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Scott Lever, Mission manager Mike Seibert, Mission manager Al Herrera, Mission manager
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sol 1389-1395, Dec 27, 2007: Still Grinding After All These Years

With only about a month remaining before Opportunity's fourth anniversary (in Earth years) of Mars exploration, NASA's robotic geologist is still grinding into the surface of rocks to unlock the secrets of their interior chemistry. Meanwhile, fall arrived in the southern hemisphere of Mars on Dec. 9, 2007, Opportunity's 1,378th Martian day, or sol, of exploration of the Red Planet. Ten days later, Earth made its closest approach to Mars, coming within 88 million kilometers (54.8 million miles).

Opportunity used the rock abrasion tool to bore a shallow hole into a rock target known as "Lyell_1" and then spent about 70 hours integrating data about iron minerals inside the rock using the Mössbauer spectrometer.

During integration with the Mössbauer spectrometer, the rover adds measurements in a running total, sort of like exposing film. A longer exposure builds up the light areas, improves contrast, and results in a clearer, more distinct image, whereas a shorter exposure produces an image that is somewhat underexposed, darker, and less well defined. Similarly, longer integrations with the Mössbauer spectrometer yield more distinct signatures of iron content and the chemical state of the iron.

At the end of the Mössbauer campaign, Opportunity re-positioned the robotic arm to take images of the grind hole. The rover's handlers postponed acquiring images until after the holidays. On sol 1395 (Dec. 27, 2007), Opportunity acquired a mosaic of microscopic images of the ground rock surface before placing the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on a new rock target known as "Lyell_2." The resulting 2-by-2-by-14 mosaic was a collection of microscopic images arranged side-by-side like the four windowpanes in a square window. Within each of the four panes, Opportunity took 14 microscopic images at various distances from the rock surface. Because the microscopic imager is a fixed-focus camera, this process of acquiring images at different heights enables the rover to obtain images with different focal points. Because engineers don't always know where the best focus point will be, they start high, move closer, and finish low. Ideally, the middle pictures will be perfectly focused and higher and lower images will be slightly fuzzy.

Usually, the rover takes a stack of five microscopic images. This time, however, Opportunity took one image up high, one image down low, and four images at each of the three intervening heights. The multiple images will allow image processing experts to determine a digital average and cancel out unwanted data, known as "noise" to engineers.

In addition to studies using the Mössbauer and alpha-particle X-ray spectrometers, Opportunity conducted routine atmospheric tests, acquiring so-called Tau measurements of atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera. The rover took additional panoramic camera images of the immediate area using multiple filters. By combining images taken with different filters, engineers can create both true- and false-color views.

Following is a typical sol in the life of the Opportunity rover: Each Martian day is divided into blocks of activities separated by naps. The first block, known as the "engineering block," begins when sunlight is strongest and temperatures are warmest. This is when the rover performs the bulk of the day's activities, including drives and housekeeping activities such as arm movements. After this, Opportunity takes a "nap" with no activities to allow the early afternoon sun to recharge the rover batteries.

In the late afternoon, the rover wakes up for a communication session with the orbiting Odyssey spacecraft. This period is known as the "Odyssey block" and involves "pre-Odyssey," "Odyssey," and "post-Odyssey" activities. Afterward, the rover naps or goes into a deep sleep. During deep sleep, the rover shuts off power to almost everything on board. The following morning, the rover may wake up autonomously if there is enough solar power -- this time period is called "solar array wakeup." During this block, engineers usually schedule one or two small activities, followed by another nap to recharge the batteries. If there isn't enough solar power, the rover omits the solar array wakeup block.

Finally, the rover wakes up for the daily X-band communication session with Earth. This is known as the "AM block." At this time, the rover generally does imaging activities in parallel with communications. This block ends with a so-called "handover" from the previous sol's plan to the new sol's plan.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to morning uplinks directly from Earth via the rover's high-gain antenna, evening downlinks to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter at UHF frequencies, and panoramic camera measurements of atmospheric opacity caused by dust, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1389 (Dec. 20, 2007): Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images of the turret, placed the Mössbauer spectrometer on Lyell_1, and acquired approximately 12 hours worth of data with the instrument.

Sol 1390: In the morning, Opportunity surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera. The rover restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer and spent approximately 12 hours integrating data with the instrument. Opportunity acquired a 13-by-1 mosaic of panoramic camera images of Lyell_1 and used the navigation camera to pinpoint the Sun's location in support of the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory mission. The rover went into a mini-deep sleep.

Sol 1391: Upon solar array wakeup, Opportunity monitored atmospheric dust and then monitored dust on the rover mast assembly. The rover restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer and spent about 12 hours integrating data from Lyell_1 with the instrument. Opportunity acquired a 5-by-1 tier of navigation camera images and, after communicating with Odyssey, went into a mini-deep sleep.

Sol 1392: Opportunity restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer integration of Lyell_1 and spent about 12 hours collecting data with the instrument. Opportunity acquired a 4-by-1 mosaic of images looking downslope at a target known as "Gilbert." The rover went into a mini-deep sleep.

Sol 1393: Upon solar array wakeup, Opportunity measured atmospheric dust and acquired Part 1 of a panoramic camera mosaic of foreground images. Opportunity spent another 12 hours engaged in Mössbauer spectrometer analysis of Lyell_1 and, after communicating with Odyssey, went into a mini-deep sleep.

Sol 1394: Following solar array wakeup, Opportunity monitored atmospheric dust and acquired Part 2 of the panoramic camera mosaic of foreground images. The rover conducted a survey at high Sun with the panoramic camera, restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer, and spent about 12 hours integrating data from the instrument. The rover went into a mini-deep sleep.

Sol 1395 (Dec. 27, 2007): Upon solar array wakeup, Opportunity measured atmospheric dust and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera. Opportunity swung the robotic arm out of the way of the hazard avoidance camera, acquired full-color images of Lyell_1 using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, and swung the robotic arm back into place over Lyell_1. The rover acquired stereo microscopic images of Lyell_1 and placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on Lyell_2. After communicating with Odyssey, Opportunity spent approximately 17 hours integrating Mössbauer spectrometer data from Lyell_2. The following morning, after communicating with Odyssey, Opportunity was scheduled to measure atmospheric dust and take thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1395 (Dec. 27, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry remained at 11,591.21 meters (7.2 miles).


sol 1382-1388, Dec 19, 2007: Opportunity Enjoys Ample Power ... for Now

As Martian winter deepens at Opportunity's location, solar power will slowly decrease, now that the Sun has begun to drop toward the northern horizon. The sub-solar point -- where the Sun's rays are exactly perpendicular to the rover -- passed the Opportunity site on Nov. 30, 2007 (Sol 1368). Since then, the Sun has been north of Opportunity, making the preferred tilt of the rover's solar array toward the north for maximum power production.

For the time being, Opportunity has been generating a little more than 600 watt-hours of solar power each Martian day (enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for more than six hours). Measurements of atmospheric opacity caused by dust, known as Tau, have hovered between 7.0 and 8.0, and the solar arrays have been relatively clean, with dust factors of around 0.8 (a dust factor of 1.0 corresponds to a perfectly clean array).

Martian autumn in the southern hemisphere, where Opportunity is located, began on Dec. 9th, 2007 (Sol 1378). Martian winter officially begins June 25, 2008 (Sol 1571).

Opportunity continues to study the so-called "bathtub ring," a lighter-colored layer of rock inside "Victoria Crater." The ring is believed to be the original martian surface before it was buried beneath material thrown out when a meteor crashed into the surface and formed the crater. Most of the ejecta blanket fell nearby and created a ramp that rises from the original surface to a lip around the rim. Below the lip lies the "bathtub ring." Rover science team members have subdivided this ring of rocks into three layers and nicknamed them "Steno," "Smith," and "Lyell" -- in honor of famous geologists of the 17th through 19th centuries.

Investigation of Steno, the top layer, and Smith, the middle layer, is now complete. Opportunity then drove 6.89 meters (22.6 feet) from an exposure known as "Smith_1" to a feature on the Lyell layer called "Newell." Within Newell, Opportunity has selected a new target position nicknamed "Lyell_1." It is this target that consumed most of Opportunity's attention during the past week.

Opportunity began its investigation of "Lyell_1" by taking a stereo (three-dimensional) mosaic of microscopic images. Because the terrain is rough, the rover collected more microscopic images than usual to ensure that some would be at the best focus. Opportunity then collected data from the undisturbed rock surface using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. This spectrometer provides information about the elements in the rock, from which scientists can infer the rock's chemical composition.

After that, Opportunity prepared to bore into the target with the rock abrasion tool. Because an encoder on the tool has failed, Opportunity uses a special, two-part sequence. During the first part, known as a "grind scan," Opportunity gently extends the grinding bit onto the rock. Electrical currents and switch contacts allow a fairly accurate determination of where the rock surface actually is relative to the rover. During the second part, Opportunity applies a small preload of 10 newtons (or about 2 1/4 pounds of force) to slowly push the grind bit into the rock. As the surface is worn away, the bit travels deeper into the rock.

This time, however, Opportunity had a problem with the grind scan. The grind bit seemed to come into contact with the rock several millimeters (about 1/8th inch) before it was expected to do so. Measurements indicated the bit wasn't exactly perpendicular to the rock and the side tilted toward the surface had made contact a little early.

Following further analysis, the science team decided the tool's orientation was acceptable and proceeded with the grind the following sol (Martian day). As there wasn't enough time in a single day to bore as deeply as scientists had hoped, they continued the grind the next sol. At the end of the second grind, the rover moved the robotic arm out of the way to take images of the hole with the panoramic camera. Opportunity then placed the arm back over the hole, inserted the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer in the hole, and began collecting compositional data about the interior of the rock, beneath the dust and weathered surface. Comparison of the results before and after the grind should indicate how the rock has been altered over geologic time.

Opportunity is healthy and all subsystems are operating as expected.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to morning uplinks directly from Earth via the rover's high-gain antenna, evening downlinks to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter at UHF frequencies, and standard measurements of atmospheric opacity caused by dust using the panoramic camera, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1382 (Dec. 13, 2007): Opportunity stowed the robotic arm, drove to Lyell, and acquired hazard avoidance camera images before and after finishing the drive. The rover used the panoramic camera to complete a quick fine attitude, in which the rover corrects for changes over time in the inertial measurement unit by checking the rover's precise position relative to the Sun. Opportunity unstowed the robotic arm and acquired a 360-degree panorama of images with the navigation camera. After relaying data during the overpass of the Odyssey orbiter, the rover went into a deep sleep.

Sol 1383: Opportunity took images of the sky for calibration purposes with the panoramic camera. After the overhead pass of the Odyssey orbiter, the rover went into a deep sleep. When the Sun's rays energized the solar array the next morning, Opportunity surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1384: Opportunity acquired stereo microscopic images of Lyell_1 and placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the target. After communicating with Odyssey, Opportunity spent 16 1/2 hours collecting data with the spectrometer.

Sol 1385: Opportunity acquired a mosaic of images of Lyell_1 with the panoramic camera and, after communicating with the Odyssey orbiter as it passed overhead, spent 7 1/4 hours collecting data from Lyell_1 with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover went into a mini-deep sleep.

Sol 1386: Opportunity completed a grind scan on Lyell_1 with the rock abrasion tool and acquired a mosaic of images of the target using the panoramic camera. After sending data to Odysssey, Opportunity spent 6 hours measuring atmospheric argon with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover went into a mini-deep sleep. The following morning, Opportunity took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1387: Opportunity ground into Lyell_1 with the rock abrasion tool. After sending data to Odyssey, Opportunity went into a deep sleep. The next morning, Opportunity completed "sunfind" activities -- a process of searching for the Sun to determine the rover's precise heading -- in support of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, scheduled for launch in 2009. The rover took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1388 (Dec. 19, 2007): Opportunity continued the grind into Lyell_1, swung the robotic arm out of view of the panoramic camera, and acquired images of Lyell_1 with the panoramic camera and the front hazard avoidance camera. The rover placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer back on the target and, after sending data to Odyssey while the orbiter passed overhead, acquired 16 1/2 hours worth of data with the spectrometer. The next morning, Opportunity scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1388 (Dec. 19, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was 11,591.21 meters (7.2 miles).


sol 1375-1381, Dec 17, 2007: Opportunity Maneuvers Around Steeper Slopes in "Victoria Crater"

Opportunity is now in the process of driving to the third band of light-colored rocks that circumscribe "Victoria Crater" beneath the rim. Scientists had initially planned to have the rover head directly downhill to a rock target nicknamed "Ronov," within the band known as "Lyell." They selected an alternate rock exposure, dubbed "Newell," when engineers determined that the original drive route would tilt the rover 25 degrees, somewhat higher than desired. The estimated tilt along the new route is a much gentler 20 degrees but the drive is somewhat more complex and required two days of planning.

During the past week, Opportunity completed scientific investigation of the second band of rocks, known as "Smith," with an analysis of elemental chemistry and iron-bearing minerals beneath the surface of a rock exposure labeled "Smith2." To do this, the rover collected data with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer Mössbauer spectrometer, respectively.

If next week's planned drive goes as anticipated and closer inspection of Newell deems it to be an acceptable target, Opportunity is likely to stay at the new location for several weeks collecting data. Scientists plan to have the rover conduct a complete campaign of studies with the alpha-particle X-ray and Mössbauer spectrometers, microscopic imager, rock abrasion tool, and on-board cameras.

During the planned drive, Opportunity will complete a "Get Quick Fine Attitude," a procedure for determining the rover's position relative to the changing position of the Sun. This activity recalibrates the inertial measurement unit and eliminates tiny errors that accumulate over time in pointing the antenna.

Opportunity is healthy and all subsystems are operating as expected. The latest available power readings, taken on Martian day, or sol, 1379 (Dec. 10, 2007), show solar energy levels at a robust 601 watt-hours, enough to light a 100-watt bulb for 6 hours.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to morning uplinks directly from Earth via the rover's high-gain antenna, evening downlinks to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter at UHF frequencies, and standard measurements of atmospheric opacity caused by dust using the panoramic camera, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1375 (Dec. 6, 2007): Opportunity placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on Smith2 and, after the overpass of the Odyssey orbiter, collected data with the instrument. The next morning, when the Sun powered the solar arrays, Opportunity scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1376: Opportunity conducted extensive measurements of atmospheric dust and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1377: Opportunity placed the Mössbauer spectrometer on Smith 2 and collected data with the instrument. Opportunity acquired calibration images and part 1 of a panoramic view of the rover deck that involved 23 pointings with the panoramic camera. The rover surveyed the sky at high sun with the panoramic camera and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1378: Opportunity re-started the Mössbauer spectrometer and continued data collection from Smith2. The rover acquired part 2 of a panoramic view of the rover deck, completing 24 pointings of the panoramic camera. Opportunity surveyed and took spot images of the sky for calibration purposes using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1379: Opportunity re-started the Mössbauer spectrometer and resumed data collection from Smith2. The rover then acquired part 3 of the panoramic view of the spacecraft deck, a series that entailed 29 pointings of the panoramic camera. In the morning, Opportunity scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera and monitored dust on the rover mast assembly.

Sol 1380: Opportunity scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1381 (Dec. 12, 2007): Opportunity surveyed the sky at low sun with the panoramic camera and measured argon gas in the Martian atmosphere with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover searched for clouds in the morning sky with the navigation camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1379 (Dec. 5, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry remained at 11,584.32 meters (7.2 miles), where the rover has been stationed since the last drive on Sol 1329 (Oct. 20, 2007).


sol 1368-1374, Dec 10, 2007: Opportunity Grinds into Rock in "Victoria Crater"

Opportunity spent part of the past week carefully grinding a hole into the surface of a light-colored ring of rock inside "Victoria Crater" known as "Smith," despite the previous loss of encoders that enabled two of the motors of the rock abrasion tool to operate under control of the tool's flight software. The endeavor was successful, with the rover grinding to a depth of about 1 millimeter - about the thickness of a dime - deep enough to allow measurement of the rock chemistry beneath the surface. The rover is healthy and all systems are normal.

Rover engineers devised and tested a novel approach for operating the rock abrasion tool that enabled it to locate the surface independent of the encoders on the grind and revolve motors. Opportunity implemented a "Grind Scan" procedure to find the surface on sol 1368 (Nov. 29, 2007). Two days later, on sol 1370 (Dec. 1, 2007), Opportunity ground into the surface. Though the science team originally planned to have the tool grind 2 millimeters into the surface, the contact switches that engaged when the tool was placed on the rock released, likely due to vibration under a light pre-load of the RAT against the target. This release caused the grinding to halt at half the planned depth. Images sent to Earth showed that even though the hole was somewhat unusual in appearance as the result of a bent wire brush, it was suitable for analysis using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Images of the sky taken on sol 1373 (Dec. 4, 2007) showed that some of the dust had cleared from the lens of Opportunity's microscopic imager.

Working with NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Opportunity completed the second of two communications tests verifying the relay capability of the orbiter in preparation for the Phoenix mission, now en route to Mars. The second round of testing involved the use of the Electra telecommunications package on the orbiter to measure the distance and speed of incoming spacecraft relative to Mars based on UHF radio signals and to measure the location of a landed spacecraft on the surface of Mars. Opportunity provided useful data for both measurements - using the "relative window" mode and the "fixed window" mode.

Opportunity continued to generate abundant solar power levels of 638 watt-hours, enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for more than 6 hours, measured on Martian day, or sol, 1373 (Dec. 4, 2007). Scientists planned to have the rover finish up work on Smith and then descend to the last of three light-colored rings of rock. This final ring is known as "Lyell."

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to morning uplinks directly from Earth via the rover's high-gain antenna, evening downlinks to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter at UHF frequencies, and standard measurements of atmospheric opacity caused by dust using the panoramic and navigation cameras, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1368 (Nov. 29, 2007): Opportunity completed the "Grind Scan" procedure to find the rock surface to be ground, tested UHF communications with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and acquired panoramic camera images, including part 5 of a panorama of a light-toned exposure of rock known as "Pettijohn." Upon awakening the next morning, Opportunity scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera.

Sol 1369: Opportunity took extensive measurements of atmospheric dust and searched for clouds using the navigation camera.

Sol 1370: Opportunity ground into the surface of the rock target known as "Smith2," acquired images of the sky with the microscopic imager to monitor dust on the instrument lens, and measured argon gas in the Martian atmosphere with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The next morning, the rover scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera.

Sol 1371: Opportunity acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of Smith2. The rover acquired additional images with the panoramic camera, including part 6 of the Pettijohn panorama.

Sol 1372: Opportunity surveyed the sky at high sun with the panoramic camera, took extensive measurements of atmospheric dust, scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, and took spot images of the sky to calibrate the panoramic camera.

Sol 1373: Opportunity acquired stereo, microscopic images of Smith2, surveyed the rock abrasion tool and the grinding bit with the panoramic camera, and took more full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of Smith2. Opportunity took images of the sky with the microscopic imager to characterize dust on the lens and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1374 (Dec. 5, 2007): In addition to measuring atmospheric dust, Opportunity scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera, surveyed the sky with the panoramic camera, and took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1374 (Dec. 5, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry remained at 11,584.32 meters (7.2 miles), where the rover has been stationed since the last drive on Sol 1329 (Oct. 20, 2007).


sol 1361-1367, Nov 30, 2007: Multi-Tasking Rover Supports Multiple Missions

Opportunity continues to investigate the rock exposure known as "Smith2" in the second of three bathtub ring-like layers of rock inside "Victoria Crater" as well as test communications for Phoenix, NASA's next mission to Mars. The rover is healthy and all subsystems are normal.

On Sol 1361 (Nov. 22, 2007), Opportunity performed diagnostic tests of the shoulder joint that controls side-to-side movement of the robotic arm, known as Joint 1. The joint had stalled on Sol 1359 (Nov. 20, 2007) while the rover was taking measurements with the microscopic imager. The tests revealed no anomalous readings. Opportunity acquired the rest of the microscopic images of Smith 2 on Sol 1366 (Nov. 27, 2007).

After the diagnostic tests, Opportunity studied the elemental chemistry of Smith2 with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and the composition and abundance of iron-bearing minerals in the outcrop with the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Working with NASA's Reconnaissance Orbiter, Opportunity successfully tested UHF radio transmissions in support of entry, descent, landing, and surface operations of the Phoenix mission, now en route to the red planet. On Sol 1367 (Nov. 28, 2007), the rover and the orbiter used the international standard known as the Proximity-1 protocol for spacecraft data transfers.

Phoenix is expected to arrive at Mars on May 25, 2008. Radio signals from Phoenix may also be receivable directly via the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in Virginia, the world's largest, fully steerable radio telescope.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to morning uplinks directly from Earth via the rover's high-gain antenna, evening downlinks to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter at UHF frequencies, and standard measurements of atmospheric opacity caused by dust using the panoramic and navigation cameras, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1361 (Nov. 22, 2007): Opportunity performed diagnostic tests of the robotic arm, placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the target known as Smith2, and collected 6 hours of data with the instrument. The rover went into a mini-deep sleep and upon awakening the next morning, scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1362: Opportunity placed the Mössbauer spectrometer on Smith2 and spent 10 hours collecting data with the instrument. The rover went into a mini-deep sleep and the next morning, searched for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1363: Opportunity restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer and collected 12 hours of compositional data with the instrument. The rover acquired a mosaic of images that are part of a panoramic view of a light-toned exposure of sedimentary rock known as "Pettijohn." The next morning, the rover scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1364: Opportunity restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer and collected an additional 11 hours of compositional data from Smith2 with the instrument. The rover scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1365: Opportunity restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer and collected 12 hours of compositional data from Smith2 with the instrument. The rover acquired "Part 3" of the panoramic-camera mosaic of Pettijohn.

Sol 1366: Opportunity switched tools from the Mössbauer spectrometer to the microscopic imager and acquired microscopic images looking up at the sky for calibration purposes. The rover also took external images of the microscopic imager with the hazard avoidance cameras. Opportunity then acquired stereo microscopic images of Smith2. Opportunity switched tools from the microscopic imager to the rock abrasion tool and acquired "Part 4" of the Pettijohn panorama. The next morning, Opportunity scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera, and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1367 (Nov. 28, 2007): Plans called for Opportunity to scan the sky for clouds with the navigation camera and take thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1366 (Nov. 27, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry remained at 11,584.32 meters (7.2 miles), where the rover has been stationed since the last drive on Sol 1329 (Oct. 20, 2007).



sol 1355-1360, Nov 29, 2007: Rover Perseveres Despite Stall in Robotic Arm

Opportunity spent much of the week conducting ongoing studies of a layer of rock known as "Smith," part of a "bathtub ring" of rocks that circumvent "Victoria Crater" beneath the rim. Opportunity acquired images and studied the composition and abundance of iron-bearing minerals in the rock.

During tests of the rock abrasion tool on the Earthbound engineering rover similar to the rover on Mars, engineers discovered that unbending the brush on Opportunity's rock abrasion tool may not be possible. Instead of brushing the surface of a new rock target known as "Smith2," rover handlers opted to proceed directly to grinding the rock surface during the coming weekend, on sol 1368 (Nov. 29, 2007).

On Sol 1359 (Nov. 20, 2007), a joint in Opportunity's robotic arm (Joint 1) that controls azimuth (left-right motion) stalled during the acquisition of microscopic images of the unground surface of Smith2. Plans called for the rover to acquire the rest of the microscopic images on sol 1366 (Nov. 27, 2007). After the stall, the rover acquired information about the atmosphere rather than the rock target with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to morning uplinks directly from Earth via the rover's high-gain antenna, evening downlinks to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter at UHF frequencies, and standard panoramic-camera measurements of atmospheric opacity caused by dust, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1355 (Nov. 16, 2007): Opportunity placed the Mössbauer spectrometer back on the rock target known as "Smith" and acquired data for 11 hours with the instrument. Opportunity used the navigation camera to determine the rover's attitude by looking at the sun, searched the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, and surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1356: Opportunity spent 12 hours collecting data from Smith with the Mössbauer spectrometer and acquired super-resolution images of "Cape Verde," a promontory on the rim of Victoria Crater. The rover used the navigation camera to search the sky for clouds and estimate the rover's attitude relative to the sun. Opportunity acquired super-resolution images of "Cabo Frio," another promontory on the rim of Victoria Crater, and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1357: Opportunity spent 12 hours collecting data from Smith with the Mössbauer spectrometer and used the navigation camera to search the sky for clouds and measure the rover's attitude by looking at the sun. The rover took more super-resolution images of Cabo Frio and thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1358: Opportunity spent 12 hours collecting data from Smith with the Mössbauer spectrometer and used the navigation camera to search the sky for clouds and measure the rover's attitude by looking at the sun. The rover acquired super-resolution images of Cape Verde and surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera. Opportunity scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1359: Opportunity switched to a different target of study, a nearby clean spot of rock surface nicknamed Smith2. While the rover was acquiring image mosaics of the rock target with the microscopic imager, the shoulder joint of the robotic arm stalled. The rover acquired 12 hours worth of compositional data from the Martian atmosphere with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The next morning, the rover calibrated the panoramic camera by taking images in darkness, scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera, monitored dust on the rover mast, and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1360 (Nov. 21, 2007): Opportunity acquired a mosaic of images of a target called "Paolo's Pan" with the panoramic camera and calibrated the panoramic camera by taking images in darkness. The rover scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera. The next morning, Opportunity was slated to use the navigation camera to estimate the rover's attitude by looking at the sun.

Odometry:

As of sol 1359 (Nov. 20, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry remained at 11,584.32 meters (7.2 miles).


sol 1349-1354, Nov 19, 2007: Opportunity Peers Beneath Surface of "Bathtub Ring"

Opportunity remains parked at the rock layer known as "Smith" -- part of the "bathtub ring" of rock layers beneath the edge of "Victoria Crater -- at "Duck Bay," the alcove where the rover entered the crater. During a test of the wire brush on the rock abrasion tool in a new mode of operation developed to work around recent encoder failures, Opportunity was mistakenly commanded to rotate the brush in the wrong direction. As a result, the brush appears to have been bent outward, perpendicular to the plane of rotation. The engineering team is currently testing strategies for mitigating the bent brush.

The science team's top priority is to grind deeper into Smith and collect compositional data about the rock using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Opportunity is otherwise healthy, with solar array energy levels around 660 watt-hours and atmospheric dust measurements, known as Tau, at 0.9 (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to morning uplinks directly from Earth via the rover's high-gain antenna, evening downlinks to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter at UHF frequencies, and standard panoramic-camera measurements of atmospheric opacity caused by dust, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1349 (Nov. 9, 2007): Opportunity acquired a mosaic of images of "Cape Verde" from below and a mosaic of images of Smith using the panoramic camera. The rover relayed data to Odyssey during an overnight pass of the orbiter.

Sol 1350: Opportunity completed diagnostic tests of the rock abrasion tool, measured argon in the Martian atmosphere using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, and acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of the freshly brushed surface of Smith.

Sol 1351: Opportunity acquired an image mosaic of Smith with the panoramic camera and relayed data to the Odyssey orbiter overnight.

Sol 1352: Opportunity took images of "Cabo Frio" with the panoramic camera and ran diagnostic tests of the rock abrasion tool. The rover acquired images of the rock abrasion tool with the panoramic camera and placed the Mössbauer spectrometer on Smith in preparation for measuring the abundance and composition of iron-bearing minerals. Opportunity then acquired data using the Mössbauer spectrometer. The rover took additional images of Cabo Frio and Cape Verde -- both promontories of the scalloped rim of Victoria Crater -- with the panoramic camera. Opportunity also acquired a mosaic of images of the rock layer known as "Lyell" using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1353: Opportunity continued to collect data from Smith with the Mössbauer spectrometer. Opportunity took panoramic-camera images of Cape Verde and Cabo Frio at different times of day and took spot images of the sky.

Sol 1354 (Nov. 15, 2007): Opportunity completed diagnostic tests of the rock abrasion tool with the panoramic camera and placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the external capture magnet. The rover tested UHF communications with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in preparation for next year's arrival of the Phoenix lander. Opportunity took panoramic-camera images of Cape Verde, acquired compositional data about dust particles on the capture magnet using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, and took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1354 (Nov. 15, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry remained at 11,584.32 meters (7.2 miles).


sol 1343-1348, Nov 13, 2007: Rover Finds Way to Brush Rock Surfaces Despite Setbacks

Opportunity is still parked in front of the rock layer known as "Smith" inside Victoria Crater. The rover has now lost two encoders that operate motors on the rock abrasion tool during the grinding and brushing of surfaces. Science team members and engineers have been working in test beds and computer sequencing rooms to devise creative ways of using the rock abrasion tool without the grind and revolve encoders.

On sol 1347 (Oct. 7, 2007), they achieved their goal when Opportunity successfully completed a new, seek-scan procedure. Using this technique, the rover locates a rock surface by simultaneously spinning its grind teeth and wire brush while also extending toward the rock surface. Normally, the rock abrasion tool software monitors the safe operation of the grind or brush using the two encoders, which detect stalls that can occur during grinding and encoding. In the event of a stall, the encoders measure the z-axis position (the point where the rock abrasion tool contacts the rock surface). Without the encoders, engineers must rely on current limits and contact switches to know when grind teeth come into contact with a rock surface.

Opportunity followed a command to run both the grind and revolve motors along with a parallel command to move in toward the rock surface. When the rock abrasion tool made contact with the surface, contact switches disengaged, ending the activity. The following day, sol 1348 (Oct. 8, 2007), the science team directed the rover to retract the rock abrasion tool 1 millimeter and brush the surface. The brushing proceeded as planned!

Grind testing will continue next week using a rock abrasion tool with new grind bits on a surrogate rover on Earth in preparation for grinding new targets on Smith.

Opportunity is also scheduled to test communications next week with NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This test, along with other tests conducted recently with the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter, are demonstrations of the capability to conduct UHF communications in preparation for next year's arrival of the Phoenix lander.

Opportunity's solar array energy has been approximately 670 watt-hours (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour) per sol with atmospheric dust opacity, known as tau, of 0.87.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to morning uplinks directly from Earth via the rover's high-gain antenna, evening downlinks to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter at UHF frequencies, standard measurements of atmospheric dust with the panoramic and navigation cameras, and surveys of the horizon with the panoramic camera, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1343 (Nov. 3, 2007): Opportunity ran diagnostic tests of the rock abrasion tool and collected compositional data from Smith using the Mössbauer spectrometer. The rover relayed data overnight to Odyssey.

Sol 1344: Opportunity continued to acquire compositional data from Smith with the Mössbauer spectrometer and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera. Opportunity took full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of a rock target known as "Jin," and took panoramic camera images of Smith and the rock layer known as "Lyell."

Sol 1345: Opportunity continued the compositional analysis of Smith with the Mössbauer spectrometer and monitored dust on the camera mast. The rover acquired color images using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera of a rock target dubbed "Gressly," scanned the sky for clouds, and took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1346: Opportunity ran more diagnostic tests of the rock abrasion tool, placed the Mössbauer spectrometer back on Smith, and collected 11 hours' worth of compositional data with the instrument. The rover acquired a mosaic of images of Lyell as well as spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1347: Opportunity completed a seek-scan procedure with the rock abrasion tool (during which the rover locates a rock surface by simultaneously spinning its grind teeth and wire brush while extending toward the rock surface). In addition, Opportunity took panoramic camera images of Lyell, measured atmospheric argon with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, relayed data to the Odyssey orbiter overnight, and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1348 (Nov. 8, 2007): Plans called for Opportunity to complete an encoder-less brush of the surface of Smith, acquire microscopic images of Smith, place the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on Smith, and study composition of Smith with the spectrometer. The rover was to take panoramic camera images of "Cabo Frio," a promontory at the rim of Victoria Crater. Opportunity was to acquire full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of a layered rock target known as "Brongniart."

Odometry:

As of sol 1348 (Nov. 8, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry remained at 11,584.32 meters (7.2 miles).


sol 1336-1342, Nov 12, 2007: Rock Abrasion Tool Shows Anomalous Behavior

During the past week, Opportunity continued to investigate the rock layer known as "Smith," the second of three "bathtub-ring" layers of rock inside "Victoria Crater." The vehicle is mostly healthy, except for a recent anomaly involving the rock abrasion tool.

Planned operations with the rock abrasion tool failed on Martian day, or sol, 1334 (Oct. 25, 2007), during both the calibration and grind-scan (the procedure for placing the instrument on the target). Data from the vehicle indicated unusual behavior in the encoder of the revolve motor.

On sols 1336 (Oct. 27, 2007) and 1339 (Oct. 30, 2007), the rover conducted diagnostic tests of the rock abrasion tool. Data from the actuator that makes the rock abrasion tool revolve indicated that the encoder was functioning as expected. However, the encoder for the actuator that causes the rock abrasion tool to grind has not been functioning since it failed on sol 1045 (Jan. 1, 2007). Based on the test results, the team decided to go ahead and retry the grind-scan procedure on sol 1341 (Nov. 1, 2007).

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to standard observations that included measurements of atmospheric dust with the panoramic and navigation cameras, surveys of the horizon with the panoramic camera, and transfers of data to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1336 (Oct. 27, 2007): Opportunity conducted diagnostic tests of the rock abrasion tool, placed the Mössbauer spectrometer on Smith, and acquired full-color images of a rock target known as "Walther" using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover acquired panoramic camera images of the band of rock known as "Lyell" and acquired data from Smith using the Mössbauer spectrometer. The next morning, the rover took a mosaic of images of the lower part of Lyell.

Sol 1337: Opportunity re-started the Mössbauer spectrometer for continued analysis of Smith, completed a survey of the sky at high sun with the panoramic camera, and acquired images of a rock target known as "Ronov" with the panoramic camera. The next morning, Opportunity surveyed and took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1338: Opportunity conducted diagnostic tests of the rock abrasion tool and looked for iron-bearing minerals with the Mössbauer spectrometer. The rover acquired panoramic camera images of targets called Lyell, "Lyell NorthPart2," and "Lyell SouthPart2," as well as full-color images of a rock target known as "Sorby" with all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The following morning, Opportunity surveyed and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1339: Opportunity ran more diagnostic tests of the rock abrasion tool and resumed analysis of iron-bearing minerals in Smith with the Mössbauer spectrometer. Opportunity acquired additional panoramic camera images of Lyell. After communicating with the Odyssey orbiter during its overhead pass, Opportunity surveyed the sky at low sun with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1340: Opportunity re-started the Mössbauer spectrometer for continued studies of Smith and acquired additional image mosaics of Lyell using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1341: Plans called for Opportunity to again follow the grind-scan procedure for placing the rock abrasion tool on the target. The rover was to acquire full-color images of a rock target known as "Oppel" and watch the sky for clouds. After communicating with Odyssey, the rover was to turn the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer skyward and measure atmospheric argon and watch for clouds in the sky.

Sol 1342 (Nov. 2, 2007): Plans called for Opportunity to acquire panoramic camera images of "Cape Verde," on the rim of Victoria Crater. Opportunity was then to go into a deep sleep and not conduct any science activities on the morning of sol 1343 (Nov. 3, 2007).

Odometry:

As of sol 1340 (Oct. 31, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was 11,584.32 meters (7.2 miles).


sol 1329-1335, Nov 06, 2007: Opportunity Prepares for Arrival of Phoenix While Exploring "Victoria Crater"

Opportunity is healthy and receiving an average of 685 watt-hours of energy from the solar arrays (that's enough energy to run a 100-watt lightbulb for almost 7 hours). On sol (Martian day) 1327 (Oct. 18, 2007), the rover backed away from the "Steno" rock layer inside "Victoria Crater" to move within reach of the "Smith" rock layer a few meters deeper into the crater. However, the rover terminated the drive earlier than planned when stereo images in the visual odometry system, which enables the rover to use computer smarts to compare stereo images and accurately determine the rover's location, failed to line up properly. Opportunity re-pointed the cameras, acquired new stereo images for visual odometry, and completed the drive to Smith on sol 1329 (Oct. 20, 2007).

On Sol 1330 (Oct. 21, 2007), Opportunity supported a communications test on behalf of the Phoenix mission that demonstrated that large data sequences could be sent from Earth via the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter. The test involved multiple transmissions that were reassembled successfully on board by Opportunity. The rover recognized and received all four data sequences.

On sol 1332 (Oct. 23, 2007), Opportunity began a campaign that included acquiring a stereo (3D) microscopic image mosaic of Smith as well as compositional data about the rock outcrop. The following day, Sol 1333 (Oct. 24, 2007), Opportunity took panoramic camera images of a target known as "Sharp" -- a sequence of fine rock layers -- at different times of day to determine how the images were affected by changes in illumination. The day after that, sol 1334 (Oct. 25, 2007), Opportunity completed the first of a two-step process for brushing the surface of Smith. Plans called for Opportunity to finish the brushing sequence over the weekend, on sol 1336 (Oct. 27, 2007).

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to standard observations that included measurements of atmospheric dust with the panoramic and navigation cameras, surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and transfers of data to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1329 (Oct. 20, 2007): Opportunity took pre-drive, full-color, panoramic camera images of a two-toned rock target known as "Sedgwick" as well as images of "Cape Verde," a rock promontory. The rover stowed the robotic arm and drove to Smith. Opportunity then acquired post-drive images with the hazard avoidance cameras, rearward - and forward-looking images with the navigation camera, and unstowed the robotic arm. The next morning, Opportunity took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1330: Opportunity used the navigation camera to survey surfaces in the rover's shadow to characterize the brightness of the sky as well as dust on the camera itself. After the overhead pass of the Odyssey spacecraft, the rover spent 7 hours measuring atmospheric argon using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. In the evening, Opportunity communicated with Mars Express at UHF frequencies. The next morning, the rover surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1331: After measuring atmospheric dust, Opportunity took a nap until 2:30 p.m. local Mars time. The rover surveyed the sky with the panoramic camera while continuing to monitor atmospheric dust. In the morning, Opportunity acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of iron-bearing particles accumulated on the rover's external magnets. The rover also monitored dust accumulation on the mast.

Sol 1332: Opportunity acquired a panel of stereo microscopic images of Smith, including extra images to improve the signal-to-noise ratio (eliminate random interference) resulting from dust accumulation on the microscopic imager. The rover placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on Smith, acquired panoramic camera images of a rock layer called "Lyell," and, after communicating with Odyssey, acquired data from Smith with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The next morning, the rover surveyed the sky, took spot images of the sky, and surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1333: Opportunity took panoramic camera images of both Sharp and Lyell. After transmitting data to Odyssey, the rover resumed collecting data from Smith with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The next morning, the rover took thumbnail images of the sky, spot images of the sky, and surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1334: Opportunity positioned the rock abrasion tool on Smith (the first step of the process for brushing the surface) and acquired panoramic camera images of rock targets known as "Kuenen" and "Lapworth." The next morning, the rover surveyed the sky with the panoramic camera, monitored dust accumulation on the rover mast assembly, and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1335 (Oct. 26, 2007): Plans called for Opportunity to acquire panoramic camera image mosaics of Lyell, including specific targets known as "Lyell South" and a custom mosaic of a target called "Lyell Top." The rover was also to acquire panoramic camera images of a rock target known as "Conybeare." The following morning, the rover was to take thumbnail images of the sky and survey the horizon with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1332 (Oct. 23, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was 11,584 meters (7.2 miles).


sol 1322-1328, Nov 05, 2007: Opportunity Descends Deeper into "Victoria Crater"

After successfully maneuvering into position and collecting additional scientific data from the top layer of the ring of light-colored rocks inside "Victoria Crater," Opportunity drove even farther into the crater's interior. Both "Steno," which the rover has been studying, and the next-lowest layer of light-colored rock, nicknamed "Smith," are part of a light-colored band of material that circumvents the interior of Victoria Crater partway below the surface.

Opportunity is in excellent health and has been receiving an average of 655 watt-hours per Martian day from the rover's solar arrays (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for 1 hour).

On sol 1321 (Oct. 12, 2007), Opportunity successfully stowed the robotic arm and "bumped" a short distance to a second target on Steno. At the new target, nicknamed "Hall," Opportunity acquired an extra-large mosaic of stereo (3D) microscopic images. A typical microscopic image mosaic consists of 5 to 7 frames. In this case, Opportunity acquired 18 frames at multiple focal distances to help eliminate dust in the images. Opportunity also spent 17 hours and 45 minutes collecting compositional data about Hall with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

On Monday and Tuesday, Opportunity did not have coverage from NASA's Deep Space Network of antennas and spent the time collecting remote sensing data from science targets. The rover executed two sols of "run-out," when the rover follows the same control sequence but does not conduct any new science investigations. On such occasions, the rover transmits data as usual and attempts to activate a new master sequence of instructions the following sol.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to standard observations that included measurements of atmospheric dust with the panoramic and navigation cameras, surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and transfers of data to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1322 (Oct. 13, 2007): Opportunity surveyed the grinding bit on the rock abrasion tool and acquired a 1-by-1-by-18 stereo, microscopic image mosaic of the rock target known as Hall. Opportunity collected 17 hours and 45 minutes worth of compositional data from Hall using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The next morning, the rover surveyed the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1323: Opportunity completed another survey of the sky at high sun using the panoramic camera, then scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera. After taking thorough measurements of atmospheric dust, the rover went into a deep sleep. The next morning, Opportunity took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1324: Opportunity did not conduct new science activities because the rover did not have coverage from the Deep Space Network.

Sol 1325: Opportunity did not conduct new science activities because the rover did not have coverage from the Deep Space Network.

Sol 1326: Opportunity did not conduct new science activities because the rover did not have coverage from the Deep Space Network.

Sol 1327: Opportunity acquired a mosaic of images looking up toward "Cape Verde," a promontory on the rim of Victoria Crater, using the panoramic camera. The rover acquired full-color images of Smith using all 13 filters of the camera. Opportunity stowed the robotic arm and acquired full-color images of Hall, then drove toward the layer known as Smith. Following the drive, Opportunity took images of the surrounding terrain with the hazard avoidance and navigation cameras and unstowed the robotic arm. After communicating with the Odyssey orbiter, the rover went into a deep sleep. The next morning, the rover took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera and searched for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1328 (Oct. 19, 2007): Plans called for Opportunity to acquire thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera, scan the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, and acquire data from the external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover was scheduled to take a nap until 2 p.m. local Mars time and acquire a mosaic of atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera. The following morning, Opportunity was to survey the sky with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1327 (Oct. 18, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was 11,577.99 meters (7.19 miles).


sol 1316-1321, Nov 05, 2007: Opportunity Studies Rock Composition and Changes in Atmosphere

Though atmospheric dust has returned to nearly pre-dust storm levels, Opportunity's solar arrays are still dustier than before the storm, keeping power levels about 200 watt-hours lower than pre-storm levels. Opportunity continues to generate solar power levels of more than 600 watt-hours per Martian day, or sol (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy required to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour), with the help of wind-related cleaning of the solar panels. The spacecraft is healthy.

Opportunity has been studying the so-called "bathtub ring," a light band of rock that appears to circle Victoria Crater partway below the surface. Scientists think the band may be the remains of the original surface of Meridiani Planum before a meteor blasted out the crater. The ring itself appears to have three layers, originally dubbed "alpha," "beta" and "gamma" after the first three letters of the Greek alphabet, but now renamed "Steno," "Smith" and "Lyell," in honor of pioneering geologists of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Opportunity is to complete studies of Steno after grinding a hole into the rock surface with the rock abrasion tool and acquire a final set of observations that include measurements with the Mössbauer spectrometer.

The two spectrometers on Opportunity provide different kinds of information. The alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer is a general-purpose spectrometer that helps determine the chemical composition of the rocks. The Mössbauer spectrometer is specifically designed to study iron-bearing minerals, which are abundant on Mars and give the planet its red-orange color. Both spectrometers rely on radioactive energy sources but the one in the Mössbauer spectrometer has a shorter half-life. That means it gets weaker faster. As a result, Mössbauer integrations now take longer, typically as many as 60 hours to acquire useful data. The rover acquires the observations over several sols.

To conserve battery power, which relies on sunlight as a source of energy, Opportunity sleeps at night. Opportunity happens to have a heater stuck in the "on" position that draws additional power. Mechanical thermostats added to the mission just before it was launched in 2003 prevent the heater from running during the daytime. But the heater continues to draw power at night.

Scientists plan to move Opportunity to a second spot on Steno for continued investigation. Before moving, Opportunity must stow the robotic arm. If the stow is successful, plans call for the rover to back uphill and aim high to compensate for potential slip on the steep slope of Victoria Crater before driving forward.

Plans also call for the rover to measure atmospheric argon. Argon is a trace gas in the Martian atmosphere, comprising about 1.6 percent (the bulk of the Martian atmosphere is carbon dioxide, the same gas that gives soft drinks their fizz). Argon is one of the noble gases, so named because they don't react chemically with other substances. It is always a gas. Water, on the other hand, can be a gas (water vapor), a liquid (cloud, mists, and rain), or a solid (ice, snow, sleet, and hail). Water can also bind physically or chemically to other substances in the air, such as dusts and soots, smog, and acid rain.

Because argon is always in one physical state (a gas) that is unadulterated by other substances, it can be used as a barometer. When atmospheric pressure is high, there's more argon in the field of view. When it's low, there's less argon. Measurements of the gas with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer track changes in Mar's atmospheric pressure as a result of changes in global energy flows, dust storms, and Mars' position relative to the Sun.

On sol 1320 (Oct. 11, 2007), Opportunity is scheduled to take a series of nine microscopic images within a minute or two at exactly the same spot. By adding the pixels (picture elements), engineers can reduce the amount of "noise" -- random, microscopic overexposures or underexposures -- within the image. Such noise is a constant in nature. By combining the pixels, engineers can average out the noise to reveal details and fine texture that would otherwise be obscured.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included measurements of atmospheric dust with the panoramic and navigation cameras, surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and transfers of data to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1316 (Oct. 6, 2007): Opportunity acquired stereo microscopic images of Steno, studied the rock's composition with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, and checked for drift (changes with time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1317: Opportunity acquired data from Steno using the Mössbauer spectrometer, went into a mini-deep sleep, and checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1318: Opportunity restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer for continued observation of Steno for 24 hours. The rover took thumbnail images of the sky and a mosaic of images of a target known as "Dolomieu" using the panoramic camera. The rover checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1319: Plans called for Opportunity to restart the Mössbauer spectrometer for 11 hours of observation of Steno and acquire images with the panoramic camera as well as check for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover was to wake up at 11:20 p.m. local Mars time to turn off the Mössbauer spectrometer before returning to a mini-deep sleep. The following morning, Opportunity was to take thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera and scan the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1320: Plans called for Opportunity to take microscopic images of a hole ground into the surface of Steno with the rock abrasion tool and spend 23 hours observing the same surface with the Mössbauer spectrometer. Opportunity was also slated to acquire full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of a target known as "Arduino" and survey the horizon and take thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1321 (Oct. 12, 2007): Plans called for Opportunity to stow the robotic arm, bump backward a short distance, take images with the hazard avoidance camera along the way as well as navigation camera images after the drive, and acquire panoramic camera images of the work volume reachable by the robotic arm. The rover was to acquire post-drive images with the navigation camera, unstow the robotic arm, measure atmospheric argon with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, monitor dust on the rover mast, and check for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1321 (Oct. 12, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry remained at 11,572.94 meters (7.19 miles).


sol 1309-1315, Nov 05, 2007: Rover Gets Energy Boost, Compensates for Stalled Joint

During the past week, wind-cleaning events have increased Opportunity's solar power levels to more than 600 watt-hours per sol, or Martian day (that's enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for six hours).

Opportunity is perched on the edge of "Victoria Crater" at a tilt of almost 25 degrees. The rover's handlers have been very careful about moving the robotic arm so as to avoid potentially causing the rover to slip or slide. So far, tests have shown that Opportunity is stable enough to continue using the arm, though operation was thwarted temporarily by failures of the shoulder joint motor. Engineers overcame that difficulty by increasing the electrical current to increase the torque. One theory they are investigating is that the extra load of moving the arm upslope in addition to moving the arm upward and laterally caused it to stall. Subsequent motions have been successful with the higher current.

The third try was the charm when engineers increased the current to the shoulder joint motor on sol 1311 (Oct. 1, 2007), after two stalls of the motor on sols 1307 and 1309 (Sept. 27 and Sept. 29, 2007). Opportunity was then able to complete all planned activities, particularly studies of a rock target known as "Steno," named after Danish geologist Nicholas Steno, who lived from 1638 to 1686. Steno is in the uppermost of the three rock layers that make up the so-called "bathtub ring" of light-colored rock inside "Victoria Crater."

After acquiring microscopic images and compositional data with the alpha article X-ray spectrometer, Opportunity brushed the surface with the rock abrasion tool and collected more microscopic images and compositional data using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on sol 1313 (Oct. 3, 2007).

Opportunity follows two steps for using use the rock abrasion tool to avoid potential damage to the tool. The first is initial placement; the second is operation. Opportunity completed the first step, known as a scan, on Sol 1312 (Oct. 2, 2007), and the second step, the actual brushing, on sol 1313 (Oct. 3, 2007). Scientists plan additional studies of the rock in coming sols.

Microscopic images and data from the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer enable scientists to investigate the texture and composition of the rock. Brushing enables them to clear away dust and loose material to expose the underlying surface. Grinding enables them to examine the interior of the rock before it was eroded by wind, water, heat, and cold.

When taking microscopic images, the rover generally takes stacks of pictures. To do this, Opportunity places the camera just above the target at a position predicted to have the best focus. The rover then moves the camera down slightly (typically 3 millimeters, or about 0.12 inch) to take another picture. Opportunity completes this task five times, taking images one above the other. Successive snapshots provide a sharp focus of all parts of a surface if it is uneven. Sometimes Opportunity tilts the camera slightly to change the viewpoint and create a stereo (3-D) image.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included measurements of atmospheric dust with the panoramic and navigation cameras and surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1309 (Sept. 29, 2007): Opportunity conducted safety tests of the robotic arm, acquired images of the bit (grinding surface) of the rock abrasion tool, acquired stereo microscopic images of Steno, and collected 6 hours of compositional data about the target using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover went into a mini-deep sleep. The next morning, the rover took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1310: Opportunity checked for drift (changes with time) in the miniature thermal emission spectromeer and recalibrated the panoramic camera. The rover went into a deep sleep. The following morning, Opportunity again checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1311: Opportunity completed another safety test of the robotic arm and acquired images of the bit on the rock abrasion tool. The rover spent 6 hours collecting compositional data from Steno with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The following morning, Opportunity surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera and monitored dust on the rover mast.

Sol 1312: Opportunity placed the rock abrasion tool on the surface of Steno and after transmitting data as usual to Odyssey, went into a deep sleep. The following morning, the rover acquired rearward-looking views with the navigation camera and checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1313: Opportunity brushed the surface of Steno with the rock abrasion tool and acquired stereo microscopic images of the brushed surface. The rover placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the brushed surface, recalibrated the panoramic camera, and spent 6 1/2 hours collecting compositional data with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. Opportunity went into a mini-deep sleep and the following morning, acquired a forward-looking mosaic of images with the navigation camera. The rover checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1314: Plans called for Opportunity to again place the rock abrasion tool on the surface of Steno and conduct remote sensing.

Sol 1315 (Oct. 5, 2007): Plans called for Opportunity to continue remote sensing activities.

Odometry:

As of sol 1315 (Oct. 5, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry remained at 11,572.94 meters (7.19 miles).


sol 1301-1308, Nov 01, 2007: Opportunity Studies "Bathtub Ring" In "Victoria Crater"

Opportunity is healthy, with energy levels ranging from about 450 watt-hours to 475 watt-hours (100 watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Recently, Opportunity was temporarily unable to send scientific data to Earth because the Odyssey orbiter experienced a computer crash and went into "safing" mode. While in safing mode, the spacecraft shuts off unnecessary power loads, orients itself for maximum sunlight to the solar arrays, switches to communication modes most likely to receive commands from Earth, and basically stops all unnecessary activity while waiting for the folks back home to fix it and put it back in service.

While in safing mode, Odyssey did not send communications from either Mars rover. Opportunity continued to collect as much science as possible while waiting for Odyssey to be fixed.

After Odyssey was back in service, Opportunity began making up for lost time. Following a series of "toe dips," during which the rover drove a short way into "Victoria Crater" and backed out again, then drove a little farther and backed out again, Opportunity began examining the crater's interior.

Victoria Crater is interesting because it affords a chance to study rock layers down to a depth of about 70 meters (230 feet) below the surrounding surface. The modern surface isn't the original surface -- it has been altered by an incoming meteor. When a meteor strikes, it throws up a huge amount of debris that falls back around the crater and creates an "ejecta blanket." This blanket is thickest near the crater rim and thinnest farther away from the crater.

Below Victoria's raised rim is a light-colored band nicknamed the "bathtub ring." Scientists hypothesize that this band is the dividing line between the original surface and the ejecta blanket above it. Opportunity has now reached this area -- but not without difficulty.

To reach the ring, Opportunity drove across a slope of about 25 degrees, nearly the maximum allowable tilt for the rover. The rover approached the ring on sol 1302 (Sept. 22, 2007) and then partially drove and partially slipped into closer position. On sol 1305 (Sept. 25, 2007), the rover unstowed the robotic arm and began studying the rocks that make up the top, or "Alpha," layer of the ring. Below that are two more layers, known as "Beta" and "Gamma," respectively.

Halfway through the last short drive of about 20 centimeters (8 inches), Opportunity automatically stopped when the rover violated the tilt limit. As a result, the rover drove laterally about 10 centimeters (4 inches) and then slid downslope 10 centimeters (4 inches). Subsequent analysis suggested that one of the downslope wheels rolled off a slight curb, producing a jolt that caused the rover to slip. Images showed that the rover had stopped on a hard outcrop of rock rather than sand or soil and was unlikely to slip farther.

Given the steep slope, Opportunity was extremely careful about moving the robotic arm. Before placing it on Alpha Layer, Opportunity moved the arm out, to the left, and to the right, while also checking for any vehicle motion with both the inertial measurement unit and cameras. The first rock target was dubbed "Steno."

Opportunity continued to conduct untargeted remote sensing by, among other things, measuring Tau, or atmospheric opacity, several times each Martian day, or sol. Now that the dust storms are over, the dust is settling. How fast it settles is of both scientific and engineering interest because it affects solar energy levels. Opportunity also periodically checked deposition and movement of dust on the panoramic camera mast assembly and solar arrays. This provides data for estimating wind directions and speeds, dust particle sizes, and dust composition.

Opportunity performed two "Quick Fine Attitude" checks. These are calibration activities that compensate for drift, or changes in time, in the inertial measurement unit. The unit uses gyroscopes and accelerometers to estimate the rover's motion, from which its position can be calculated. However, the gyroscopes show a slight change in attitude while the rover is still. (Older, mechanical gyroscopes drifted because of friction; newer, electronic gyroscopes drift for more complex reasons.)

The attitude checks compute where the sun should be based on the current time and the rover's movement and then compares this to the actual location of the sun in images from the panoramic camera. The difference forms the basis of the attitude correction for the rover.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included frequent measurements of atmospheric dust with the panoramic and navigation cameras, surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and checks for drift (changes with time) in the miniature thermal emission spectromeer, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1301 (Sept. 21, 2007): Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images of the foreground, checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, checked the operation of the spectrometer, and surveyed the rover's external calibration target with the spectrometer. Before going into a deep sleep, the rover surveyed the horizon at low sun with the panoramic camera. The next morning, Opportunity monitored dust on the rover mast.

Sol 1302: Opportunity stowed the robotic arm, drove toward Alpha Layer, acquired images with the hazard avoidance cameras just prior to and after completing the drive, and completed a "quick fine attitude" update to confirm the rover's exact location. The rover unstowed the robotic arm, acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera, and acquired panoramic camera images of the work volume (the area reachable by instruments on the robotic arm). After that, Opportunity went into a deep sleep.

Sol 1303: Opportunity assessed the external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, recalibrated the panoramic camera, and spent six hours measuring atmospheric argon with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover went into a mini-deep sleep.

Sol 1304: Opportunity surveyed the external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, recalibrated the panoramic camera, and went into a deep sleep. The next morning, the rover took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1305: Opportunity stowed the robotic arm, bumped (drove a short distance) to Alpha Layer, and acquired penultimate and ultimate images with the hazard avoidance cameras. The rover completed a "quick fine attitude" check, acquired panoramic camera images of the work volume, unstowed the robotic arm, and acquired post-drive navigation camera images. Opportunity recalibrated the panoramic camera and went into a deep sleep.

Sol 1306: Opportunity acquired data from the external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and recalibrated the panoramic camera.

Sol 1307: Opportunity completed a "quick fine attitude" check, conducted a safety test with the robotic arm, acquired left-eye images of the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer with the panoramic camera, and acquired stereo images of Steno with the microscopic imager. The rover placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on Steno and, after relaying data to Odyssey and recalibrating the panoramic camera, collected data from Steno with the spectrometer for 12 1/2 hours.

Sol 1308 (Sept. 28, 2007): After the usual dust monitoring and imaging activities as well as data relays to Odyssey, Opportunity went into a deep sleep.

Odometry:

As of sol 1308 (Sept. 28, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was 11,572.94 meters (7.19 miles).


sol 1282-1300, Nov 01, 2007: Opportunity Enters Biggest Crater Yet Explored on Mars

Opportunity took the first tentative steps into "Victoria Crater" after several days of maneuvering carefully to get to the crater's rim. Scientists hope to study a stratigraphic target known as the "Alpha Layer" after the rover enters the crater at "Duck Bay."

Opportunity also took stock of the effects of the severe dust storms on the rover's instruments and solar arrays. As part of a detailed self-examination, Opportunity used the hazard avoidance and panoramic cameras to take images of dust that had accumulated on the camera of the microscopic imager.

Opportunity tried to eject some of the dust from the eye of the microscopic imager on sol 1287 (Sept. 7, 2007). To do this, the rover held the robotic arm carrying the microscopic imager in front of the navigation camera, opened and closed the cover of the microscopic imager, and shook the wrist of the robotic arm. The rover then took images with the microscopic imager itself with the cover both open and closed. This exercise was similar to looking through a camera viewfinder to see if the lens has cleared. Opportunity also took diagnostic images using the navigation camera. The rover then moved the microscopic imager in front of the panoramic camera for another look at the lens from the outside. Then the rover took images of the microscopic imager with the hazard avoidance cameras. Finally, the rover returned the microscopic imager to its usual ready position.

Data sent to Earth showed the maneuvers had minimal effect.

On sol 1288 (Sept. 8, 2007), Opportunity created an unusual self-portrait using the camera of the microscopic imager. The goal of this maneuver was to get a look at the mirror inside the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to figure out why the spectrometer had been returning anomalous readings of late. Images showed that the shroud protecting the mirror of the spectrometer opened and closed as expected, eliminating mechanical failure as the likely cause of the anomalous readings. It appeared likely that the mirror itself had become coated with dust.

On Sol 1294 (Sept. 14, 2007), Opportunity's hot line to Earth, the Odyssey spacecraft, used for relaying data, went into safe mode after suffering an anomaly. Without the Odyssey downlink, Opportunity had to scale back plans temporarily. Five days later, on sol 1299 (Sept. 19, 2007), after the Odyssey flight team had determined the cause of the problem, transmissions resumed at UHF frequencies via Odyssey. Meanwhile, Opportunity maintained limited communications with Earth via X-band radio frequencies.

On Sol 1300 (Sept. 20, 2007), Opportunity's human handlers reset the rover's fault protection parameters to normal levels. Previously, they had changed the settings to reduce power consumption in the event of two kinds of anomalies known as "uplink loss" and "low power." While the dust storms were still raging on Mars, the pre-dust storm power settings would have allowed Opportunity to consume much more power than the solar arrays could produce.

Opportunity and the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft successfully tested UHF communications in support of the Phoenix lander, currently en route to Mars. Phoenix and Opportunity use the same kind of UHF radio, and Mars Express will provide backup relay services for Phoenix.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included frequent measurements of atmospheric dust with the panoramic and navigation cameras and surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1282 (Sept. 2, 2007): Opportunity acquired part 1 of a panoramic view (self-portrait) of the rover's deck and, after the overpass of the Odyssey spacecraft, recalibrated the panoramic camera. The rover conducted a survey of the horizon and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera. The following morning, the rover took images with the microscopic imager while the dust cover was closed.

Sol 1283: Opportunity moved the robotic arm to place the microscopic imager in view of the hazard avoidance and panoramic cameras and took snapshots of the boresight of the microscopic imager. The rover also acquired a side view of the microscopic imager using the panoramic camera. The rover took images of the surroundings with the rear hazard avoidance cameras and recalibrated the panoramic camera. The following morning, the rover took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1284: Opportunity acquired part 2 of the self-portrait with the panoramic camera. The rover recalibrated the panoramic camera, took images with the microscopic imager with the dust cover still closed, and took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1285: Opportunity drove west away from Victoria Crater, then south along the rim to the ingress point. The rover acquired image mosaics with the navigation and panoramic cameras and recalibrated the panoramic camera. The next morning, Opportunity completed a horizon survey and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera. The rover monitored dust on the rover mast assembly.

Sol 1286: Opportunity drove about 25 meters (80 feet) to a stand-off position near the ingress point into Victoria Crater. After measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, the rover drove south about 25 more meters (80 feet) and acquired image mosaics with the navigation and panoramic cameras. The rover recalibrated the panoramic camera. The next morning, Opportunity took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1287: Opportunity performed a dust dump with the microscopic imager and then returned the instrument to a modified ready position. The following morning, the rover conducted a horizon survey and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1288: Opportunity took images of the shroud on the microscopic imager, checked for drift (changes with time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired microscopic images of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to find out if the shroud protecting the spectrometer was in fact opening. The rover recalibrated the panoramic camera and acquired thumbnail images of the sky.

Sol 1289: Opportunity drove to the lip of Victoria Crater, to a place known as "Paolo's Perch." There, the rover acquired image mosaics with the navigation and panoramic cameras and, after the overpass of the Odyssey orbiter, recalibrated the panoramic camera. In the morning, Opportunity surveyed the horizon and took spot images of the sky.

Sol 1290: Opportunity measured albedo (surface reflectivity), took thumbnail images of the sky, and completed a survey at high sun with the panoramic camera. The rover recalibrated the panoramic camera. In the morning, Opportunity monitored dust on the panoramic camera mast assembly.

Sol 1291: Opportunity completed a "toe-dip" into Victoria Crater, driving forward a short distance and then backing out again. Opportunity took post-drive images with the panoramic camera and recalibrated the panoramic camera. The next morning, the rover took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1292: Opportunity spent the day doing remote sensing. The rover completed a survey at high sun with the panoramic camera, scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, took thumbnail images of the sky and mid-day measurements of dust with the panoramic camera, recalilbrated the panoramic camera, and measured atmospheric argon with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The next morning, the rover surveyed the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1293: Opportunity drove into Victoria Crater and took post-drive images with both the navigation and panoramic cameras. The rover recalibrated the panoramic camera. The following morning, the rover took thumbnail images of the sky.

Sol 1294: The rover spent most of the day engaged in remote sensing activities. These included surveys of the ingress point into Victoria Crater, measurements of the external calibration target, acquisition of panoramic camera images of the foreground, and acquisition of an image mosaic with the navigation camera. Opportunity was unable to communicate with Odyssey when the orbiter went into safe mode. Opportunity recalibrated dust measurements by the panoramic camera.

Sol 1295: Opportunity acquired full-color images in search of clouds using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover was still unable to communicate with Odyssey. Opportunity measured atmospheric argon with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The next morning, Opportunity acquired an image mosaic with the navigation camera, monitored dust on the rover mast, and acquired measurements of a sand patch with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1296: The rover did not complete a planned drive because of disrupted data downlinks to Earth via Odyssey. Instead, the rover collected more remote sensing data. In the morning, the rover took thumbnail images of the sky while continuing to monitor atmospheric dust as usual with on-board cameras.

Sol 1297: In addition to remote sensing activities, Opportunity measured the spectral characteristics of the external calibration target. The rover recalibrated the panoramic camera and took thumbnail images of the sky.

Sol 1298: Opportunity drove toward the bright layer known as Alpha Layer within Victoria Crater. After measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, Opportunity drove farther into Victoria Crater. The rover acquired a mosaic of post-drive images with the navigation camera and a mosaic with the panoramic camera. Opportunity recalibrated the panoramic camera. The next morning, Opportunity checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1299: Opportunity completed a right-eye survey of the ingress path into Victoria Crater with the panoramic camera and took panoramic camera images of the foreground. The rover meaasured the external calibration target with the thermal emission spectrometer. Opportunity then completed a left-eye survey of the ingress path with the panoramic camera. The Odyssey orbiter resumed communications. Opportunity recalibrated the panoramic camera and checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1300 (Sept. 20, 2007): Opportunity and Mars Express successfully tested communications in support of the Phoenix mission. The rover reset fault protection parameters at normal levels and surveyed the external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Opportunity recalibrated the panoramic camera and took spot images of the sky.

Odometry:

As of sol 1298 (Sept. 18, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was 11,568.22 meters (7.19 miles).


sol 1274-1281, Sep 20, 2007: 'Shaking' Off the Dust and Getting Back to Work

The skies continue to clear over the Opportunity site, and the dust is falling from both the sky and the rover. The last week was dedicated to evaluating the payload and assessing dust accumulation on the instruments. Fortunately, the solar array energy has improved to over 350 Watt-hours for the last four sols. This has given the vehicle enough power to support two alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integrations and two Mars Express UHF overflights.

The team began a campaign to recalibrate the panoramic camera tau observations used to measure the level of atmospheric opacity. The recalibration sequences are designed to run at various times of day to get the sun at different angles in the sky. Each sequence has custom exposure durations and color filters tailored to the intended time of execution.

As the team saw last week, the instruments on the robotic arm turret collected a substantial amount of dust during the storm. There are two main concerns: dust inside the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and dust under the microscopic imager dust cover. On Spirit, dust managed to somehow find its way under the microscopic imager dust cover, so engineers are handling the dust-covered turret on Opportunity with care.

Twice in six sols, the team used the front hazard avoidance camera (and the panoramic and navigation cameras) to image the microscopic imager with the dust cover closed. There were two drives between each set of imaging and there is noticeable cleaning between the two. The first of several sky flats images taken with the microscopic imager (dust cover closed) came down today. Preliminary analysis indicates little to no dust on the lens or dust cover. Next week, the team will determine if it is safe to open the dust cover and take images to see if any dust is on the lens itself.

The first of two alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integrations was received on the ground today and the initial analysis shows little to no dust contamination. Argon peaks are just as large as before, but additional integrations are necessary to complete the analysis. In the meantime, the team modified the robotic arm ready position to face the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer in towards the vehicle's warm electronics box. The hope is that this will prevent any dust from collecting inside.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Each sol contained: navigation camera tau at the start of the plan and a Mars Odyssey downlink in the afternoon.

Sol 1274: On this sol, the panoramic camera tau measurements were recalibrated. The team moved the robotic arm to place the microscopic imager in view of appropriate cameras for the following images: front hazard avoidance camera of the microscopic imager bore-sight, panoramic camera of MI bore-sight, panoramic camera of microscopic imager side view. Opportunity then finished work with the arm to move to modified ready position with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer pointed towards the rover. More recalibrations of panoramic camera tau measurements were done before and after the Mars Odyssey pass. Finally, a panoramic camera image of rock target 'Mango' was shot.

Sol 1275: The vehicle remained in place due to a sequencing error that precluded the robotic arm from stowing before the planned drive. The uplink team corrected the logic error, and the rover resumed driving at the next opportunity on sol 1278. After the Odyssey pass, more tau recalibrations were conducted. The panoramic camera was also used to survey the horizon and image the sky.

Sol 1276: This sol was used to recharge. Some panoramic camera recalibrations were conducted.

Sol 1277: More panoramic camera tau measurement recalibrations began this sol. Afterwards, the robotic arm was moved into position to take a panoramic camera image of the microscopic imager from a side view. The panoramic camera took images of the sky. After the Odyssey pass, a tau measurement was taken and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was integrated for four hours. There was a Mars Express UHF pass and then Opportunity took a mini-deep sleep.

Sol 1278: The first part of this sol was used for more panoramic camera tau recalibrations and panoramic camera mast assembly ("head" and "neck") dust monitoring. The panoramic camera was also used to image the sky. Another recalibration took place before the rover stowed its arm and drove 1.43 meters (4.7 feet) using visodom (visual odometry software) on its closest approach toward the crater rim. Opportunity then conducted post-drive navigation camera images. After the Odyssey pass, more panoramic camera recalibrations were conducted.

Sol 1279: On this sol, the microscopic imager, navigation camera and panoramic cameras were all used to image the sky. More recalibrations were conducted before and after the Odyssey pass. The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was integrated for 5.5 hours.

Sol 1280: A panoramic camera tau recalibration was conducted in addition to a panoramic camera tau measurement. The navigation camera took an image. The panoramic camera used its 13 filters to image a bright ripple. Before and after the Odyssey pass, more recalibrations took place.

Sol 1281: The first part of this sol was used to conduct a panoramic camera tau recalibration, to monitor dust on the panoramic camera mast assembly and to image the sky with the panoramic camera. The panoramic camera then imaged "Duck Bay." Before and after the Odyssey pass, more recalibrations were conducted.

Odometry:

As of sol 1279, Opportunity's total odometry is 11,483.39 meters (7.14 miles).


sol 1256-1265, Aug 23, 2007: Brightening Skies Bolster Opportunity

Opportunity is healthy and remains perched near the rim of "Victoria Crater." The rover was on a low-power schedule that alternated between a 3-sol plan and a 4-sol plan.

Tau (atmospheric opacity) has begun to stabilize this week at around 3.7, resulting in solar array energy between 230-240 watt hours. Therefore in the upcoming week, the team will return to nominal planning.

The rover conducted a lot of what engineers call "runout science." This includes: panoramic camera wide-range tau measurements, navigation camera tau measurements, navigation camera cloud measurements, panoramic camera soria (imaging a rough, rocky area near the rover), front hazard avoidance camera images, rear hazard avoidance camera images, navigation camera images, panoramic camera sky spot, panoramic camera dust monitoring on the mast, miniature thermal emission spectrometer target calibration and panoramic camera high-sun surveys.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1256: Opportunity conducted one hour of runout science.

Sol 1257: On this sol, the rover's activities included the following: uplinked on high-gain antenna, panoramic camera wide-range tau, navigation camera tau, navigation camera bitty cloud, panoramic camera soria, front hazard avoidance camera images, rear hazard avoidance camera images, navigation camera images, panoramic camera wide-range tau, panoramic camera horizon survey, panoramic camera calibration target, mast dust monitoring, miniature thermal emission spectrometer calibration target and panamoric camera high-sun survey.

Sol 1258: Opportunity conducted 45 minutes of of runout science.

Sol 1259: On this sol, the rover did 30 minutes of runout science and completed a UHF data downlink.

Sol 1260: Opportunity conducted 45 minutes of runout science.

Sol 1261: Opportunity's activities included the following: uplink on high-gain antenna, engineering navigation camera tau, panoramic camera wide range tau, panoramic camera soria calibration target, front hazard avoidance camera images, rear hazard avoidance camera images, navigation camera images, panoramic camera high-sun sky survey, pancam wide range tau and UHF downlink.

Sol 1262: The rover did 30 minutes of runout science and completed a UHF downlink.

Sol 1263: Opportunity conducted 45 minutes of runout science.

Sol 1264: On this sol, the rover's activities included the following: uplink on the high-gain antenna, engineering navigation camera tau, panoramic camera wide-range tau, panoramic camera soria calibration target, front hazard avoidance camera images, rear hazard avoidance camera images, panoramic camera sky thumbs and panoramic camera wide-range tau.

Sol 1265: 45 minutes of runout science and UHF downlink.

Odometry:

Opportunity's odometery is 11,462.94 meters (7.12 miles) as of the last drive on sol 1232.


sol 1220-1225, July 13, 2007: Opportunity Waiting for Dust to Settle

Due to extensive dust storms in Mars' southern hemisphere causing record atmospheric opacity levels, Opportunity is currently experiencing its lowest power levels to date. The tau measurement as of sol 1225 is 4.12, resulting in a mere 280 watt-hours of array energy. A tau measurement of 5.0 would result in approximately 150 watt-hours. If tau begins to approach 5.0, the team will have to begin deleting communications windows in order to conserve energy and keep from draining the batteries.

On sol 1223 Opportunity successfully recovered from the robotic arm joint stall that occurred on sol 1217.

When the dust settles, Opportunity will drive approximately 30 meters (98.4 feet) south along the edge of "Duck Bay" to position itself at its "Victoria Crater" entry point!

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to Opportunity's daily communications activities, the rover conducts: morning direct-from-Earth uplink over high-gain antenna, evening downlink relay with Mars Odyssey over UHF...

Sol 1220: The rover conducted atmospheric dust monitoring observations with the panoramic camera and then conserved power.

Sol 1221: The rover conducted atmospheric dust monitoring observations with the panoramic camera and then conserved power.

Sol 1222: The rover conducted atmospheric dust monitoring observations with the panoramic camera and then conserved power.

Sol 1223: On this sol, Opportunity used its microscopic imager, then retracted its robotic arm. This action was confirmed with the rover's navigation camera. The rover then closed the microscopic imager dust cover and confirmed this step with the navigation camera. Diagnostic testing on the arm stall were conducted.

Sol 1224: The rover conducted atmospheric dust monitoring observations with the panoramic camera and then conserved power.

Sol 1225: The rover conducted atmospheric dust monitoring observations with the panoramic camera and then conserved power.

Opportunity's total odometry is 11,424.67 meters (7.1 miles) as of sol 1225.


sol 1200-1205, June 15, 2007: Observing 'Duck Bay'

Right now, Opportunity is safely perched on "Cape Verde" and is observing "Duck Bay" from above. The rover drove four out of the last five sols, covering 196.44 meters (644 feet). The fifth and final D-star (drive software) checkout step ran successfully on Opportunity on sol 1200. The dynamic path planner added in the latest flight software version is now ready for use.

On sol 1204, the post-drive robotic arm unstow stopped short of completion due to an excess attitude change. The actual attitude change fell well within the 5-degree limit and is consistent with a robotic arm unstow activity. The engineering team traced the miscalculation to a possible bug in the flight software and a full investigation is underway.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Each sol contains: panoramic camera tau measurement and miniature thermal emission spectrometer mini sky observation and long ground calibration during the engineering block; pre-Odyssey panoramic camera tau and miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and long ground calibration during the Odyssey pass. Drive sols contain robotic arm stow and unstow before and after the drive.

Sol 1200: On this sol, Opportunity drove about 60 meters (197 feet), then executed the fifth and final D-star checkout. After the drive, the rover took a post-drive panoramic camera tau measurement.

Sol 1201: After solar array wakeup, Opportunity's panoramic camera conducted a sky survey. The rover then drove 12.36 meters (41 feet) using autonav. After the drive, Opportunity took images with its navigation and panoramic cameras. After the Odyssey pass, the rover conducted an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration as part of an Argon experiment.

Sol 1202: In the morning of this sol, Opportunity's panoramic camera took thumbnail images of the sky. The rover then drove 41.56 meters (136 feet) toward Cape Verde, conducted a quick fine attitude update (to confirm its exact location) and did post-drive imaging.

Sol 1203: On the morning of this sol, the rover took navigation camera images in the rearward direction and conducted a miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground observation. The navigation camera then had a look for clouds and the panoramic camera also surveyed the sky. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer did a sky and ground observation in the morning as well. The rover then drove 66.23 meters (convert) to a stand-off point near Cape Verde. After the drive, Opportunity took post-drive images with its panoramic, hazard avoidance and navigation cameras.

Sol 1204: After solar array wakeup, the rover's panoramic camera conducted a 13-filter systematic foreground survey. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer performed a sky and ground observation. The rover then drove south 7.84 meters (26 feet) onto Cape Verde to image the first eye of a stereo image of an area in the middle of Duck Bay. After the drive, Opportunity took images with its panoramic, hazard avoidance and navigation cameras.

Sol 1205: In the morning of this sol, Opportunity's miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a sky and ground observation. The panoramic camera surveyed the horizon. The rover also took images with its hazard avoidance camera and finished up the long baseline stereo image it began the sol before.

Opportunity's total odometry as of sol 1204 is 11,369.33 meters (7.06 miles).


sol 1194-1199, June 7, 2007: Checking Out New Driving Capabilities

Opportunity is healthy and continues to circumnavigate "Victoria Crater" back toward "Duck Bay."

On sol 1194, Opportunity performed a Visual Target Tracking (VTT) technology checkout (drive software) on a target called "Paloma." This VTT checkout tested VTT in combination with other drive software, Autonav and Visodom. The first segment was a blind (no Autonav or Visodom) VTT drive to back away from the target. The second segment combined VTT and Visodom to drive towards the target. The third segment combined VTT and Autonav to continue driving towards the target.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1194: Opportunity took a tau measurement then had a look at the sky and ground with its miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover then stowed its arm and conducted a test of its new drive software, VTT (visual target tracking). The VTT drive checkout was about 6.8 meters (22 feet). Post-VTT drive, the rover took navigation camera images of its tracks then drove about 30 meters (98 feet) and unstowed its arm. After that drive, the rover took navigation camera images and a post-drive panoramic camera image in the drive direction. Before the Mars Odyssey pass, the rover took another tau measurement. During Odyssey's pass, the rover again used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer to look at the sky and ground

Sol 1195: On the morning of this sol, Opportunity took thumbnail images of the sky with its panoramic camera. The rover then did a tau measurement and followed that with an observation of the sky and ground by the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1196: Opportunity took a morning panoramic camera image of the horizon. The rover then took a tau measurement and used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer to observe the local sky. Opportunity then stowed its arm, drove and then unstowed its arm. After the drive, the rover took navigation and panoramic camera images. Before the Odyssey pass, the rover took a panoramic camera image. During the Odyssey pass, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer had a look at the sky and ground.

Sol 1197: In the morning of this sol, Opportunity monitored for dust. Some regular checks were completed on the much-used miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Opportunity took a tau measurement and then used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to look at the sky. The panoramic camera then looked at the local foreground using all 13 of its filters. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer also had a look at the foreground and, again, at the sky. The panoramic camera did a sky survey at midday.

Sol 1198: On this sol, Opportunity took a tau measurement, then calibrated its miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover then stowed its arm, drove and took images with its hazard avoidance cameras. Opportunity then unstowed its arm and took post-drive navigation and panoramic camera images. During the Odyssey pass, Opportunity conducted a routine utility test on its miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1199: Opportunity's miniature thermal emission spectrometer took a sky and ground observation. The panoramic camera took a tau measurement. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer continued a day of hard work, completing a systematic ground stare and a 7-point sky and ground observation. The panoramic camera also conducted a systematic ground survey of the local area using its 13 filters.

Opportunity's total odometry as of sol 1197 is 11,108 meters (6.90 miles).


sol 1171-1177, May 25, 2007: Opportunity Studies Rocks Representative of Crater Wall

Opportunity is healthy and continues to circumnavigate "Victoria Crater" back toward "Duck Bay." While stationed at the "Madrid/Guadarrama" outcrop on the "Cape of Good Hope," Opportunity has been studying a cobble with unusual spectral characteristics as measured by the panoramic camera.

The cobbles appear to be similar to two rock faces, nicknamed "Madrid" and "Guadarrama," exposed in the wall of the crater. Because the crater walls are hard to reach, scientists hope to get an idea of their composition by examining similar cobbles nearby. These rocks have different color properties from other materials seen at Victoria Crater and are believed to be crater ejecta. They are chock full of "big blueberries" -- small, round rocks.

On the rover's 1,172nd sol, or Martian day (May 11, 2007), Opportunity performed a thermal inertia experiment on a soil target to complete measurements inside and outside of the dark streaks on the northern side of the crater. This experiment measured temperature-related properties of the soil.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1171 (May 10, 2007): Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images of Guadarrama and Madrid and stowed the robotic arm. The planned drive to a cobble called "Pedriza" ended prematurely after about 0.86 meters (2.8 feet) when Opportunity's left middle wheel snagged a rock. The rover unstowed the robotic arm, acquired post-drive navigation camera images, and measured atmospheric argon with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. Opportunity scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1172: In the morning, Opportunity surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera. The rover acquired panoramic camera images of targets known as "Cercedilla" and "Fuenfria" as well as Guadarrama. The rover studied Cercedilla as well as the rover's own external calibration target and another target known as "Navacerrda" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images of Guadarrama, searched for clouds with the navigation camera, and studied thermal inertia of soil during the day and overnight.

Sol 1173: Opportunity started the day with continued studies of thermal properties of the soil. Then Opportunity stowed the robotic arm, completed the previously planned drive, and unstowed the robotic arm. The rover acquired navigation camera images to the front and to the rear following the drive. Opportunity measured atmospheric dust levels at sunset and scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera.

Sol 1174: Opportunity spent the day acquiring detailed scans of the sky, ground, and rover mast with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and measuring atmospheric dust. The rover also scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1175: In the morning, Opportunity took panoramic camera images of the sky. The rover stowed the robotic arm, inched backward toward Cercedilla, acquired panoramic camera images of Cercedilla, and unstowed the robotic arm. Opportunity acquired navigation camera images after the drive and surveyed targets known as "Cardosillas," "Quintanar," the rover's external calibration target, "Machotas," and "Hierro" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover surveyed the sky at low sun and acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1176: Opportunity searched for morning clouds with the navigation camera and acquired stereo microscopic images of a particular exposure of Cercedilla known as "Penota." The rover placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on Penota, surveyed Hierro with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera in support of observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover surveyed targets known as "Matabueyes," "Morcuera," "Carpetanos," and "Somosietta" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Opportunity then proceeded with alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer observations of Penota.

Sol 1177 (May 17, 2007): Opportunity monitored dust on the rover mast, conducted a seek/grind procedure with the rock abrasion tool, and acquired post-drive images as well as images of Mataueyes, Morcuera, Carpetanos, Somosierra, and Pedriza with the panoramic camera. The following morning, the rover was to acquire thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1177 (May 17, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was 10,791 meters (6.71 miles).


sol 1164-1170, May 24, 2007: Opportunity Turns Up the Amps

Opportunity's electrical supply returned to levels not seen since the rover first arrived on Mars. Peak electrical current from the rover's solar arrays climbed above 4.0 amps and remained there for most of the week as a result of three recent dust-cleaning events. The last time electrical current reached similar levels was on sol 18 (Feb. 10, 2004)!

Meanwhile, Opportunity is healthy and continues to circumnavigate "Victoria Crater" back toward "Duck Bay." On the rover's 1,163rd sol, or Martian day of exploration (May 2, 2007), Opportunity drove 90 meters (296 feet). The following sol the rover drove toward the rim of "Cape of Good Hope" to acquire high-quality, super-resolution images of the western face of "Cape St. Vincent." These images will enable scientists to better characterize detailed cross-bedding in the lower stratigraphic unit.

Opportunity also successfully tested a new procedure for using the rock abrasion tool to grind and seek a surface of scientific interest. At a rock target known as "Viva La Rata" ("Long Live the Rat"), the rover used software to bypass a check that was causing the grind encoder to fail. Because the RAT can no longer find the rock surface by seek/scan, the rover used the grinding motion to do a "grind/scan." On sol 1166 (May 4, 2007), Opportunity performed a successful grind/scan to find the target surface. Then, on sol 1168 (May 7, 2007), the rover used the rock abrasion tool to brush Viva la Ratta.

On sol 1169 (May 8, 2007), Opportunity postponed a planned drive to study some cobbles because of a joint 1 stall that occurred while stowing the robotic arm before the drive. This stall was similar to previous joint 1 stalls. On sol 1170 (May 9, 2007), Opportunity reached its destination, an outcrop known as "Madrid/Guadarrama."

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1164 (May 3, 2007): Opportunity stowed the robotic arm, drove approximately 15 meters (49 feet) onto "Cape of Good Hope," acquired hazard avoidance camera images just before and after the end of the drive, and unstowed the robotic arm. The rover acquired a 3-by-1 mosaic of "Cape of Good Hope" as well as other images of the terrain with the navigation camera after the drive.

Sol 1165: Opportunity began the sol by acquiring a timed movie in search of clouds, with successive images taken after a two-minute delay. The rover completed a sky survey at high sun using the panoramic camera and measured dark current (signals received when not exposed to light) while both hot and warm. The rover enjoyed a deep sleep.

Sol 1166: Upon awakening, Opportunity surveyed the sky with the panoramic camera and acquired panoramic camera images of Cape St. Vincent. While acquiring stereo microscopic images of Viva la Rata prior to grinding the rock surface, Joint 1 stalled. The rover conducted a touch test on Viva La Rata with the rock abrasion tool and searched for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1167: In the morning, Opportunity monitored dust on the rover mast and acquired thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera. The rover acquired super-resolution images of Cape St. Vincent with the panoramic camera and searched for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1168: Opportunity completed a morning survey of the horizon with the panoramic camera and brushed Viva La Rata with the rock abrasion tool. Following that, the rover acquired stereo microscopic images of the brushed surface and studied it with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. Opportunity also surveyed a target known as "Rodrigues" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and acquired panoramic camera images of the terrain ahead. Opportunity scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1169: Opportunity acquired sky images with the panoramic camera and checked for drift (changes with time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover did not stow the robotic arm as planned after having moved it into ready position because of the Joint 1 stall. Also as a result of the stall, the rover did not drive backward to adjust its position and proceed to "Madrid" as planned. Opportunity acquired images of Viva La Rata with the panoramic camera and post-drive images with both the panoramic and navigation cameras. The rover searched for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1170 (May 8, 2007): Opportunity acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera, conducted a diagnostic test of the robotic arm, stowed the robotic arm, acquired panoramic camera images of "Madrid," unstowed the robotic arm, and acquired images with the navigation and panoramic cameras. The rover scanned the sky for clouds and conducted a survey of rock clasts with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1170 (May 8, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was 10,784.94 meters (6.7 miles).


sol 1157-1163, May 04, 2007: Opportunity Conducts Successful Path Planning Test and Gets Another Energy Boost

Opportunity drove 224 meters (735 feet) this week.

The sol 1160 checkout of the D-star hazard avoidance path planner (drive planning software) was a resounding success. In order to make the test as safe as possible, D-star was told that rocks in its path were hazards, when actually Opportunity is capable of safely driving over them. The rover planners set a waypoint on the opposite side of "Granada" such that a straight path would have taken the rover directly over these non-hazardous hazards.

On sols 1162 and 1163 Opportunity drove towards the "Cape of Good Hope." On sol 1164 the rover will creep several meters closer to the edge of the crater to position itself for panoramic camera imaging of "Cape St. Vincent" over the weekend. Also this weekend Opportunity will perform another test of RAT grinding.

On sol 1159 Opportunity experienced yet another dust cleaning event. Solar array energy production is now over 800 watt-hours.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to Opportunity's daily science observations which include a panoramic camera tau measurement and miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground stares, the rover also did the following:

Sol 1157 (April 26, 2007): Opportunity took the panoramic camera right-eye side of a long baseline stereo imaging of Cape St. Vincent, stowed its robotic arm and drove 38 meters (125 feet) toward Granada. The rover then unstowed its arm, took post-drive navigation and panoramic camera images and conducted an overnight data relay with Mars Odyssey.

Sol 1158: On this sol, the rover's navigation camera looked for clouds and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and the panoramic camera studied the foreground.

Sol 1159: Opportunity used its panoramic camera to take thumbnail images of the sky and its panoramic camera to survey the horizon. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a 7-point sky and ground survey.

Sol 1160: On this sol, the rover used its panoramic camera to image the target Granada. Opportunity then stowed its arm and drove 15 meters (49 feet) around Granada for a D-star checkout. The rover then unstowed its arm and conducted post-drive imaging of the path it took to get there.

Sol 1161: On this sol, the rover used its panoramic camera to complete a foreground survey. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer had a look at the sky and then the target "Malaga." The panoramic camera imaged Granada and then the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer conducted an integration for the ongoing atmospheric Argon study.

Sol 1162: Opportunity's panoramic camera took a color mosaic of the Granada D-star drive. The rover then stowed its arm and drove 74 meters (243 feet) toward the Cape of Good Hope. Opportunity then unstowed its arm and used both its navigation and panoramic cameras to do more imaging. There was also an overnight data relay with Mars Odyssey.

Sol 1163: On this sol, Opportunity used its navigation camera to image its own tracks. The rover then stowed its arm and drove 97 meters (318 feet) towards the Cape of Good Hope. After the drive, the rover tool images with its navigation and panoramic cameras. The navigation camera also looked for clouds.

Current Odometry:

As of sol 1163, Opportunity's total odometry is 10,736.12 (6.67 miles).


sol 1152-1156, May 01, 2007: Opportunity Gets a Boost of Energy and Continues Imaging

Scientists and engineers are still deciding on when and if Opportunity will enter "Victoria Crater." In the meantime, Opportunity has a lot to accomplish, such as driving back to the area of its original arrival at Victoria, approximately 600 meters away (over one-third of a mile).

In addition, Opportunity must complete checkouts of its new technologies such as the D-star hazard avoidance path planner, Visual Target Tracking, and IDD (robotic arm) auto-place. Also, on the way to "Duck Bay," several imaging campaigns require completion at the "Cape of Good Hope" and "Cape St. Mary."

Currently Opportunity is conducting long-baseline stereo imaging of "Cape St. Vincent" from a perch on the edge of "Tierra del Fuego." On sol 1157 the rover will drive north approximately 35 meters (115 feet) to a collection of rocks called "Granada" for a D-star test.

On sols 1151 and 1152 Opportunity experienced a modest dust-cleaning event. The wind cleared the solar arrays of enough dust to result in approximately 75 Watt-hours more energy per sol.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to Opportunity's daily science observations, the rover completes routine panoramic camera tau measurements and miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground stares.

Sol 1152 (April 21, 2007): On this sol, Opportunity's panoramic camera took images, including a 13-filter image of target "Jaen." The miniature thermal emission spectrometer stared at targets: "Badajoz," "Castellon," "Coruna," "Rioja" and Jaen. The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer checked for atmospheric argon. The panoramic camera then looked to the sky and the navigation camera looked for clouds.

Sol 1153: Opportunity stowed its robotic arm and then drove to the first-eye position for long baseline. The rover took post-drive images with its panoramic and navigation cameras. Overnight the rover sent data through Mars Odyssey.

Sol 1154: This sol involved a handful of miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky & ground stares. The panoramic camera looked at the sky and the navigation camera searched for clouds.

Sol 1155: Opportunity began to take the first eye of long-baseline stereo image of Cape St. Vincent. The robotic arm was then stowed and the rover drove 6 meters (19.7 feet) northwest to second eye position. The rover then unstowed its arm and took post-drive images with its navigation and panoramic cameras. The navigation camera also looked for clouds and monitored for dust on the rovers panoramic mast assembly (the "head" and "neck"). Overnight, the rover sent data through Mars Odyssey.

Sol 1156: On this sol, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer stared at its external calibration target and then conducted a long sky stare. The instrument also completed stares on targets "Melilla" and "Canarias." The rover's panoramic camera took a pre-sunset image and then surveyed the sky. The navigation camera looked for clouds.

Current Odometry:

Opportunity's total odometry as of sol 1155 is 10,509.41 meters (6.53 miles).


sol 1145-1151, April 24, 2007: Imaging 'Alicante'

Over the last week, Opportunity investigated the second of two "dark streak" soil targets named "Alicante." The sol 1145 Mössbauer touch sequence that was commanded did not make contact with the soil because of a minor targeting discrepancy. Since the Mössbauer touch is used as a reference point for determining where to start taking the microscopic images, the lack of contact caused the images taken sol 1145 to be out of focus. As a result, the team decided to stay another two sols and reacquire the in-situ observations on Alicante. Now, Opportunity is headed southeast towards "Tierra del Fuego" to begin another remote sensing campaign.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Each sol includes a mini-miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground observation in the morning, right before transitioning to the next sol's master sequence.

Sol 1145 (April 14, 2007): On this sol, the rover was scheduled to touch the ground with its Mössbauer spectrometer. After the touch, microscopic images were taken and then the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was placed on the soil target Alicante. The rover's panoramic camera imaged targets "Huesca" and "Granada." Before the Mars Odyssey pass, the panoramic camera took a tau measurement. During the Odyssey pass, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer took a sky and ground measurement. The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was integrated for about six hours. Also, there were four miniature thermal emission spectrometer thermal inertia observations at various times of day.

Sol 1146: The rover changed tools to the Mössbauer spectrometer and integrated for 12 hours. The panoramic camera completed a high-sun survey while the navigation camera supported the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The panoramic camera imaged "Cordoba" and "Colmenero." The miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a 7-pt sky and ground observation and the panoramic camera took a tau measurement.

Sol 1147: During the morning of this sol, the panoramic camera examined the sky and the horizon. The rover then restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer and integrated for 12 hours. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer then got busy by taking a low-angle sky measurement, then completing a sky and ground observation and then, ultimately, staring at its calibration target. Before the Odyssey pass, the rover took a tau measurement with its panoramic camera.

Sol 1148: In the morning of this sol, the panoramic camera took thumbnail images of the sky. Again the Mössbauer spectrometer was commanded to touch the soil and the microscopic imager took pictures. The rover then placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on Alicante. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer took a sky and ground measurement and the panoramic camera took a tau measurement. Before the Odyssey pass a tau measurement was taken and, during the pass, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer observed the sky and ground. After the Odyssey pass, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was integrated on Alicante for about six hours.

Sol 1149: Opportunity looked for clouds with its navigation camera this morning. The rover then placed the Mössbauer spectrometer on Alicante and integrated for about 12 hours. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted thermal inertia stares as well as a sky and ground measurement. The panoramic camera took a 13-filter image of target "Granada." Before the Odyssey pass, the rover took a tau measurement and, during the pass, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a sky and ground observation.

Sol 1150: Opportunity woke up this sol and had a look at the sky with its panoramic and navigation cameras. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer also conducted a thermal inertia stare in the morning. The rover bumped back 1 meter (3.3 feet) and took a panoramic camera 13-filter image of Alicante. Opportunity then drove 42.79 meters (140.39 feet) towards Tierra del Fuego. After the drive, the rover took images with its hazard avoidance, navigation and panoramic cameras. Before the Odyssey pass, the rover took a tau measurement and, during the pass, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a sky and ground observation.

Sol 1151: The rover woke up and conducted a sky survey (including a high-sun survey). The miniature thermal emission spectrometer was busy with a 7-point sky and ground observation and a stare at the ground immediately in front of the rover. The panoramic camera also imaged the ground in front of the rover with its 13 filters.

Current Odometry:

As of sol 1150, Opportunity's total odometry is 10,486.20 meters (6.52 miles).


sol 1139-1144, April 17, 2007: Investigating a Dark Streak

Opportunity is healthy and spent the last week investigating the dark material trailing north from "Victoria Crater." The plan this week included two brief robotic arm campaigns at different areas roughly 33 meters (108 feet) apart. Opportunity will collect a series of microscopic images and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integrations on the soil along with other remote science observations.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Each sol starts with a panoramic camera tau and miniature thermal emission spectrometer mini sky and ground stare right after handing over from the previous sol's master sequence. At the end of each sol's plan, right before transitioning to the following sol, there is a navigation camera bitty cloud observation and a miniature thermal emission spectrometer mini sky and ground stare.

Sol 1139 (April 8, 2007): Opportunity conducted remote sensing on the dark streak. The rover then took stereo microscopic images of "Palencia" and "Pontevedra." Opportunity then moved its robotic arm out of the way to prepare for argon integration position. The panoramic camera was then used to image the rover tracks. The rover began alpha particle X-ray spectromter argon integration. Opportunity then had a mini deep sleep. After waking, the rover looked for clouds with its navigation camera. The panoramic camera was used to image the sky.

Sol 1140: On this sol, Opportunity continued to conduct remote sensing on the dark streak. The rover then placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on the soil. The panoramic camera conducted some photometry, then took a 13-filter image of track target "Zamora." The miniature thermal emission spectrometer examined Zamora and then the undisturbed soil behind it. The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was then placed on the soil. The rover then went into deep sleep.

Sol 1141: Opportunity continued remote sensing on the dark streak. The panoramic camera took a panoramic image to test for albedo (light reflectivity). The miniature thermal emission spectrometer did a 7-point sky & ground stare. Before the Mars Odyssey pass, the panoramic camera was used for photometry experiments. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted an elevation sky & ground stare and then it stared at the calibration target. After a deep sleep, the navigation camera looked for clouds in the sky.

Sol 1142: On the morning of this sol, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a mini sky & ground stare. The rover then drove 31.23 meters (102.5 feet) to a second location in the dark streak. The navigation camera imaged a future robotic arm target and the panoramic camera imaged a future drive direction and then took a tau measurement.

Sol 1143: Opportunity bumped 2.21 meters (7.3 feet). The panoramic camera took a tau measurement and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer did a sky and ground stare. Before it moved again, Opportunity took a 13-filter panoramic camera image of target "Alicante." The rover then stowed its arm and drove about 3 meters (9.8 feet) to Alicante. Opportunity then unstowed its arm and autoplace software put it on Alicante. A microscopic image mosaic of Alicante was taken. The Mössbauer spectrometer did a quick touch of Alicante before the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was placed on the target. Before the Odyssey pass, the panoramic camera took a tau measurement. During the orbiter's pass, Opportunity's miniature thermal emission spectrometer did a sky and ground stare. After the Odyssey pass, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was integrated on target Alicante.

Sol 1144: This sol saw more remote sensing on the dark streak. The panoramic camera took a tau measurement, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer did a sky and ground stare. The panoramic camera took a 13-filter image of "Avila," and then the miniature thermal emission spectrometer stared at the same target. Before the Odyssey pass, the panoramic camera took another tau measurement. During the pass, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted an elevation sky and ground stare. The rover then went into deep sleep.

Current Odometry:

As of sol 1143, Opportunity's total odometry is 10,443.41 meters (6.5 miles).


sol 1131-1138, April 10, 2007: Characterizing Wind Streaks

Opportunity is healthy and is attempting to characterize the dark wind streak material which emanates from Victoria Crater as seen from orbital images.

On Sol 1132 the team planned a four-hour alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration to measure atmospheric Argon. The purpose of this measurement is to determine the atmospheric mixing processes and track their changes with time.

Sol 1137 included a test of a fix for a steering bias bug in the mobility flight software. This is the fix for the problem the team saw on sol 1114, when the software selected an arc that was 13 degrees off course from the goal.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to Opportunity's usual observations of panoramic camera tau, navigation camera cloud captures, miniature thermal emission sky and ground stares, and panoramic camera sky spots, the rover did the following:

Sol 1131 (March 30, 2007): On this sol, Opportunity's panoramic camera began to take the first half of a long baseline stereo image of "Valley Without Peril." The navigation camera was used to fill gaps in the previous sol's panorama. The panoramic camera was then used again to image target "Almeria." The miniature thermal emission spectrometer also observed Almeria.

Sol 1132: Opportunity bumped 5.6 meters (18.4 feet) to the second eye location of the stereo panorama of Valley Without Peril. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer observed target "Barcelona." The alpha particle X-ray spectromter completed a four-hour atmospheric Argon measurement.

Sol 1133: On this sol, the rover continued the long baseline stereo second eye image of Valley Without Peril and also conducted remote sensing.

Sol 1134: Opportunity drove to a bright spot between wind streaks to set up for microscopic imaging and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer measurements on sol 1135. The rover took panoramic camera images at three different times during the sol as part of a photometry experiment.

Sol 1135: On this sol, Opportunity used the microscopic imager to examine the soil target "Salamanca," in the bright spot area between wind streaks.

Sol 1136: Opportunity used the microscopic imager and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on soil target "Sevilla." The miniature thermal emission spectrometer did a foreground survey and the panoramic camera was used to image the rover tracks.

Sol 1137: The rover drove about 35 meters (115 feet) to middle of a wind streak and then took images with its panoramic camera as part of a photometry experiment.

Sol 1138: On this sol, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer completed a foreground survey. The panoramic camera conducted a 13-filter foreground survey and took more images for the photometry experiment.

Current Odometry:

As of sol 1134, Opportunity's total odometry is 10,373.19 meters (6.45 miles).


sol 1126-1130, April 03, 2007: Looking For an 'In'

Opportunity is healthy and working on obtaining a long baseline stereo image of the bay "Valley without Peril."

On Sol 1128 a test of a work around for the failed RAT (rock abrasion tool) grind encoder was successful. A temporary software addition allows the rover to bypass a check that was causing it to fail.

The remainder of the week was spent driving toward a lookout point above the Valley without Peril. From this vantage point, Opportunity will acquire a long baseline stereo image of the vicinity. Valley Without Peril is being considered as a possible ingress location into "Victoria Crater."

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to specific daily activities, Opportunity's routine observations include: panoramic camera tau, navigation camera bitty cloud, miniature thermal emission sky and ground stares and panoramic camera sky spots.

Sol 1126 (March 25, 2007): Opportunity took a pre-drive navigation camera long baseline stereo image before it drove 39 meters (128 feet) toward the Valley without Peril. After the drive, the rover took navigation and panoramic camera images and took an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer measurement of atmospheric Argon.

Sol 1127: On this sol, the rover approached the Valley without Peril. The drive stopped prematurely after 2.11 meters (7 feet) because the rover's antennas obstructed the view from the onboard navigation software. The rover did a location check and then began post-drive imaging. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer was then used for navigation camera support and to assess the ground in front of the rover.

Sol 1128: This sol consisted of RAT (rock abrasion tool) grind diagnostics tests. The tests were successful! The panoramic camera took a 13-filter image of "Gerona." The miniature thermal emission spectrometer stared at "Burgos" and Gerona. The panoramic camera took a 13-filter of Burgos.

Sol 1129: On this sol, Opportunity drove about 8.71 meters (29 feet) on the approach to the first-eye position of long baseline stereo panoramic camera image of the Valley without Peril area. The rover then took a set of post-drive navigation camera images.

Sol 1130: Opportunity took a panoramic camera 13-filter image of "Albacete," a panoramic camera image of "Toledo,"and several panoramic camera images of "Cadiz." The miniature thermal emission spectrometer was then used to stare at Toledo and the area around it. The rover then bumped about 2.5 meters (8 feet) to the first-eye position for stereo imaging of the Valley without Peril. After the drive, the navigation camera took images.

Current Odometry:

As of sol 1129, Opportunity's total odometry was 10,349.70 meters (6.43 miles).


sol 1118-1125, March 27, 2007: Opportunity Begins Imaging of 'Cape of Good Hope'

Opportunity is healthy and making progress on the imaging campaign of "Cape St. Vincent."

On Sol 1116, Opportunity experienced a fault due to a known but rare race condition in the flight software. This race condition fault has now occurred three times in 1,122 sols for Opportunity and three times in 1,143 sols for Spirit. Essentially, while the rover was booting up in the morning, two sequences were competing to complete first. The lower priority task was stopped by the higher priority task and when the former attempted to complete, it was locked out of the rover's memory. The software did as it is supposed to and threw up a red flag to programmers and awaited its next commands.

On Sols 1117 and 1118 were spent recovering the rover from the fault. Opportunity spent sols 1119 and 1120 resting since these sols fell on an Earth weekend (the project no longer has the resources to bring in a weekend sequencing team).

On Sol 1121, Opportunity drove to a position on the "Cape of Good Hope" to image the first half of a long baseline stereo image of Cape St. Vincent. On Sol 1123, Opportunity will bump 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) to image the second half of the Cape St. Vincent stereo image.

The remainder of the sols were spent obtaining remote sensing science.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to Opportunity's usual observations of panoramic camera tau measurements, navigation camera bitty cloud scans (looking to the sky for clouds), miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground stares, and panoramic camera sky spots, the rover also did the following:

Sol 1118 (March 17, 2007): On this sol, Opportunity recovered from the race condition fault.

Sol 1119: Opportunity rested this sol (weekend in Pasadena).

Sol 1120: Opportunity rested this sol (weekend in Pasadena).

Sol 1121: On this sol, the rover drove to the first eye position of long baseline stereo image of Cape St. Vincent (9.97 meters or 33 feet) and began imaging.

Sol 1122: The rover conducted remote sensing of atmosphere and soil properties on this sol.

Sol 1123: Opportunity bumped to the second eye position of long baseline stereo image of Cape St. Vincent (about 2.5 meters or 8.2 feet) and began imaging.

Sol 1124: On this sol the rover conducted a panoramic camera systematic soil and ground survey. The navigation camera was used in support of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The panoramic camera had a look at the horizon and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer assessed the foreground.

Sol 1125: Opportunity used this sol to look at the sky and ground with its miniature thermal emission. That instrument was also used to monitor for dust.

Current Odometry:

As of sol 1121, Opportunity's total odometry is 10,295.50 meters (6.4 miles).


sol 1112-1117, March 20, 2007: Opportunity Conducts Imaging and Diagnostics

Opportunity is healthy and is positioning itself for long baseline stereo imaging of "Cape St. Vincent," across the "Valley Without Peril." Subsequently, the rover will drive northeast to the mouth of the Valley Without Peril for long baseline stereo imaging of the valley floor. On sol 1112 Opportunity performed another test of RAT (rock abrasion tool) grind operations. The test indicated the need to circumvent a portion of the flight software which is still trying to use the RAT's failed encoder. The "patch" will be up-linked and tested this weekend.

On sol 1114 Opportunity attempted an 8-meter (26 feet) drive to a position on the west bank of the Valley Without Peril in order to image Cape St. Vincent to the east. The drive stopped after only a half a meter of progress because the rover failed to stay within limits placed on its heading by the rover drivers. A similar drive is planned for sol 1116.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to Opportunity's daily science observations, which include a panoramic camera tau measurement and miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground stares, the rover did the following:

Sol 1112 (March 11, 2007): On this sol, Opportunity conducted another RAT grind test, miniature thermal emission spectrometer 7-point sky and ground stares, panoramic camera high sun observation, an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration to look for Argon and panoramic camera sky thumbnail images.

Sol 1113: Opportunity used the instruments on its "head" (or panoramic camera mast assembly) to scan the sky and then used the panoramic camera to image the local foreground in 13-filters. The navigation camera was then used to prepare for miniature thermal emission spectrometer observations and to look for clouds.

Sol 1114: The rover began to drive south-southwest to the imaging position for Cape St. Vincent. The drive stalled due to Opportunity exceeding heading limitations set by rover drivers. A post-drive navigation camera image was shot for next drive.

Sol 1115: On this sol, Opportunity completed miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground stares, navigation camera search for clouds, panoramic camera sky thumbnail images and panoramic camera mast assembly dust monitoring.

Sol 1116: Opportunity drove south-southwest to the imaging position for Cape St. Vincent and then completed a post-drive navigation camera mosaic for the next drive.

Sol 1117: On this sol, Opportunity calibrated the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and then used it to assess the local sky and ground. The navigation camera was used to look for clouds.

As of sol 1114, Opportunity's total odometry is 10,285.53 meters (6.39 miles).


sol 1104-1111, March 12, 2007: Onward to the 'Valley Without Peril'

Opportunity is healthy and continues its long baseline stereo survey of "Victoria Crater." The rover is currently perched atop the "Cape of Good Hope," making its way northeast to the mouth of the "Valley Without Peril."

On sol 1104 Opportunity performed an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration on the martian atmosphere. This is a long-term monitoring of the density of Argon in the atmosphere, looking at how the Argon/Carbon dioxide mixing ratio changes as the polar caps acquire and sublimate carbon dioxide.

On Sol 1109 the rover performed a preliminary test of a new method for rock abrasion tool grinds which does not rely on a failed encoder. Another test is scheduled for sol 1112.

Next week Opportunity will conduct an extensive long baseline stereo survey of the Valley Without Peril and "Cape St. Vincent." This will allow the team to perform a comparative analysis of other bays in order to continue characterization of possible ingress and egress points in Victoria Crater.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to Opportunity's daily science observations, the rover also performs panoramic camera tau measurements and miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground stares.

Sol 1104 (March 3, 2007): The rover took a color postcard panoramic camera image of "Cabo Corrientes," navigation camera imaging of the tracks, miniature thermal emission spectrometer 7-point sky & ground observation and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration on the atmosphere to look for Argon.

Sol 1105: On this sol, Opportunity drove 8 meters (26 feet) southwest toward the edge of the Cape of Good Hope. The rover then began the first half of a long baseline stereo panoramic camera image of Cabo Corrientes across "Golfo (Gulf) San Matias." The rover then completed navigation camera imaging for next drive.

Sol 1106: Opportunity conducted a panoramic camera horizon survey, looked for clouds with its navigation camera and monitored for dust. The rover also did a miniature thermal emission spectrometer 7-point sky & ground observation and a panoramic camera sky survey.

Sol 1107: On this sol, the rover drove 4 meters (13 feet) south-southwest and completed navigation and panoramic camera imaging for next drive. Opportunity then began the second half of a long baseline stereo panoramic camera image of Cabo Corrientes across Golfo San Matias. The panoramic camera then had a look at the sky.

Sol 1108: Opportunity drove 8 meters (26 feet) toward the Valley Without Peril, then used its navigation and panoramic cameras to image for the next drive. The panoramic camera looked at the sky.

Sol 1109: Opportunity conducted a rock abrasion tool (RAT) grind test, then the panoramic camera did a 13-filter foreground survey and took a mosaic of the rover tracks. The navigation camera imaged the tracks and then the miniature thermal emission spectrometer assessed the foreground.

Sol 1110: On this sol, the panoramic camera completed a 13-filter foreground survey and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer completed a 7-point sky and ground observation and foreground stare.

Sol 1111 (March 10, 2007): The rover drove 40 meters (131 feet) northeast to the mouth of the Valley Without Peril. Opportunity then did navigation and panoramic camera imaging for next drive. The panoramic camera also had a look at the sky.

As of sol 1108, Opportunity's odometery is 10,238.95 meters (6.36 miles).


sol 1097-1103, March 07, 2007: Opportunity Checks Out 'Cape of Good Hope'

Opportunity is healthy and is currently driving on the promontory called "Cape of Good Hope." The rover performed some miniature thermal emission spectrometer measurements and took panoramic camera images of "Madrid" and "Alava," which are outcrops on the western side of Cape of Good Hope. Opportunity also performed some miniature thermal emission spectrometer and long baseline stereo of dunes at the base of the next promontory.

On sol 1100, Opportunity executed step two of the Visual Target Tracking technology checkout.

On sol 1102, Opportunity had a joint 1 (shoulder azimuth) stall during the instrument deployment device (rover "arm") sequence. It was determined that this stall was similar to past stalls, so on sol 1103 a diagnostic test will be performed. If this is successful, the rover will take a confirmation microscopic image, then drive towards the rim of Cape of Good Hope.

Opportunity drove about 84 meters (276 feet) between sols 1097 and 1102.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Each sol there is a panoramic camera tau at the beginning of the plan and before the afternoon Mars Odyssey pass. There is a miniature thermal emission spectrometer elevation sky and ground during the Odyssey pass. There is also a mini- miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground in the morning of each sol, just prior to handing over to the next sol's master sequence.

Sol 1097 (February 23, 2007): On this sol, the rover used its panoramic camera to image "Madrid" and "Alava" (outcrop on the west side of Cape of Good Hope). The miniature thermal emission spectrometer was used to examine dunes at the base of the next promontory, a long baseline image of the dunes was taken and a panoramic camera image of Cape of Good Hope. A pre-Odyssey tau measurement was taken and during the Odyssey pass, miniature thermal emission spectrometer measurements of Madrid and "Coslada" were completed. A post-Odyssey argon measurement was taken.

Sol 1098: In the morning of this sol the rover looked at the sky with its panoramic camera and conducted mini-miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground measurements. Opportunity then stowed its arm, drove to Cape of Good Hope, unstowed its arm, took post-drive navigation camera "end of drive" images, post-drive panoramic camera images in the drive direction and a post-drive panoramic camera tau;

Sol 1099: Opportunity used its panoramic camera to take images of the sky this morning. The cameras (on the rover's "head") and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a mini-sky azimuth measurement and a and sky and ground observation. The panoramic camera then conducted a soil survey and then examined the ground in front of the rover. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a systematic soil observation.

Sol 1100: In the morning of this sol, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a mini sky and ground observation. The rover then stowed its "arm," checked out its visual target tracking sequence and drove toward Cape of Good Hope. The rover then unstowed its "arm," took post-drive navigation and panoramic camera images in the drive direction. A panoramic camera tau measurement was taken.

Sol 1101: Opportunity used this morning to get thumbnail images of the sky with its panoramic camera and to assess the sky and ground with its miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover then stowed its "arm," used its front hazard avoidance cameras to image the area in front of it. The "arm" was then unstowed and Opportunity took a 13-filter panoramic camera image. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a 7-point sky and ground observation. Before the Odyssey pass, the panoramic camera conducted a sky survey.

Sol 1102: On this sol, the panoramic camera took a 13-filter calibration for dust on the low-gain antenna, the camera was then used to image "Cabo Corrientes." Before an attempt to use the microscopic imager, there was a joint failure. A tau measurement was taken and then a miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground observation.

Sol 1103 (March 2, 2007): Opportunity completed a miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground observation in the morning of this sol. A diagnostic test was run on the rover's instrument deployment device ("arm"). Depending on the results of the test, another attempt will be made to take a microscopic stereo image of target "Donut." The plan then calls for the "arm" to be stowed, the rover to bump back and take a panoramic camera image of Donut. Opportunity will then be set to drive toward the rim of Cape of Good Hope.

As of sol 1102, Opportunity's odometry is 10,202 meters (6.34 miles).


sol 1091-1096, February 23, 2007: The View from 'Cabo Corrientes'

Opportunity is healthy and is currently driving on the promontory "Cabo Corrientes." The rover completed the long baseline stereo imaging of "Cape Desire" and is currently imaging the promontory on the other side of Cabo Corrientes called "Cape of Good Hope."

On Earth, Cape Desire is at the western (Pacific) end of the Strait of Magellan, marking the end of a hazardous passage through the strait. Magellan supposedly "wept for joy" when he discovered it, and so named it because he had been "desiring to see it for a long time."

Opportunity also performed an argon measurement on sol 1092.

Opportunity drove about 36 meters (118 feet) between sols 1088 and 1095.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Each sol there is a panoramic camera tau measurement at the beginning of the plan and before the afternoon Mars Odyssey pass. There is a miniature thermal emission spectrometer elevation sky and ground during the Odyssey pass. There is also a mini-miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground in the morning of each sol, just prior to handing over to the next sol's master sequence.

Sol 1091 (February 17, 2007): On this sol, the rover took a panoramic camera long baseline stereo and a miniature thermal emission spectrometer 7-point sky & ground measurement.

Sol 1092: Opportunity used its panoramic camera to do a 13-filter soil survey and then a 13-filter stare at the foreground. The navigation camera was used in support of a miniature thermal emission spectrometer foreground stare. The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was used after the Odyssey pass.

Sol 1093: In the morning of this sol, the rover's cameras monitored for dust. Opportunity then took a miniature thermal emission spectrometer 7-point sky & ground measurement. The cameras on the rover's "head" then scanned the sky and ground.

Sol 1094: The rover stowed its instrument deployment device ("arm") and bumped about 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) for left eye of stereo imaging. The arm was then unstowed, a post-drive navcam was taken, a post-drive panoramic camera image in the drive direction and a post-drive panoramic camera image of "Extrema Dura" (the outcrop behind the rover). The panoramic camera also began a long baseline stereo image.

Sol 1095: Before Opportunity drove this sol, the navigation camera took images. The panoramic camera continued the long baseline stereo image. A mini-miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky & ground measurement was taken. The rover then stowed its arm and drove eastward to image the cliff face of Cape Hope. After the drive, the rover unstowed its arm and took post-drive navigation camera images. The panoramic camera took a sky survey during solar array wakeup. In the morning, the rover looked for clouds and then took a mini- miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky & ground measurement.

Sol 1096: In the morning of this sol, Opportunity took a miniature thermal emission spectrometer 5-point sky and ground measurement. A panoramic camera image was taken of the Cape of Good Hope and nearby dunes. The rover's arm was then stowed, then Opportunity bumped about 4.5 meters (14.8 feet) for the left eye of stereo image. The rover then unstowed its arm and took post-drive navigation camera images, end of drive images and a post-drive panoramic camera image in the drive direction.

As of sol 1095 (February 21, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry is 10,113 meters (6.28 miles).


sol 1084-1090, February 20, 2007: Opportunity Continues to Characterize Crater

Opportunity is healthy and is currently driving on the promontory "Cabo Corrientes" where its cameras imaged the north face of "Bahia Blanca" cliff walls. The rover is currently driving to another spot in order to image "Cape Desire."

February 9th, 2007, was the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere of Mars.

Alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integrations were also performed to measure atmospheric Argon. The purpose of this experiment is to determine the atmospheric mixing processes and track their changes with time.

Opportunity drove about 20 meters (66 feet) between sols 1084 and 1087.

The theme of the names of the bays and capes of "Victoria Crater" come from the places visited by Magellan and his crew onboard the sailing ship Victoria during their circumnavigation of the world. Cape Corrientes is on the eastern coast of South America and was a useful landmark for Magellan's fleet. Bahia Blanca (White Bay) is a huge bay in Argentina. Magellan explored it looking for the Strait, but was not successful.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Each sol there is a panoramic camera tau at the beginning of the plan and before the afternoon Mars Odyssey pass. There is a miniature thermal emission spectrometer elevation sky and ground observation during the Odyssey pass. There is also a mini- miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground in the morning of each sol, just prior to handing over to the next sol's master sequence.

Sol 1084 (February 10, 2007): On this sol, the panoramic camera took a 13-filter image of the target "Santiago." The rover then stowed its arm and drove 27 meters (89 feet) out onto Cabo Corrientes. After the drive, images were taken with the navigation and hazard avoidance cameras. After the Odyssey pass, the rover completed a sunset tau and a nearly four-hour alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration.

Sol 1085: During the morning of this sol, the rover monitored for dust on its panoramic camera mast assembly, or "neck" and "head." The navigation camera looked for clouds and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a 7-point sky and ground observation. The panoramic camera then imaged the sun at midday. The navigation camera then looked for clouds and another miniature thermal emission spectrometer 7-point sky and ground observation was conducted.

Sol 1086: On this sol, the rover's navigation camera looked for clouds and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a 7-point sky and ground observation and assessed the atmosphere. The panoramic camera took thumbnail images of the sky, the navigation camera looked for clouds again and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted another 7-point sky and ground observation.

Sol 1087: The rover drove this sol, then took images with its navigation and panoramic cameras. The rover then conducted a tau measurement. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer was used during the afternoon Odyssey pass. The final commands of this sol involved the panoramic camera surveying the horizon and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer completing a mini observation of the sky and ground.

Sol 1088: On this sol, the navigation camera looked for clouds, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer completed a 7-point sky and ground observation and the panoramic camera took a 13-filter image.

Sol 1089: The morning of this sol began with a mini-miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground observation. A pre-drive navigation camera image was taken in support of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover then stowed its arm and drove about 15 meters (49 feet) to get into position to image the other side of Cape Desire. After the drive, the rover unstowed its arm and took post-drive navigation camera images and completed a post-drive tau measurement.

Sol 1090 (February 16, 2007): On this sol, the navigation camera looked for clouds and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a 7-point sky & ground observation. A pre-Odyssey tau measurement was also taken.

Odometry:

As of sol 1087, Opportunity's total odometry is 10,077 meters (6.26 miles).


sol 1077-1083, February 09, 2007: Opportunity Flips 10 Kilometers and Tests New Drive Software

Opportunity has completed a remote sensing campaign at "Cape Desire" and is on the move to the next promontory, called "Cabo Corrientes." Opportunity's odometer rolled past 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) during the 50.51-meter (166 feet) drive on sol 1080. By contrast, the NASA Level 1 requirements for the mission called for achieving at least 600 meters (1,969 feet) with one rover, and the mission design requirement was for 1,000 meters (3,281 feet). This is another significant milestone for Opportunity, and yet another testimony to the outstanding work done by the development and operations teams.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Each sol, the panoramic camera assesses atmospheric opacity ("tau") at the beginning of the sol's sequence of activities and again before the afternoon Mars Odyssey pass. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer scans sky and ground during the Odyssey pass. That instrument also observes sky and ground each morning as part of the preceding sol's activity plan, just prior to Spirit beginning the current sol's sequence. In addition to these regular activities, Opportunity also completed the following:

Sol 1077: Opportunity conducted panoramic camera 13-filter targeting on "Cabo Anonimo." The rover then used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer to stare at: rover tracks, at scuffed soil, at the area near the tracks and at Cabo Anonimo. The navigation camera took images to support the work by the miniature thermal emission spectrometer on and near the tracks. The panoramic camera also did a 13-filter examination of Cabo Corrientes. After the Odyssey pass, the rover conducted an argon experiment during six hours of collecting data with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1078: Opportunity drove 42.81 meters (140 feet) away from Cape Desire and then performed an update of its orientation. Post-drive imaging included navigation and panoramic camera mosaics. There was no science activity around the afternoon Odyssey pass on this sol because the team decided to use the energy to support an overnight UHF pass.

Sol 1079: The miniature thermal emission spectrometer completed a seven-point sky and ground analysis, the navigation camera looked for clouds, and then the rover completed two miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground stares.

Sol 1080: The rover drove 50.51 meters (166 feet), then collected images for mosaics with the navigation and panoramic cameras. There was another morning UHF pass in the 1080 plan, so no science activity was conducted around the afternoon Odyssey pass.

Sol 1081: In the morning of this sol, a panoramic camera horizon survey was conducted. The navigation camera looked for clouds and then the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a seven-point analysis of sky and ground. During the afternoon Odyssey pass, that instrument completed a five-point sky and ground analysis.

Sol 1082: The plan included a checkout of new autonomous navigation software during a drive toward Cabo Corrientes. Planned imaging after the drive included mosaics by the navigation and panoramic cameras. The rover's panoramic camera was instructed to view the Martian moon Phobos.

Sol 1083 (Feb. 9, 2007): The plan for this sol calls for the panoramic camera to have a look at the sky in the morning. The navigation camera will then look for clouds and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer will conduct a seven-point sky and ground analysis. In the afternoon, the rover will have another chance to see Phobos in the sky.

Odometry:

As of sol 1080 (Feb. 6, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was 10,023.19 meters (6.23 miles).


sol 1070-1076, February 01, 2007: Opportunity Making Its Way to Final Position on 'Cape Desire'

Opportunity spent the last week moving around the end of "Cape Desire" to three different imaging locations, each about 2 to 3 meters (6.6 to 9.8 feet) apart. Right now, Opportunity is driving about 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) to the final position to finish collecting long-baseline stereo images in the direction of "Cabo Corrientes" (to the east) and "Cabo Anonimo" (to the west).

Sol-by-sol summary:

Each sol there is a panoramic camera tau at the beginning of the plan and before the afternoon Mars Odyssey pass. There is a miniature thermal emission spectrometer elevation sky and ground observation during the Odyssey pass. There is also a mini-miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground observation in the morning of each sol, just prior to handing over to the next sol's master sequence. In addition to these regular activities, Opportunity also completed the following:

Sol 1070 (Jan. 27, 2007): Opportunity's panoramic camera conducted a 13-filter observation on the target "Ceuta." The panoramic camera also took an image of a target that was photographed by the microscopic imager a week earlier during testing of a new capability to autonomously place the tools of the robotic arm onto a target. Another image by the panoramic camera is for use in a long-baseline stereo pair. The rover then conducted a miniature thermal emission spectrometer stare at Ceuta. After a communication-relay session with NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter, Opportunity performed an argon experiment during an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration.

Sol 1071: The rover drove 2.19 meters (7.2 feet) farther out on Cape Desire. Post-drive imaging included front and rear hazard avoidance camera images and a 360-degree navigation camera image.

Sol 1072: Opportunity took panoramic camera images of the magnets and conducted a miniature thermal emission spectrometer seven-point sky and ground observation.

Sol 1073: Opportunity took a panoramic camera long-baseline stereo image mosaic of target Cabo Corrientes.

Sol 1074: The rover used its panoramic camera to get a mosaic image of Cabo Anonimo then conducted a miniature thermal emission spectrometer vertical scan on target Cabo Corrientes during the Odyssey pass instead of the usual sky and ground observation. The rover also monitored dust on its mast.

Sol 1075: A mini-miniature thermal emission sky and ground observation was conducted in the morning of sol 1075. Opportunity bumped about 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) and did post-drive imaging.

Sol 1076 (Feb. 2, 2007): Plans call for Opportunity to use its panoramic camera for sky spot and mini-miniature thermal emission sky and ground observations. The rover is then to use the same camera to shoot an image mosaic in the direction of target Cabo Anonimo. A mini-miniature thermal emission spectrometer elevation sky and ground observation is also planned.

Opportunity's total odometry as of sol 1071 (Jan. 28, 2007) is 9,927.11 meters (6.2 miles).


sol 1063-1069, January 26, 2007: Opportunity Hones Reckoning Skills, Tests Computer Smarts

After driving around the "Bay of Toil" onto "Cape Desire," a promontory overlooking "Victoria Crater," Opportunity began testing various techniques for visually determining the rover's precise location after moving across sandy, somewhat slippery terrain. Because the sandy surface is largely flat and featureless (except for the dropoff into "Victoria Crater"), the rover's primary reference points are the long rows of repeating ridges and holes in its own tracks. They all look pretty much the same, repeating the same pattern every 80 centimeters (2.6 feet). The rover is working on ways to make its tracks look different at every step, which will remove any ambiguities in the images of the tracks.

Opportunity continued to test new computer smarts to enable automated placement of instruments on a target of scientific interest.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, searching for clouds with the navigation camera, surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and imaging the sky with the panoramic camera, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1063 (Jan. 19, 2007): Opportunity measured atmospheric argon with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and acquired part of a panoramic postcard of Victoria Crater using the panoramic camera. Opportunity surveyed rock targets known as "Gomes," "Gomes Background" (the surface area around Gomes), "Santandres," "Deseado," "Narrows," "Sardines," and "Trabajo" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1064: Opportunity drove 4.21 meters (13.8 feet) around the Bay of Toil toward Cape Desire. The drive included a test to allow the rover to make unique track patterns for better determination of its position. The drive test had two legs: one in which the rover dragged the right front wheel for 5 centimeters (2 inches) and then drove on all 6 wheels for 55 centimeters (1.8 feet), and a second in which the rover drove 60 centimeters (24 inches) and then spun both front wheels 23 degrees, or approximately 5 centimeters (2 inches).

Sol 1065: Opportunity acquired a full-color image using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera of the foreground area, then surveyed the foreground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover monitored dust on the mast and acquired panoramic camera images of the sky at sunset.

Sol 1066: Opportunity drove 25.38 meters (83.27 feet) away from the rim of Victoria Crater to continue testing and determining the best method for visual odometry -- determining the precise position by imaging the rover's tracks. The rover did a series of 5 tests, each covering 5 centimeters (2 inches) and each designed to produce a different pattern in the tracks. All of the driving was backward. During the first test, the rover created scuffs with both front wheels. During the second test, the rover wiggled the left wheel and scuffed with the right wheel. The third test was a "drunken sailor" test in which the rover drove in small curves. During the fourth test, the rover turned in place 10 degrees at specific intervals, or "steps." The fifth test was a combination of the previous four tests.

Sol 1067: Opportunity drove 40.43 meters (132.6 feet) to set up for the approach to the edge of Cape Desire. The rover acquired panoramic camera images of "Guam," a chevron-shaped rock outcrop.

Sol 1068: Opportunity drove backward 7.8 meters (26 feet) toward the tip of Cape Desire.

Sol 1069 (Jan. 26, 2007): Plans called for Opportunity to drive a short distance of 7 meters (23 feet) to an imaging position about 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) away from the left edge of Cape Desire. From this vantage point, Opportunity was to acquire images of "Bahia Blanca," the next bay to the north. The rover was also slated to survey the horizon with the panoramic camera and complete Step 4 of the automatic placement test, the first attempt at actually reaching and touching a target autonomously. During the test, the rover was to acquire images with the hazard avoidance camera, swing back the robotic arm, touch the target with the Mössbauer spectrometer, and acquire microscopic images.

Odometry:

As of sol 1068 (Jan. 25, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was 9,918 meters (6.2 miles).


sol 1057-1062, January 19, 2007: Opportunity Studies Cobbles and Rock Exposures Around 'Victoria Crater'

Opportunity continues to make progress in acquiring long-baseline stereo images of "Victoria Crater." To do this, the rover moves laterally from one point to another between taking images with the left and right eyes of the panoramic camera. The path separating the images is known as a baseline and increases the apparent visual depth of features in the terrain.

During the past week, Opportunity drove across "Cabo Anonimo," a promontory on the northwest edge of Victoria Crater. From there, Opportunity took images of a face of "Cape Desire," the next promontory clockwise around the crater rim, on the other side of the "Bay of Toil." Opportunity then proceeded around the Bay of Toil on the way to Cape Desire.

Opportunity was scheduled to take a picture of comet McNaught on the morning of the rover's 1,063rd sol, or Martian day, of Mars exploration (Jan. 20, 2007).

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, searching for clouds with the navigation camera, surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and imaging the sky with the panoramic camera, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1057 (Jan. 13, 2007): Opportunity measured atmospheric argon with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and surveyed surface targets known as "Pacific," "Pacifico," and "Straight" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1058: Opportunity drove across Cabo Anonimo to the rim overlooking the Bay of Toil.

Sol 1059: Opportunity completed standard remote sensing activities.

Sol 1060: Opportunity acquired the first half of the long-baseline stereo pair of the Bay of Toil using the panoramic camera. The rover then drove 2 meters (7 feet) to get into position to acquire the second half of the baseline stereo pair.

Sol 1061: Opportunity acquired the second half of the baseline stereo pair of panoramic camera images, then proceeded driving around the Bay of Toil.

Sol 1062 (Jan. 18, 2007): Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images of a rock outcrop known as "Guam," exposed on the plains above the rim of Victoria Crater. The camera also photographed cobbles "Gallego," "Vasco" and "Gomes" along the rim. Opportunity acquired miniature thermal emission spectrometer data on Gallego, the soil next to Gallego, and Vasco. Plans called for Opportunity to take snapshots of comet McNaught the next morning.

Odometry:

As of sol 1061 (Jan. 17, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was 9,840 meters (6.1 miles).


sol 1049-1056, January 12, 2007: Opportunity Finds Another Meteorite

After wrapping up scientific studies of a rock called "Santa Catarina" on the rim of "Victoria Crater," Opportunity determined, based on analysis of the iron content, that the rock is probably a meteorite. Nearby cobbles appear to have similar composition, based on data from the Mössbauer spectrometer, panoramic camera, and miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Opportunity's itinerary will now take the rover in a northeasterly direction toward the crater's edge for a better look at the west face of "Cape Desire," on the other side of the "Bay of Toil."

On the morning of Opportunity's 1,048th sol, or Martian day, the rover entered auto mode, meaning that, in order to protect itself from a sequencing error, the rover cancelled all scheduled activities. Rover planners re-established control of all operating sequences on sol 1049 (Jan. 5, 2007).

Also on sol 1049, Opportunity performed additional diagnostic tests of the grinding motor that operates the rock abrasion tool. All signs point to a failed encoder. Rover handlers must now invent a new strategy for using the brush and grinder that does not rely on the encoder to sense when the device comes into contact with a rock surface. Team members anticipate they will be able to use the rock abrasion tool again in a few weeks.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, searching for clouds with the navigation camera, surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and imaging the sky with the panoramic camera, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1049 (Jan. 5, 2007): Opportunity conducted diagnostic tests of the rock abrasion tool, studied Santa Catarina using the Mössbauer spectrometer, acquired full-color, 13-filter panoramic images of cobbles known as "Ibirama" and "Xaxim," and studied a blue cobble known as "Igreja" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1050: Opportunity acquired full-color panoramic camera images of cobbles known as "Lajes" and "Pelotas," studied Lajes with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, took images of Lajes with the navigation camera, and analyzed Santa Catarina with the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 1051: Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images of the area where the rover is scheduled to drive, acquired data from a cobble known as "Mafra" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and collected additional data about Santa Catarina with the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 1052: Using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, Opportunity acquired images of Mafra and a cobble nicknamed "Peixe," scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and continued to analyze Santa Catarina using the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 1053: Opportunity acquired full-color images using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera of cobbles known as "Videira" and "Chapeco," scanned Videira and the background behind it using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and conducted analysis of Santa Catarina using the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 1054: Opportunity monitored dust accumulation on the rover's mast, surveyed the sky with the sun low on the horizon using the panoramic camera, and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1055: Plans called for Opportunity to back up and acquire panoramic camera images of Santa Catarina along with Mössbauer spectrometer data, turn northeast and drive toward Bay of Toil, take stereo images using the navigation camera, and acquire panoramic mosaics using the panoramic camera for help in planning the next drive to the edge of Victoria Crater.

Sol 1056 (Jan. 12, 2007): Opportunity was scheduled to conduct a sky survey using the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1053 (Jan. 9, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry remained at 9,790 meters (6.1 miles).


sol 1043-1048, January 05, 2007: Opportunity Studies Unusual Rocks on Rim of 'Victoria Crater'

Opportunity continued scientific studies of a rock called "Santa Catarina" on the rim of "Victoria Crater." Scientists suspect that Santa Catarina may be a meteorite or a rock blasted out from beneath the surface of Victoria. Opportunity collected extensive measurements to determine the iron content of the rock using the Mössbauer spectrometer and will continue to do so during the coming week.

Other activities included analysis of cobbles nearby that may be similar to Santa Catarina. Based on the results, members of the science team will either decide to stay and continue investigating the rocks or drive toward the next promontory of Victoria Crater.

Opportunity also conducted tests in support of the Phoenix mission to Mars scheduled for launch later this year. On the rover's 1,037th and 1,047th Martian days, or sols, of exploration (Dec. 24, 2006 and Jan. 3, 2007), Opportunity sent UHF-band transmissions to NASA's Odyssey spacecraft as it passed overhead. These communications mimicked those to be used by Phoenix.

During a routine imaging session on New Year's Day (sol 1045), Opportunity detected a stall in the grind motor of the rock abrasion tool. Subsequent diagnostic tests found no obstructions. More diagnostics were planned for sol 1049 (Jan. 5, 2007).

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, searching for clouds with the navigation camera, surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and imaging the sky with the panoramic camera, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1043 (Dec. 30, 2006): Opportunity studied the elemental composition of the Martian atmosphere with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover surveyed the surrounding plains, dust on the horizon, and the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1044: Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images to survey the soil, measure surface brightness, and scan the horizon. The rover scanned the plains, sky, and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1045: Opportunity acquired images of the grinding bit on the rock abrasion tool and microscopic images of Santa Catarina. The rover acquired elemental data about Santa Catarina using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1046: Using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera along with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Opportunity studied nearby cobbles nicknamed "Joacaba," "Tubarao," and "Igreja." The rover studied Santa Catarina using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1047: Opportunity conducted diagnostic tests of the rock abrasion tool, analyzed the iron composition of Santa Catarina using the Mössbauer spectrometer, and used all 13 filters of the panoramic camera along with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to acquire data from nearby cobbles nicknamed "Florianopolis" and "Xanxer." The rover conducted a communications demonstration for the Phoenix mission.

Sol 1048 (Jan. 4, 2006): Opportunity continued analysis of Santa Catarina with the Mössbauer spectrometer and used all 13 filters of the panoramic camera along with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to study nearby cobbles dubbed "Videira" and "Chapeco."

Odometry:

As of sol 1047 (Jan. 3, 2006), Opportunity's total odometry remained at 9,790 meters (6.1 miles).


sol 1038-1042, January 02, 2007: Opportunity Continues Survey from Rim of 'Victoria Crater'

Opportunity remains healthy after completing a drive to a cobble nicknamed "Santa Catarina" on the way to the "Bay of Toil" at "Victoria Crater." During the holiday break on Earth, Opportunity completed a campaign of scientific study of a rock target called "Rio De Janeiro" before driving away on Sol 1039 (Dec. 26, 2006). Opportunity's next activity was to begin the drive around the Bay of Toil toward "Cape Desire," the next promontory clockwise around Victoria's rim.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1038 (Dec. 25, 2006): Opportunity acquired data from Rio de Janeiro using the Mössbauer spectrometer, acquired images of cobbles in the vicinity using the panoramic camera, and monitored the rover mast for dust accumulation.

Sol 1039: Opportunity drove about 20 meters (66 feet) to the east toward the Bay of Toil.

Sol 1040: Opportunity studied the Martian atmosphere using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and scanned the sky with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1041: Opportunity drove approximately 10 meters (33 feet) east to Santa Catarina, then updated measurements of the rover's current position.

Sol 1042 (Dec. 29, 2006): Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images and miniature thermal emission spectrometer scans of the area immediately in front of the rover and then surveyed a broader portion of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1042 (Dec. 29, 2006), Opportunity's total odometry was 9,793 meters (6.09 miles).

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