Exploring the Serene Martian Landscape: Highlights from Sols 3919-3920

Mars Rover Curiosity is nearing the Gediz Vallis Ridge, a fascinating geological feature that has been a topic of discussion since the rover’s landing over 11 years ago. The ridge, which marks a contact between the underlying “sulfate unit” bedrock and the overlying ridge, is finally within reach. This marks an exciting milestone in Curiosity’s journey, as it has traveled over 30 kilometers to get here.

The upcoming stop at the base of the ridge will allow the scientists to conduct contact science on the darker boulders and rocks scattered across the ridge unit. These rocks are believed to be from the ridge itself, providing valuable insights into its composition and formation. Additionally, this location will provide excellent viewsheds for imaging further up the ridge.

Although some technical difficulties with the rover’s wheels have caused the team to keep the arm stowed in today’s plan, they remain optimistic and determined to reach the Gediz Vallis Jackpot in a couple more sols. In the meantime, the team has planned a packed schedule of scientific activities to make the most of their current position.

The Mastcam will capture images of the current workspace and the nearby area, focusing on the layering within the bedrock. It will also examine two specific float rocks, “Psychro Cave” and “Syros,” using multispectral imaging and documentation images. The ChemCam, on the other hand, will conduct a long-distance image of a larger boulder called “Foinikas,” known for its interesting texture. Additionally, an AEGIS image of the post-drive workspace is planned.

In terms of environmental observations, the Mastcam will take a pair of tau images to measure dust levels in the atmosphere. The Navcam will capture several movies, including a cloud shadow movie, zenith movie, and two suprahorizon movies. Furthermore, a large dust devil survey is also scheduled.

Curiosity’s upcoming drive will cover around 24 meters, bringing it closer to the Gediz Vallis ridge rocks. The anticipation among the team is palpable, as they can almost “smell” the geological bliss that awaits them.

As Curiosity continues its mission on Mars, the discoveries and insights gained from the Gediz Vallis Ridge will undoubtedly contribute to our understanding of the Red Planet’s geological history. Stay tuned for more updates as Curiosity ventures further into this Martian rock paradise.