Mars, Curiosity, sol 3487-3490 Up, up and away

(ORDO NEWS) — Our engineers again successfully flew Curiosity a little higher up Mount Sharp (about 5 meters) and about 40 meters away from the previous location.

The terrain below the rover was striated – it included dusty bedrock and sandy ripples with large deposits. After the trip, we selected several interesting areas in the work area for the use of the manipulator in contact science.

The rover engineers evaluated these targets before we settled on a representative area of ​​bedrock. We planned two APXS observations on the dusty rock and the cleared area.

This is also part of our systematic monitoring of rock composition with APXS every 10 meters of climb as we ascend Mount Sharp.

This is important because we are in a region that has been identified from orbit as exhibiting mineralogy and possibly environmental change in Gale Crater.

Looking beyond our immediate workspace, however, the view ahead is mesmerizing with interesting textures and structures both near and far.

Today Mastcam and CCAM RMI will get a more detailed image of the flat, darker, layered ledge in the center of the image, but shifted to the right.

The Mastcam will also take a picture of the rock to the right of the rover to document textures, structures and layering.

Once the Curiosity rover has completed all of its targeted science observations, the rover’s engineers plan to move on. This will give us a better view to plan our upcoming trips as we continue to climb Mount Sharp.

Environmental scientists have planned several observations to continue monitoring changes in atmospheric conditions and the ongoing dust storm in Gale Crater.

These include: line-of-sight images from the Navcam camera, search for a large dust whirlwind, over-the-horizon and anti-aircraft surveys; as well as basic and full tau observations with Mastcam.

After what we hope to be a successful trip, we will take pictures of the terrain under the rover’s wheels using a MARDI camera.

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