by Catherine O'Connell-Cooper| Planetary Geologist - UNB
Pasadena CA (JPL) Mar 17, 2023
Today, we finally leave Tapo Caparo and begin something new. But... actually, we are not going very far. Whilst sitting at Tapo Caparo, we spent some time looking around at the neighbourhood using Mastcam and ChemCam imaging. Not too far away, we spotted a workspace that includes two types of bedrock - a finely laminated bedrock (which is what we just drilled) and some bedrock with abundant nodules but apparently no laminations. This might mark a transition from one unit to another, so today we planned a drive over to that area in order to get this workspace into our weekend plan.
Today's plan is therefore a Touch and Go plan, doing the very last contact science on our wish list and then moving on. APXS will analyse a float rock ("Tucupita") which was previously analyzed by ChemCam, who will use LIBS to look at another float ("Uaimiti") for comparison. As the MAHLI team acquired images of Tucupita (shown above) in Monday's plan to facilitate APXS placement today, they are able to fit it in a MAHLI-only target, looking at another float stone ("Tamanaco") which is slightly closer to the rover.
As we have been here for several sols, we have already imaged the buttes around us with Mastcam and the ChemCam long distance imager (RMI), but once we leave, obviously the view will change. So, before we leave, we will get one final set of images from this viewpoint of the "Chenapau" butte (Mastcam) and a large channel feature further afield (RMI). As ever, the ENV theme group continues their monitoring of environmental conditions in Gale. Navcam will complete a dust devil (wind vortice) survey, and Mastcam will look at dust in the atmosphere (tau measurement).
It will be good to be back on the road, even if we are just heading further along the Marker Band. The Marker Band (including this drill site) has been the site of lots of exciting science, some of which was presented this week at a special session at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference ("LPSC") in Texas, marking our ten years of active roving in Gale. However, there is so much amazing data and images to work on from the Marker Band, we will be talking about for many years to come!
Full photo caption
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 March 14, 2023, Sol 3769 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 20:37:16 UTC.
When this image was obtained, the focus motor count position was 13019. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also tells whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean the dust cover was closed; values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the motor count can in some cases be used to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and target.
For example, in-focus images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the target have a motor count near 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the target, the motor count is near 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of about 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95, and 113.
Most images acquired by MAHLI in daylight use the sun as an illumination source. However, in some cases, MAHLI's two groups of white light LEDs and one group of longwave ultraviolet (UV) LEDs might be used to illuminate targets. When Curiosity acquired this image, the group 1 white light LEDs were off, the group 2 white light LEDs were off, and the ultraviolet (UV) LEDS were off.
Curiosity Mars Science Laboratory
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
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