Sol 2156 August 30, 2018, update by MSL scientist Abigail Fraeman: After an extremely productive couple of weeks, we are finishing up our work at Stoer! We’ll take some quick ChemCam and Mastcam observations of the tailings dump pile tosols before packing up and starting our drive up the ridge towards our next drill location. As we leave Stoer, I’d like to take some time to share the story of how and why we came to drill this particular location.
We first attempted to drill Vera Rubin Ridge back on sol 2112 at the “Voyageurs” target. However, the drill made only a few millimeters of progress into that target before stopping because the rate of downward progress was so slow. The drill itself performed exactly as it was designed but the Voyageurs rock was simply too hard! It was pretty interesting from a science perspective to see this result, but it also meant we had to work quickly to figure out a plan B.
The science team agreed it was scientifically important enough to get a drill sample from the lower part of Vera Rubin Ridge that we should try again. But how could we improve our chances of finding a rock that would be softer and easier to drill than Voyageurs? It was time to think like geologists… [More at link]