Saturday 11th August Sol 5
The software upload is going ahead as planned. This gives us a breathing space to review the images and plan ahead. The big question is how long do we delay going to the clay outcrop at the bottom of Mt. Sharp? Should we investigate parts of our landing ellipse in more detail deviating from the most direct path to the sedimentary mountain? Trouble is it will take hundreds of sols to do everything we want to do.
One of the first sample analyses within Curiosity will be a scoop of fines from the uppermost few cm of soil but first we will want to get out of the contamination zone, where the retrorockets have left ammonia and hydrazine. We could start roving within the next 10 sols.
One of the enjoyable aspects of MSL is naming things. I get ‘Torridon’ for the area I have been mapping. Thats an area in NW Scotland which has ancient redbed sediments – appropriate for Mars I think. Hopefully we can name some localities after famous Leicestershire localities at some point. However, we have to stick to the International Astronomical Union Rules of nomenclature, so the names must be of recognised formations on Earth close to a town of <100 000 inhabitants.