Dark Band Drill Surprise – NASA Mars Exploration

Navcam Left image of the road behind us from Sol 4096, depicting the light and dark rock layers we’ve been driving through.

Navcam Left picture of the street behind us from Sol 4096, depicting the sunshine and darkish rock layers we’ve been driving via. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Obtain picture ›

Earth planning date: Tuesday, February 20, 2024

No time for Monday mind on a Tuesday! Following a four-day US vacation weekend, our Mars plans happen on Tuesday and Friday this week. Since I’m scheduled for Mastcam operations all week, this morning I ran my trusty script telling me how a lot Mastcam knowledge had been downlinked from the weekend. Instantly there was a thriller: Saturday’s knowledge downlinked simply nice however Sunday’s knowledge wasn’t exhibiting up. Lacking knowledge might have many causes, however the two most definitely are: one thing occurred with the rover, or one thing occurred with the info transmission between Mars and Earth. Fortunately it was shortly found to be the latter; our Payload Downlink Coordinator for in the present day tell us that our morning downlink was halted due to Earth-weather situations on the Deep Area Community station we tried to make use of. Regardless of not having the info immediately, that is all the time excellent news as a result of it means our instructions all labored and the info is on its option to Earth. We had been instructed the lacking knowledge could be out there this afternoon on the earliest, so for planning we made do with the info we had.

We did get our Mastcam arm workspace pictures down from Sunday, although, and it confirmed a brand new location at a extremely desired dark-toned rock layer. The weekend drive was profitable! It was shortly decided our wheels had been steady sufficient to unstow the arm and put weight on it (like for drilling), and since that is the nicest Gale crater terrain has been shortly the staff shortly pivoted from driving away to staying right here and attempting to drill. This plan grew to become our first of the “Mineral King” drill marketing campaign.

We saved all of the arm actions for the second sol, so we begin sol 4104 with a distant science block together with: ChemCam LIBS on “Mount Mallory,” Mastcam picture of the LIBS try, and 20 Mastcam stereo frames of the terrain surrounding us. Navcam finishes off the block with some lengthy mud satan and cloud films, not just for science but in addition to utilize the battery cost whereas we will. The second sol is run by the arm actions: a 7-image MAHLI mosaic of the Mineral King block from an angle to point out the thickness of the darkish layers, DRT on Mineral King with a full-MAHLI-suite of pictures on the dust-free space, a pre-load take a look at of the drill bit on Mineral King to check the energy of the rock (the stronger the rock, the much less seemingly it’ll fracture or shift), and at last APXS integrations within the night over the dust-free Mineral King to collect mineral composition pre-drilling. The third sol is especially a battery recharge sol, however we’re nonetheless planning a ChemCam LIBS on “Mount Carillon,” a Mastcam mono mosaic of the LIBS try and surrounding context, and plenty of Navcam mud satan films. If the pre-load take a look at on Mineral King goes properly, we is perhaps drilling this weekend!


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