In a day of abbreviated activities due to timing of downlink relays, Curiosity used cameras on Sol 44 (Sept. 20) to observe early-morning atmospheric conditions, inspect a nearby rock, and image rover hardware.
The rover team has decided to edge Curiosity closer to a nearby rock called Jake Matijevic, which is likely to become the first that the rover will touch with instruments on its robotic arm. Jacob Matijevic (1947-2012) was a leading engineer for all three generations of NASA Mars rovers.
The arm was deployed on Sol 44 to take some images of rover hardware and to assess the extended arm's sag. A raw image from the Navigation Camera shows the arm's shadow on the ground near the Jake Matijevic rock. The image is at http://1.usa.gov/PDAjzm . The arm was subsequently re-stowed in preparation for a short drive to approach the rock.
Curiosity continues to work in good health. Sol 44, in Mars local mean solar time at Gale Crater, ends at 12:31 p.m. Sept. 20, PDT.