Sol 2254-55, December 10, 2018, update by MSL scientist Mariah Baker: Today was one of those planning days when you realize the importance of being able to adapt quickly and think on your feet (i.e., wheels) when operating a rover on Mars. Our previous plan brought us to the Lothian E area, where we hoped to find an exposure of red Jura rock that was suitable for drilling. Unfortunately, the bedrock at this location appeared just as fractured as at the previous site, forcing the team to rethink the weekend plan.
The new possibilities included trying to drill a very small portion of the outcrop at Lothian E, do a short “bump” to another possible candidate in the near vicinity, or give up on this site and head in the direction of our long-term strategic route. Making these tactical decisions requires a lot of quick thinking; the team must weigh immediate scientific priorities with long-term goals, and must try to determine the best potential drill target with limited data. We never know exactly what we will find when we arrive at a new site, so the best we can do is use long distance imaging and lessons learned from previous sites to make an educated decision on where to send the rover next... [More at link]