in between. But it surely has all the time felt so distant – till now! Over the previous 11 years, Curiosity has traveled 30+ km (see the interactive map right here), and the ridge is shut.

Since leaving the “Jau” crater cluster, now we have been driving to an space on the base of the ridge which seems to mark a contact between the underlying “sulfate unit” bedrock and the overlying ridge. You’ll be able to see it within the accompanying picture, with lighter colored rocks within the decrease half of the picture (the sulfate unit) and the darker rocks within the higher half (the Gediz Vallis ridge). We hope to get shut sufficient to do contact science on a few of the darker boulders and rocks scattered throughout the ridge unit, which we surmise are from the ridge itself. This cease may even present wonderful viewsheds for imaging additional up the ridge. We’re so shut, we are able to virtually style it. In truth, one in every of our geologists determined they may virtually scent the ridge from right now’s workspace – it smells like geological “bliss” in case you’re questioning!

Sadly, as a result of some unstable wheel placement, it was determined to maintain the arm stowed in right now’s plan, somewhat than danger taking it out. However that’s okay – we’re inside a few drives of hitting that Gediz Vallis Jackpot, we are able to wait a few extra sols! Within the meantime, we crammed the plan with ChemCam actions, plenty of imaging and ENV actions.

Mastcam will take additional photos of the present workspace and the “nearfield” (simply past the reachable workspace), trying on the bedrock and the darkish float stones scattered throughout it. The 5×1 “Metsovo” mosaic focuses on layering throughout the bedrock. Mastcam will have a look at two of the float rocks in additional element, taking a multispectral picture of “Psychro Cave” and documentation photos of “Syros,” which will probably be right now’s ChemCam LIBS goal. As well as, ChemCam deliberate an RMI (lengthy distance picture) on “Foinikas,” a bigger boulder on the ridge, with a extremely attention-grabbing texture, and an AEGIS picture of the post-drive workspace. After all, we’re additionally imaging the Gediz Vallis ridge. A 14×1 mosaic will have a look at the variety of the rock varieties strewn on the ridge unit.

ENV deliberate a number of actions too. Mastcam will take a pair of tau photos, to assist constrain the degrees of mud within the ambiance. There are a number of Navcam motion pictures deliberate (a cloud shadow film, zenith film, two suprahorizon motion pictures) and a big mud satan survey.

Our drive will take us about 24 metres, getting us nearer and nearer to these Gediz Vallis ridge rocks …. I can virtually scent that geological bliss myself now!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *