[From Emily Lakdawalla’s blog at The Planetary Society] When I last left the rover back in September, it had just climbed onto Vera Rubin Ridge. Since then, it has slowly maneuvered southish atop the ridge, encountering colorful rocks. Progress has occasionally been interrupted by various issues (uplink failures, arm faults, short drives, et cetera) that led some team members to joke that the ridge may be cursed. Nevertheless, the rover has driven about 600 meters, delivered multiple Ogunquit Beach samples to SAM and one to CheMin, and even run its first (intentional) wet chemistry experiment.
The rover still cannot use its drill to acquire rock samples, but there is a nonzero possibility that by the next time I update you on the mission, we’ll be able to celebrate a return to drilling activity. In the meantime, Curiosity is exploring some fascinating relationships among distinctly different rock layers at the ridge top. As usual, I’m very grateful to project scientist Ashwin Vasavada for taking the time to answer my questions about what the rover has been up to lately… [More at link]