Curiosity reaches Naukluft Plateau


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The view from Naukluft

Apropos to my post yesterday on Curiosity’s journey on Mars, the rover this week reached the flat area the science team has dubbed Naukluff Plateau.

The Sol 1281 drive completed as planned, crossing the Murray/Stimson contact at the edge of the Naukluft plateau. Now that we have a better view of the plateau, we are ready to start driving across it. But first, ChemCam and Mastcam will observe targets “Orupembe” and “Witvlei” on the bedrock in front of the rover. Mastcam will also take pictures of the rocks in front of the rover and targets “Natab East” and “Natab West” on either side of the vehicle before the Sol 1282 drive. After the drive, in addition to the usual post-drive imaging, the Left Mastcam will acquire a full 360-degree panorama, as the view from the new location (near the left edge of the image above) is expected to be good. We are looking forward to seeing the new data!

The second link above leads to the rover’s daily update site. It was here that the science team reported an issue with the rover’s scoop back in early February. Since then, however, they have never revealed if the problem was solved. Nor have they used the scoop in any way since then. I now wonder if it is no longer operational and am considering pursuing that question a bit to find out.

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2 comments

  • mivenho

    I see a lot of sharp-edged rocks. Curiosity will need to maneuver carefully to minimize wheel damage.

  • wayne

    mivenho brings up a point:
    “…..minimize wheel damage.”

    What are the “wheels” made of? Some type of high-tech plastic / carbon fiber polymer composite, or what?
    (Website IS filled with lots-o-info, but they lack some techie-specs, or at least I couldn’t find them easily. JPL has nice website’s but I personally have trouble drilling down into esoterica.)

    Yeah Mr. Z., — what’s up with the scoop?

    I’m no engineer, but from personal real-life I’ve learned that “moving-parts” are always the weak-links in the chain. The “mean-time-to-failure” and all that…

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