Curiosity update: It’s always sunny in Gale Crater

tactical_team_viewing_eclipse20170821-br2Sol 1793, August 21, 2017, update by MSL scientist Abigail Fraeman: Not to be overshadowed by other goings on in the solar system today, we planned a full day of activities for Curiosity. Unfortunately, some of the arm activities and the drive we planned over the weekend didn’t execute because Mars was slightly colder than we expected, and we didn’t heat the actuators in the arm for quite long enough. Tosol we’re therefore planning to recoup the contact science observations we had planned on sandy ripples in front of the rover. We will be taking MAHLI images of targets “The Shivers,” “Trumpet,” and “Hosmer,” and also an APXS observation of Trumpet.

pinhole_curiosity_eclipse20170821-brFollowing the contact science activities, we’ll go for a drive that continues along the strategically planned route towards the area Curiosity will ascend Vera Rubin Ridge. Between the many arm activities and drive, we didn’t have time to get targeted remote sensing science in the plan, but we did plan a post-drive Mastcam clast survey, some deck monitoring, a MARDI, standard DAN and REMS activities, and a ChemCam LIBS observation of the calibration target onboard the rover. (…)

Solar eclipses happen on Mars too, although the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos are too small to completely cover the Sun like on Earth. Curiosity has had the opportunity to observe several of these awesome celestial events throughout the mission… [More at links]

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