John Bridges: Mars Science Laboratory Blog
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We have found another (the 4th) meteorite. The fist sized sample called Ames_Knob - which was analysed by ChemCam - turns out to be composed of Fe and Ni metal. This iron meteorite looks like it fragmented in the martian atmosphere, producing fragments like Ames_Knob and Egg_Rock, Lebanon and Littleton. It is notably fresh and unaltered so may have fallen relative recently, within the last thousands of years perhaps.
I am Geo-Min Science theme lead for todays plan. As usual after 4 years of operations we are doing 3 sols of planning at one go. The plan will actually be executed on Mars in about a week's time.
We have recently identified some extraordinary cracking patterns in the mudstone. We hope to put APXS and the ChemCam laser on them to investigate further.
The Precipice drilling campaign has been curtailed because of a drill fault. The MSL rover engineers have been conducting a series of diagnostic tests to determine the cause and to prevent it happening again.
We have been using the opportunity to examine sand movement rates (using HazCam images) in the current martian environment.
We have started our 19th drill or scoop. Curiosity now aims to drill at regular elevation intervals (25 m) as we progress up through the Murray formation. This will give us a representative set of mineral and compositional analyses so that we can track any environmental changes.
In this HazCam image we are using the Dust Removal Tool on the robotic arm turret. This drill will also be the first where we use a different drilling technique - percussionless - as this had caused some problems in past drilling. As the Murray mudstone is soft, the rotary only action is likely to be sufficient.