John Bridges: Mars Science Laboratory Blog
In addition to the blog, you can find some amazing videos and other content related to the mission, at:
We have been doing contact science and taking images in order to zero in on our exact drill point at Mt. Remarkable. Meanwhile, NavCam took this image (one of my favourites) looking back in the direction from which we have come. You can see the crater rim and the tracks leading from that direction to the SW and our current Waypoint. We now know that driving over the harder dark rocks can puncture our aluminium wheels, and we are conscious of potential damage as we drive. However, as you can see from these tracks the wheels remain roadworthy for Mt Sharp.
The science team is meeting at the California Institute of Technology this week. One of our tasks is to select a drill site at Kimberley.
Meanwhile we are gathering data on our location. The NavCam image shows APXS deployed. It is also a good view of the front of the rover. You can see the Observation Tray OT, where we put sieved samples to analyse with APXS and the MAHLI microimager. If we need to replace a dill bit, spares are mounted in the drill bits box DB. The environmental monitor boom REMS is also in the field of view.
Here is a NavCam image of the Kimberley, with Mount Remarkable the small hill (less than 5 m high) which we are pointing towards. The science and team and rover planners are considering where to drill on these sedimentary rocks. You can see boulders which have tumbled down Mt. Remarkable.
The inset shows part of a HiRISE image, giving an aerial view. The NavCam image is looking towards the southwest.
We have reached Kimberley and its sedimentary rocks. Now we will take more images and decide exactly where to do ChemCam, APXS X-ray spectrometry, drill and the CheMin X-ray diffraction analyses.
In this fantastic Navcam panorama you can also see Mt Sharp and the dark dunes at its base on the left (south) of this image and the hazy crater rim to the right (west).