1st February 2018 Sol 1952 Vera Rubin Ridge and Scotland on Mars

This MastCam panorama shows a view back to our mission’s start at Bradbury Landing, 18 km distant and 330 m below our current vantage point on Vera Rubin Ridge. The team is meeting at Caltech in Pasadena to review our results at Vera Rubin Ridge and plan the next phase of driving up Mt Sharp, into the Clay-rich unit. One of the key issues is our drill, and it looks like it will be back in operation before we leave the ridge.  That’s good news because it means we can get X-ray diffraction analyses to identify mineral species – notably clay and iron oxides – and so work out why more ancient groundwater passed through this part of Mt Sharp, oxidising it in the process. The range in composition and state of hydration that clay minerals record make them essential mineralogical tools to work out the palaeoenvironment of Mars.

At the same time we are naming our rock targets with Scottish names.  My favourites so far are from the ancient Devonian lake deposits of Northern Scotland and Orkney – Caithness, Stromness, Rousay.

View from Vera Rubin Ridge, Gale Crater

MastCam mosaic of the Curiosity traverse, taken from 300 m up on Vera Rubin Ridge.

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jbridges

About jbridges

This blog is a record of my experiences and work during the Mars Science Laboratory mission, from the preparation, landing on August 5th 2012 Pacific Time, and onwards... I will also post updates about our other Mars work on meteorites, ExoMars and new missions. You can also follow the planetary science activities with @LeicsPlanets Professor John Bridges, Leicester Institute for Space and Earth Observation, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy (PS. Previous posts in this blog can be found at: http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/physics/research/src/res/planetary-science/mslblog)

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