(ORDO NEWS) — Curiosity completed its afternoon trip by parking just meters from the high western face of Maria Gordon Canyon. While this location gives us a spectacular view of the layers, veins, and nodules visible on the side of the rock, it was actually chosen to support the Curiosity neutron spectrometer experiment, DAN (Dynamic Neutron Albedo).
DAN can measure the amount of hydrogen around the rover. The instrument is sensitive to the environment around Curiosity, although usually the only interesting characteristic comes from the ground below the rover, where the instrument can detect water associated with hydrated minerals.
Parking next to Maria Gordon Canyon gives us an exciting opportunity to get important information with the help of DANboth from the surface and from the wall next to the rover, which will help us improve our understanding of DAN data throughout the mission.
We’re actually going to measure a large area of the cliff with DAN at three different positions: our current parking lot and two more planned for today’s trip. The ride will place Curiosity perpendicular to the cliff and then parallel again, but a little closer than we are now.
In addition to DAN experiments, we will also collect standard APXS and MAHLI observations on two pebbles in front of Curiosity, one with pits (Helens Bay) and one without pits (Lakeheads), as well as conduct ChemCam observationsfor Orlock Ridge and Hailes Quarry. And, of course, since we are in such an amazingly picturesque place, we will definitely be shooting many, many mosaics with the Mastcam during the day.
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