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Sols 4025-4027: MAHLI Marathon

This image was taken by Right Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 4023.
This image was taken by Right Navigation Camera onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 4023.

Earth planning date: Friday, December 1, 2023

We have a three-sol plan today packed with many MAHLI observations! MAHLI will acquire images of the "Sequoia" drill hole, drill hole tailings, CheMin inlet, and the REMS UV sensor. APXS has a second measurement of the "Sequoia" drill tailings, offset slightly from the first tailings measurement made on Sol 4024. The plan also includes many atmospheric activities and targeted science observations.

The first sol of the plan is focused on MAHLI and APXS observations of the drill hole and drill tailings. ChemCam has a LIBS observation of "Corn Lily" (a smoother part of a block of bedrock) and a long-distance mosaic of the Kukenan butte. Mastcam will execute a diagnostic activity for the M34 filter wheel, document "Corn Lily," and perform the first of several change detection activities planned this weekend on targets "Sequoia" and "Aspendell." These change detection experiments are part of an ongoing effort to assess changes in the drill tailings and regolith near the drill hole. Navcam has a line-of-sight observation to measure the optical depth of the atmosphere and investigate the scattering properties of aerosols, followed by a dust devil movie to round out the first science block of the plan. At night, MAHLI will also image the CheMin inlet.

The second sol of the plan includes another targeted science block with a Mastcam solar tau, imagery to expand documentation of the "Sequoia" workspace, and two more changes detection observations of "Sequoia" and "Aspendell." ChemCam has an observation of a flaky piece of a vein (target "Big Pine"), and Navcam has another line-of-sight observation and suprahorizon movie. Next up, MAHLI will image the REMS UV sensor and the "Sequoia" drill tailings once more. Overnight, APXS will collect atmospheric data for about 8 hours.

On the third and final sol of the plan, ChemCam has an observation of "Bullfrog Lake" (a very light-toned bedrock target), another long-distance mosaic of the Kukenan butte, and a passive sky observation. Mastcam has another couple of solar taus, two more change detection observations that will conclude an ~25-sol experiment, and activities to document "Big Pine" and "Bullfrog Lake." Later, Navcam has a sky flats observation, a line-of-sight observation, a zenith movie, a suprahorizon movie, and a sky survey. On Monday, Curiosity is expected to drive away from the "Sequoia" drill site – the first drive in about 50 sols!

Written by Abigail Knight, Graduate Student at Washington University