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Curiosity Mission Updates

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity acquired this image using its Right Navigation Cameras (Navcams) on Sol 2004 Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

After completing a nearly 55m drive, Curiosity found itself sitting right in the middle of the strongest spectral detection of hematite identified along its path up Mt. Sharp. This strong spectral signature is viewed both from orbit, where it was originally identified in Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer data, and from the ground in Mastcam multispectral data. While Curiosity has definitely visited some areas that have the spectral fingerprint of hematite in previous sols, this is by far the best example we've seen over the mission. The MSL science team is still trying to figure out how this mineral formed and why we're finding it where we are. Today's parking spot will likely prove key to unraveling the geologic history of the Vera Rubin Ridge, when combined with other data acquired in Gale Crater.

It was a busy day for Curiosity and the science team had a fabulous workspace to examine. Two contact science targets ("Stranraer" and "Murchison") were chosen to help examine the variability in chemistry related to different targets identified in color Mastcam data. For example, the Murchison target appears to be darker red than some of the other rocks like the Stranraer target. A unique experiment with Mastcam was designed to characterize the light scattering properties of the unit by taking 7 different observations over the course of the day. Mastcam will observe how the same spot on the surface changes its reflectivity properties with changing illumination, with the goal of providing insights into the nature of the hematite itself.

About this Blog
These blog updates are provided by self-selected Mars Science Laboratory mission team members who love to share what Curiosity is doing with the public.

Dates of planned rover activities described in these reports are subject to change due to a variety of factors related to the Martian environment, communication relays and rover status.

Contributors
Tools on the
Curiosity Rover
The Curiosity rover has tools to study clues about past and present environmental conditions on Mars, including whether conditions have ever been favorable for microbial life. The rover carries:

Cameras

Spectrometers

Radiation Detectors

Environmental Sensors

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