Sols 4207-4208: Taste Of Rocky Road

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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located on the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on June 4, 2024, Sol 4205 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 22:09:26 UTC.

Earth planning date: Wednesday June 5, 2024

Curiosity was still at the ice cream shop for planning today, with the delicious feast of rock flavours still at arm's reach and begging to be sampled. In the previous plan, one such flavour, captured in today's blog image and perhaps most analogous to Rocky Road (not only given that Curiosity drove over this rock causing it to fracture, but also arguably the appearance as well), caught the eye of the operations team. There was desire to place APXS on this target, "Convict Lake," in the previous plan but the team ultimately did not have the image data available that would permit Curiosity to safely do so at a suitably close distance for APXS. Not to be discouraged, Monday's operations team pivoted and utilized part of the plan to acquire images of Convict Lake that would enable better APXS placement in today's plan.

The required images for targeting Convict Lake (aka Rocky Road, just with a chocolate to marshmallow ratio that would leave chocolate lovers heartbroken) with APXS arrived just in time for planning today. These images made it possible to focus on the central task of today's two-sol plan: place APXS close to Rocky Road and target two areas that are specifically more "marshmallow" and less on "chocolate" (sorry chocolate fans).

In addition to APXS on Convict Lake, ChemCam also targeted Convict Lake using its laser and imaging capabilities. MAHLI returned for seconds (and thirds!), only this time pairing yet more daytime images with others taken at night while utilizing its illumination capabilities. ChemCam and Mastcam also imaged "Petes Col" and "Buckeye Ridge," with Mastcam additionally imaging "Camp Four," as well as "Ten Lakes" and "Walker Lake" a number of times over the course of the two-sol plan.

I for one am very excited about the particular offerings at his specific shop and what we may ultimately learn from our sampling. I, like APXS, may just have two scoops of ice cream tonight myself, perhaps even following in MAHLI's footsteps by doing so after the sun has set when nobody else is watching (we've all done it, let's be honest). Unfortunately, I do not have Rocky Road, and I think I missed my chance to have watermelon (don't knock it until you try it!).

Written by Scott VanBommel, Planetary Scientist at Washington University



Last Updated
Jun 06, 2024

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