John Bridges: Mars Science Laboratory Blog
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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).
We have continued with contact science at the Square Top outcrop, with its characteristic striated upper surface, before we drive up to the Kimberley location. You can see the mixture of coarse and fine-grained layers. More analyses may show if the fine-grained layers are like the mudstone we drilled at Yellowknife Bay. We have had a few issues with placing the arm but in the Navcam image you can see the APXS placed over the top of the outcrop. The closer the APXS window is to the surface of interest the better the analyses.