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Opportunity Updates

M I S S I O N     M A N A G E R S   
Scott Lever, Mission manager Mike Seibert, Mission manager Al Herrera, Mission manager
Scott Lever Mike Seibert Al Herrera
P R E V I O U S    M I S S I O N    M A N A G E R S
Matt Keuneke, Mission Manager Cindy Oda, Mission Manager Rich Morris, Mission Manager Bill Nelson, Mission manager
Matt Keuneke Cindy Oda Richard Morris Bill Nelson
Byron Jones, Mission Manager Mark Adler, Mission Manager Leo Bister, Mission manager Beth Dewell, Mission Manager
Byron Jones Mark Adler Leo Bister Beth Dewell
Emily Eelkema, Mission Manager Jeff Favretto, Mission Manager Soina Ghandchi, Mission Manager Andy Mishkin, Mission Manager
Emily Eelkema Jeff Favretto Saina Ghandchi Andy Mishkin
Art Thompson, Mission Manager Rick Welch, Mission Manager Colette Lohr, Mission Manager Dan Gaines, Mission Manager
Art Thompson Rick Welch Colette Lohr Dan Gaines

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sols 2457-2464, December 22-29, 2010: Imaging Santa Maria Crater

Opportunity is continuing to explore the 80-meter (262-foot) diameter Santa Maria crater.

The exploration campaign includes wide-baseline imaging surveys with both navigation camera (Navcam) and panoramic camera (Pancam) from several points around the rim of the crater.

On Sol 2462 (Dec. 27, 2010), the rover backed away from her current rim survey location to move over 30 meters (98 feet) south to set up for another approach around the crater rim. On Sol 2464 (Dec. 29, 2010), Opportunity bumped about 7 meters (23 feet) to safely approach the rim for another wide-baseline imaging survey. After the completion of the image survey from that location, the rover will continue to move counter-clockwise around the crater for more imaging, and eventually positioning herself near the southeast portion of the rim for Solar Conjunction (starting late-January) for long-term in situ (contact) science with the Mössbauer (MB) spectrometer.

As of Sol 2464 (Dec. 29, 2010), solar array energy production was 578 watt-hours with a slightly elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.692 and a solar array dust factor of 0.620.

Total odometry is 26,505.64 meters (26.51 kilometers, or 16.47 miles).


sols 2451-2456, December 16-21, 2010: Rover Explores Santa Maria Crater

Opportunity has arrived at the 80-meter (262-foot) diameter Santa Maria crater, a stop on the way to Endeavour crater. The rover has begun taking long-baseline stereo imagery.

This is part of a larger campaign that also includes in-situ (contact) science, which is likely to extend through Solar Conjunction (through early February 2011). In addition to a sophisticated wide-baseline stereo imaging survey from several positions halfway around the crater, the rover will explore minerals located around the southeast portion of the crater using the instruments on the end of the rover's robotic arm.

Opportunity drove several times in the last week with drives on Sols 2451 (Dec. 16, 2010), 2452 (Dec. 17, 2010), and 2454 (Dec. 19, 2010), to get into position for imaging. Another morning Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) relay pass was sequenced and executed successfully on Sol 2456 (Dec. 21, 2010), returning 71 Mbits of data.

As of Sol 2456 (Dec. 21, 2010), solar array energy production was 595 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.727 and a solar array dust factor of 0.6407.

Total odometry is 26,467.74 meters (26.47 kilometers, 16.45 miles).


sols 2445-2450, December 09-15, 2010: Rover Arrives at Santa Maria Crater

Opportunity has arrived at the 80-meter (262-foot) diameter Santa Maria crater, a stop on the way to Endeavour crater.

Opportunity will conduct an in-situ (contact) science campaign at the crater, which will likely extend through Solar Conjunction (through early February 2011).

In addition to a sophisticated wide-baseline stereo-imaging survey from several positions halfway around the crater, the rover will explore minerals located around the southeast portion of the crater, using the instruments on the end of the rover's robotic arm.

Opportunity drove several times in the last week, with drives on Sols 2447 (Dec. 11, 2010), 2449 (Dec. 14, 2010), and 2450 (Dec. 15, 2010), totaling over 300 meters (984 feet). Morning Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) relay passes are being sequenced as power permits to off-load additional data from the rover, permitting more frequent drives.

As of Sol 2449 (Dec. 14, 2010), solar array energy production was 592 watt-hours, with a slightly elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.727 and a solar array dust factor of 0.6355.

Total odometry is 26,430.86 meters (26.43 kilometers, or 16.42 miles).


sols 2437-2444, December 01-08, 2010: Opportunity Surpasses 16 Miles of Driving!

Opportunity passed 26 kilometers (16 miles) of odometry as she approaches Santa Maria crater on her way to Endeavour crater. Santa Maria is an approximately 80-meter (262-foot) diameter crater that Opportunity will investigate before proceeding toward Endeavour.

Opportunity drove several times in the last week with drives on Sols 2438 (Dec. 2, 2010), 2441 (Dec. 5, 2010), 2442 (Dec. 6, 2010), 2443 (Dec. 7, 2010) and 2444 (Dec. 8, 2010), totaling over 560 meters (1837 feet). Recently, a morning Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) relay pass was added to the sequence plan for the rover. This will off-load even more data from the rover, permitting more frequent drives, as driving generates many data products.

As of Sol 2444 (Dec. 8, 2010), solar array energy production was 617 watt-hours with a slightly elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.736 and a solar array dust factor of 0.660.

Total odometry is 26,120.98 meters (26.12 kilometers, or 16.23 miles).


sols 2429-2436, November 23-30, 2010: Imaging Small Craters on the Way to Endeavour

Opportunity continues to make good progress towards Endeavour crater while collecting remote-sensing science observations (imaging) of small craters along the way.

The rover drove on Sols 2429 (Nov. 23, 2010), 2433 (Nov. 27, 2010), and 2436 (Nov. 30, 2010), covering over 81 meters (266 feet), 89 meters (292 feet) and 100 meters (328 feet), respectively. An alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) atmospheric argon measurement was performed on Sol 2430 (Nov. 24, 2010). The miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) elevation mirror is opened to the environment at regular intervals in the possibility of eventual cleaning by wind events. Wheel currents continue to be well-behaved during the extensive driving.

As of Sol 2436 (Nov. 30, 2010), solar array energy production was 587 watt-hours with a slightly elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.753 and a solar array dust factor of 0.645.

Total odometry is 25,555.33 meters (25.56 kilometers, or 15.88 miles).


sols 2424-2428, November 18-22, 2010: Making Progress to Endeavour Crater

Opportunity continues to make progress towards Endeavour crater while collecting remote-sensing science observations along the way.

The rover drove on Sols 2424 (Nov. 18, 2010), and 2427 (Nov. 21, 2010), covering over 133 meters (436 feet) and over 87 meters (285 feet), respectively on each sol. Multi-sol plans are being developed for the plan ahead to carry the rover through the Thanksgiving period.

As of Sol 2428 (Nov. 22, 2010), solar array energy production was 603 watt-hours with a slightly elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.716 and a solar array dust factor of 0.659.

Total odometry is 25,283.84 meters (25.28 kilometers, or 15.71 miles).


sols 2418-2423, November 12-17, 2010: Opportunity Checks out Intrepid Crater

Opportunity has been navigating through a field of small impact craters on her way to Endeavour crater.

Opportunity has exceeded 25 kilometers (15 miles) of odometry on the surface of Mars!

The rover spent a few days imaging the interior of Intrepid crater, one of a collection of small impact craters in this area. On Sol 2420 (Nov. 14, 2010), Opportunity departed Intrepid, driving over 116 meters (381 feet) and crossing the 25-kilometer odometry mark. During the drive, the rover collected some mid-drive imaging of Intrepid from a different vantage point.

The Stardust safe-mode entry affected Deep Space Network coverage for the Odyssey orbiter, which delayed the return of some relay data for Opportunity. As of Sol 2422 (Nov. 16, 2010), solar array energy production was 596 watt-hours with a slightly elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.769 and a solar array dust factor of 0.670.

Total odometry is 25,063.18 meters (25.06 kilometers, or 15.57 miles).


sols 2411-2417, November 05-11, 2010: Driving Through a Field of Small Craters

Opportunity has been navigating through a field of small impact craters on her way to Endeavour crater.

On Sol 2411 (Nov. 5, 2010), the rover performed an in-place 40-degree turn for communication. This improved the data volume transmitted over the afternoon orbiter Ultra High Frequency relay pass. Then on Sol 2412 (Nov. 6, 2010), Opportunity began her approach to Intrepid crater, a 20-meter (66-foot) diameter crater to the southwest. The rover performed a 96-meter (315-foot) drive, with the last 12 meters (39 feet) of the drive under autonomous navigation. On Sol 2415 (Nov. 9, 2010), Opportunity completed the approach to Intrepid with a 36-meter (118 foot) drive, positioning the rover safely near the crater's rim. Opportunity will spend the next few days imaging the interior of the crater before driving away.

As of Sol 2416 (Nov. 10, 2010), solar array energy production was 612 watt-hours with a slightly elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.704 and a solar array dust factor of 0.681.

Total odometry is 24,946.12 meters (24.95 kilometers, 15.50 miles).


sols 2403-2410, October 27 - November 04, 2010: Full Week of Driving Past Set of Craters

It has been a week of driving for Opportunity. She drove on five of the last seven sols and covered over 400 meters (1,312 feet).

As the rover makes her way toward Endeavour crater, she is taking a path that passes by a set of small impact craters for some drive-by imaging. On Sols 2403 (Oct. 27, 2010), 2404 (Oct. 28, 2010), and 2405 (Oct. 29, 2010), Opportunity drove 129 meters (423 feet), 44 meters (144 feet) and 89 meters (292 feet), respectively in roughly an East/Southeast direction with some pre- and mid-drive imaging to capture some of the impact craters along the way.

Over the weekend, the rover performed an atmospheric argon measurement with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) and used the new autonomous exploration for gathering increased science (AEGIS) software to collect some autonomous science imaging.

On Sol 2409 (Nov. 2, 2010), Opportunity resumed driving, covering about 38 meters (125 feet) with some mid- and post-drive imaging. Another drive on Sol 2410 (Nov. 4, 2010), had the rover going more than 100 meters (328 feet) with close drive-bys of more impact craters. On the morning of Sol 2410 (Nov. 4, 2010), the rover woke early to catch an image of the transit of Phobos across the Martian sky with the Panoramic camera (Pancam).

As of Sol 2409 (Nov. 2, 2010), solar array energy production was 610 watt-hours with a slightly elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.646 and a solar array dust factor of 0.678.

Total odometry is 24,813.42 meters (24.81 kilometers, or 15.42 miles).


sols 2396-2402, October 20-26, 2010: Opportunity Keeps on Driving to Endeavour Crater

Over the past week, Opportunity completed a short bump before the weekend and two long drives after the weekend.

The short bump was a 3-meter (10-foot) move on Sol 2397 (Oct. 21, 2010), to position an interesting geologic contact within the reach of the robotic arm instruments. On Sol 2399 (Oct. 23, 2010), the robotic arm (Instrument Development Device, IDD) collected an Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic then placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the surface target "Puerto Jimenez" for a long integration.

Completing the brief in-situ (contact) science campaign, Opportunity drove away with a 122-meter (400-foot) drive on Sol 2401 (Oct. 25, 2010). High-quality range data with the Pancam stereo imaging has enabled rover drives beyond 100 meters (328 feet).

On the next sol, the rover was able to cover over 93 meters (305 feet). More driving is in the plan ahead for Opportunity.

As of Sol 2402 (Oct. 26, 2010), solar array energy production was 585 watt-hours with a slightly elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.670 and a solar array dust factor of 0.682.

Total odometry is 24,411.48 meters (24.41 kilometers, or 15.17 miles).


sols 2389-2395, October 13-19, 2010: Opportunity Past the 15-Mile Mark on Mars

Opportunity crossed the 24-kilometer (15-mile) odometry mark on her way to Endeavour crater.

The rover ended last week with the data backlog which limited activities over the weekend. On Sol 2390 (Oct. 14, 2010), the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) was sequenced to collect an atmospheric argon measurement along with light remote sensing. Not until Sol 2393 (Oct. 17, 2010), were onboard data volumes improved so a drive could be sequenced. On that sol, Opportunity drove over 100 meters (328 feet), crossing the 24-kilometer (15 mile) odometry mark.

The rover drove again on Sol 2395 (Oct. 19, 2010), again reaching over 100 meters (328 miles). Even though the Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES) instrument is still under investigation, the Mini-TES elevation mirror continues to be opened to the environment at regular intervals in the chance of catching a wind-induced cleaning event.

As of Sol 2395 (Oct. 19, 2010), solar array energy production was 627 watt-hours with a slightly elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.639 and a solar array dust factor of 0.7015.

Total odometry is 24,192.63 meters (24.19 kilometers, or 15.03 miles).


sols 2383-2388, October 07-12, 2010: Rover Nears 15 Miles of Driving on Mars

Opportunity drove only once this past week, nearing the 24-kilometer (15-mile) odometry mark.

On Sol 2382 (Oct. 6, 2010), the rover covered over 94 meters (308 feet) on her trek to Endeavour crater. With the use of autonomous navigation, the rover collects many more data products which fill the available flash memory. So occasionally, time has to be taken to work off this data backlog, limiting driving and other activities in the interim. The process was delayed due to a temporary Deep Space Network antenna outage this week that prevented the uplink of a data management sequence to re-prioritize, retransmit and delete certain data products.

Driving is expected to resume as soon as the data management sequences can be executed onboard the rover. As of Sol 2388 (Oct. 12, 2010), solar array energy production was 607 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.518 and a solar array dust factor of 0.691.

Total odometry is 23,991.43 meters (23.99 kilometers, or 14.91 miles).


sols 2376-2382, September 30 - October 06, 2010: Rover Hits the Road Again

After spending time investigating a meteorite, Opportunity has resumed the trek to Endeavour crater with drives totaling over 370 meters (1,214 feet) for the past week.

On Sol 2377 (Oct. 1, 2010), the rover drove over 100 meters (328 feet), making a "bank shot" maneuver to avoid some troubling terrain. On Sol 2379 (Oct. 3, 2010), the rover performed a test of autonomous navigation using only the rear hazardous avoidance cameras (Hazcams). The test was successful with the rover completing just about of 92 meters (302 feet) for the day. This new autonomous driving technique may enable longer, backward drives each sol.

On Sol 2381 (Oct. 5, 2010), Opportunity headed northeast to rejoin the original path to Endeavour crater, covering about 86 meters (282 feet). The rover drove again on the next sol moving another 93 meters (305 feet) along its way to Endeavour.

As of Sol 2382 (Oct. 6, 2010), solar array energy production was 610 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.538 and a solar array dust factor of 0.716.

Total odometry is 23,897.09 meters (23.90 kilometers, or 14.85 miles).


sols 2370-2375, September 23-29, 2010: Opportunity Confirms 'Oileán Ruaidh' is Iron Meteorite

This week Opportunity approached an interesting surface target, the meteorite "Oileán Ruaidh."

The rover performed an in-situ investigation of the nickel-iron meteorite prior to resuming the trek to Endeavour crater. On Sol 2370 (Sept. 23, 2010), Opportunity made a short 2-meter (7 foot) bump to a location where the south-southwest face of Oileán Ruaidh would be reachable by the instrument deployment device. On Sol 2371 (Sept. 24, 2010), the rover used the microscopic imager to collect imagery of two locations on Oileán Ruaidh. These locations were named "Mulroy A" and "Mulroy B."

After collecting the microscopic imagery, the alpha particle X-Ray spectrometer (APXS) was placed on Mulroy B for a series of three measurements over the three-sol weekend plan. The findings from the APXS confirmed that Oileán Ruaidh is a nickle-iron meteorite.

On Sol 2374 (Sept. 28, 2010), Opportunity resumed the trek to Endeavour with a 100-meter (328 foot) drive. The rover drove again on the next sol, covering just over 62 meters (203 feet).

As of Sol 2375 (Sept. 29, 2010), solar array energy production was 607 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.520 and a solar array dust factor of 0.7095.

Total odometry is 23,525.07 meters (23.53 kilometers, or 14.62 miles).


sols 2362-2369, September 15-22, 2010: Opportunity Spies Meteorite

Opportunity spied another large meteorite on her way to Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 2363 (Sept. 16, 2010), the rover drove over 80 meters (262 feet) towards the putative meteorite, which is favorably along the route to Endeavour. Also on Sol 2363, another diagnostic test of the mössbauer (MB) spectrometer was performed, this time at an intermediate temperature. The moessbauer worked normally throughout the diagnostic test.

On Sol 2367 (Sept. 20, 2010), Opportunity performed a 36-meter (118-foot) approach to the meteorite, driving backwards, with a deliberate drive-by in order the face the rover for a forward approach. Targeted imaging was also part of the drive-by activities. On Sol 2368 (Sept. 21, 2010), the rover performed a 9-meter (30-foot) semi-circumnavigation of the meteorite with detailed targeted imaging. A closer approach to the meteorite for in-situ (contact) investigation with the robotic arm instruments is being planned.

As of Sol 2369 (Sept. 22, 2010), solar array energy production was 570 watt-hours with a slightly increased atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.607 and the solar array dust factor of 0.724.

Total odometry is 23,360.65 meters (23.36 kilometers, or 14.52 miles).


sols 2356-2361, September 09-14, 2010: Opportunity Tests New Driving Skills

Opportunity continued making progress towards Endeavour Crater, testing new driving techniques along the way.

On Sol 2358 (Sept. 11, 2010), the rover drove over 106 meters (348 feet) in a series of steps. The last segment of the long drive was a simulated test of autonomous navigation (AutoNav) using rear hazard avoidance camera (Hazcam) imagery, while driving backwards. Autonomous navigation is limited for backwards driving because the rover's low-gain antenna (LGA) is in the field of view for the mast (PMA) mounted cameras. The rear hazard avoidance cameras don't have that obstruction. Further tests of the technique are being planned.

Opportunity drove again on Sol 2361 (Sept. 14, 2010), covering over 54 meters (177 feet) to the southeast. Investigation of the Mössbauer (MB) spectrometer continues. A test of the MB at cold temperatures was performed on Sol 2358 (Sept. 11, 2010). That test exhibited the anomalous instrument behavior at both the start and the end of the 30-minute integration. An earlier test (on Sol 2355, Sept. 8, 2010) at warmer temperatures had the instrument functioning normally. Tests at other temperatures are planned to map the temperature-dependent behavior. As of Sol 2361 (Sept. 14, 2010), solar array energy production was 577 watt-hours with a slightly increased atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.568 and the solar array dust factor of 0.740.

Total odometry is 23,234.31 meters (23.23 kilometers, or 14.44 miles).


sols 2349-2355, September 02-08, 2010: Opportunity is Halfway to Endeavour Crater

Opportunity has passed 23 kilometers (about 14 miles) of total odometry and is now past the halfway point to Endeavour Crater.

The rover completed three long drives this past week to cross the next integer kilometer mark. On Sol 2349 (Sept. 2, 2010), Opportunity drove about 80 meters (262 feet) to the east. After a holiday weekend pause, the rover resumed driving again on Sol 2353 (Sept. 6, 2010), with an east by south drive totaling 111 meters (364 feet). Excellent image-based range data along with more sunlight has enabled longer drives. On Sol 2355 (Sept. 8, 2010), Opportunity completed another long drive of approximately 105 meters (344 feet). Also on Sol 2355, a Mössbauer diagnostics was run to investigate the instrument anomaly observed last week. Further diagnostics are being developed.

As of Sol 2355 (Sept. 8, 2010), solar array energy production was 572 watt-hours with atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.371 and the solar array dust factor of 0.732.

Total odometry is 23,073.69 meters (23.07 kilometers, or 14.34 miles).


sols 2342-2348, August 25 - September 01, 2010: Opportunity Studies Interesting Rocks

Opportunity finished her campaign to examine an exposed outcrop of rock that was of interest to the science team.

On Sol 2342 (Aug. 26, 2010), the rover's robotic arm (Instrument Deployment Device, IDD) collected a single microscopic imager (MI) image of the target, "Laya Beach" and a MI mosaic of the target, "Cervera Shoal." On the next sol, the moessbauer (MB) spectrometer was placed on the Cervera Shoal for a multi-sol integration. However, an anomaly was observed with the moessbauer spectrometer. The lead scientist for the spectrometer reported that the instrument voice coil did not indicate motion, although the moessbauer detectors appeared functioning. The project has opened an incident, surprise, anomaly (ISA) report and is investigating.

Opportunity has since resumed driving. On Sol 2347 (Aug. 31, 2010), the rover made almost 89 meters (292 feet) of progress. On the next sol, Opportunity covered only about 40 meters (131 feet) because of the limited driving time due to a late communication handover.

As of Sol 2348 (Sept. 1, 2010), solar array energy production was 579 watt-hours with atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.461 and the solar array dust factor of 0.729.

Total odometry is 22,776.94 meters (22.78 kilometers, or 14.15 miles).


sols 2336-2341, August 19-25, 2010: Opportunity Stops to Check Out Rocks

Opportunity has paused in her trek toward Endeavour crater to examine an exposed outcrop of rock that is of interest to the science team.

On Sol 2336 (Aug. 19, 2010), the rover performed a 7-meter (23-foot) backward turn with a forward bump to approach the outcrop contact. On the next sol, Opportunity performed a short turn to place surface targets within reach of the robotic arm (Instrument Deployment Device, IDD). On Sol 2339 (Aug. 23, 2010), Opportunity conducted a relay test pass with Mars Express as part of a regular checkout of the Mars Express relay. On the next sol, the rover used the robotic arm to collect a microscopic imager (MI) mosaic of a surface target, called "Clarin Beach," which was followed by a placement of the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) on the same target for integration. On Sol 2341 (Aug. 25, 2010), Opportunity continued the investigation of this outcrop contact, collecting another set of microscopic imager mosaics of new targets and then a placement of the APXS on a target called "Duero Beach."

As of Sol 2340 (Aug. 24, 2010), solar array energy production was 562 watt-hours with atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.334 and the solar array dust factor of 0.7285.

Total odometry as is 22,647.85 meters (22.65 kilometers, or 14.07 miles).


sols 2329-2335, August 12-18, 2010: Opportunity Keeps on Driving to Endeavour Crater

Opportunity again drove five times in the past week, adding more to the total rover odometry as she makes her way to Endeavour crater.

The rover drove on Sols 2329, 2330, 2333, 2334 and 2335 (Aug. 12, 13, 16, 17 and 18), totaling over 330 meters (1,083 feet). The rover has been driving with long (about 70 meter, or 230 foot) commanded drives followed by short drive segments of autonomous navigation (AutoNav) to extend the drive distance each sol.

A diagnostic test was conducted on the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) instrument on Sol 2332 (Aug. 15, 2010). The instrument exhibited the same anomalous behavior as back on Sol 2257 (May 30, 2010). The project and instrument team are continuing to investigate.

As of Sol 2334 (Aug. 17, 2010), solar array energy production was 581 watt-hours with atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.484 and the solar array dust factor of 0.749.

Total odometry is 22,640.31 meters (22.64 kilometers, or 14.07 miles).


sols 2321-2328, August 04-11, 2010: Opportunity Drives Five Times This Week

Opportunity drove five times in the past week, crossing 22 kilometers (13.67 miles) of total odometry.

The rover drove on Sols 2322, 2324, 2326, 2327 and 2328 (Aug. 5, 7, 9, 10 and 11), totaling over 350 meters (1,148 feet). The rover has been driving with long (approximately 70 meters, 230 feet) commanded drives followed by short drive segments of autonomous navigation (AutoNav) to extend the drive distance each sol.

On Sol 2325 (Aug. 8, 2010) another Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS) autonomous science observation was performed. This time the algorithm did not identify any scientifically interesting targets in the collected images.

As of Sol 2328 (Aug. 11, 2010), solar array energy production was 528 watt-hours with atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.460 and the solar array dust factor of 0.750.

Total odometry is 22,309.05 meters (22.31 kilometers, or 13.86 miles).


sols 2314-2320, July 28 - August 03, 2010: Opportunity Performs Science, Rolls to Endeavour Crater

Opportunity took advantage of some exposed rock outcrop to perform an in-situ (contact) science campaign to sample the surface at roughly one-kilometer (0.62-mile) intervals.

On Sol 2315 (July 29, 2010), the rover performed a short 16-meter (52-foot) drive to position herself on exposed outcrop for a weekend science campaign. On Sol 2317 (July 31, 2010), the robotic arm (instrument deployment device, or IDD) was moved first, so the panoramic camera (Pancam) could image the work volume. Then the IDD collected a microscopic imager (MI) mosaic of a surface target, called Valparaiso, followed by the placement of the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) on the same target for integration. More remote sensing science was collected on the following sols. On Sol 2320, Opportunity resumed the drive toward Endeavour crater with a 71-meter (233-foot) drive to the southeast.

As of Sol 2320 (Aug. 3, 2010), solar array energy production was 529 watt-hours with atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.415 and the solar array dust factor of 0.744.

Total odometry is 21,948.13 meters (21.95 kilometers, or 13.64 miles).


sols 2308-2313, July 22-27, 2010: Opportunity Back to Normal Operations

Opportunity's activities were impacted by the Odyssey spacecraft safe-mode event. However, with the recovery of Odyssey, normal operations with the rover have resumed.

Direct-to-Earth (DTE) X-band communications and some Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter relay passes were used by Opportunity, while Odyssey was unavailable to support data relay.

On Sol 2309 (July 23, 2010), Opportunity collected remote sensing images along with an atmospheric argon measurement with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS). On Sol 2311 (July 25, 2010), driving resumed with a 20-meter (66 feet) east/southeast backward drive, followed by an 8-meter (26 feet) test of backwards-driving hazard avoidance. The hazard avoidance test was successful and supports the use of hazard avoidance for backward driving on longer drives.

As of Sol 2313 (July 27, 2010), solar array energy production has improved to 533 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was re-calibrated and now reports a higher value of 0.558 with the solar array dust factor of 0.795.

Total odometry is 21,860.62 meters (21.86 kilometers, or 13.58 miles).


sols 2301-2307, July 15-21, 2010: Opportunity in Good Health and Continues to Drive, Despite Lack of Downlink

Due to Odyssey's safing event none of the planned Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) downlink passes for this period occurred.

All available X-band passes (which are normally uplink only) were changed to two-way, but supportable downlink data rates for these passes are low, and only basic engineering telemetry was received. However, this was enough data to determine that the rover continued to be in good health.

As a result of the lack of downlink data, very little in the way of activity was performed on the rover. A drive that had been designed based on Sol 2300 (July 14, 2010) data was uplinked and executed on Sol 2301 (July 15, 2010), and the telemetry available indicates that this drive ran nominally.

Insufficient data is available to update power numbers, but as of Sol 2300 (July 14, 2010), solar array energy production had improved to 492 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.223 and the solar array dust factor was 0.700.

Total odometry as of Sol 2307 (July 21, 2010), is estimated at approximately 21,830 meters (21.83 kilometers, or 13.56 miles).


sols 2295-2300, July 08-14, 2010: Wind Cleans Solar Panels

Opportunity's driving campaign toward Endeavour Crater has benefitted from a recent solar array dust-cleaning event.

The rover began the past reporting week with a drive of just over 68 meters (223 feet) on Sol 2295 (July 8, 2010). The rover then spent the weekend conducting a robotic arm campaign on a surface target called "Juneau Road Cut," collecting both Microscopic Imager (MI) image stacks and an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) integration.

On Sol 2298 (July 11, 2010), Opportunity's solar arrays experienced a dust-cleaning event. This boosted energy production to over 400 watt-hours (a 100-watt light bulb that burns for one hour uses 100 watt-hours of electricity). The previous week, solar array output was about 350 watt hours per day. With the extra energy from the Sol 2298 cleaning event, Opportunity was able to perform back-to-back drives on Sols 2299 and 2300 (July 12 and 14, 2010), each over 70 meters (230 feet).

As of Sol 2300 (July 14, 2010), solar array energy production has improved to 492 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.223 and the solar array dust factor improved to 0.700.

Total odometry is 21,760.61 meters (21.76 kilometers, or 13.52 miles).


sols 2287-2294, June 30 - July 07, 2010: Opportunity Has Two More Drives

Opportunity drove twice, tested the autonomous exploration for gathering increased science, or AEGIS software, and collected an atmospheric argon measurement over the past week.

The rover drove on Sol 2288 (July 1, 2010), covering about 71 meters (233 feet) in a simple zigzag pattern to the east. Over the 4th of July weekend, Opportunity performed two more tests of the AEGIS autonomous pointing software and collected an atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). On Sol 2293 (July 6, 2010), Opportunity drove again heading east and covering another 71 meters (233 feet).

As of Sol 2294 (July 7, 2010), solar array energy production has improved to 359 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.226 and the solar array dust factor is 0.577.

Total odometry is 21,550.77 meters (21.55 kilometers, or 13.99 miles).


sols 2280-2286, June 23-29, 2010: Opportunity Keeps on Driving to Endeavour Crater

Opportunity continues to make good progress toward Endeavour crater as solar energy levels improve.

On Sol 2281 (June 24, 2010), the rover completed over 70 meters (230 feet), driving east/southeast. On Sol 2283 (June 26, 2010), the rover headed 57 meters (187 feet) to the northeast to avoid some large ripples. The rover drove again on Sol 2286 (June 29, 2010), covering over 70 meters (230 feet) to the east.

As of Sol 2286 (June 29, 2010), solar array energy production has improved to 354 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.295 and the solar array dust factor is 0.577.

Total odometry is 21,408.21 meters (21.41 kilometers, or 13.30 miles).


sols 2273-2279, June 16-22, 2010: Opportunity Completes Three Drives This Week

Opportunity has been making good progress toward Endeavour crater with three drives in the past week.

On Sol 2274 (June 17, 2010), the rover completed over 60 meters (197 feet) driving due east. On Sol 2276 (June 19, 2010), the rover made a small J-turn to avoid a ripple and then headed 72 meters (236 feet) east. With this drive, Opportunity has passed the distance for a half-marathon (21,097.5 meters, or 13 miles).

The rover drove again on Sol 2279 (June 22, 2010), covering over 70 meters (230 feet) to the east/southeast.

As of Sol 2279 (June 22, 2010), solar array energy production has improved to 320 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.257 and the solar array dust factor is 0.5585.

Total odometry is 21,209.69 meters (21.21 kilometers, or 13.18 miles).


sols 2267-2272, June 10-15, 2010: Opportunity Breaks 13 Miles on Mars!

Opportunity is driving again and has now covered 21 kilometers (13 miles) of odometry on Mars.

The pancam mast assembly (PMA) azimuth error from Sol 2257 (May 30, 2010), has been attributed to a problem within the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) instrument. An investigation of the Mini-TES is ongoing. The PMA has been restored to operation for imaging (not Mini-TES use).

On Sol 2267 (June 10, 2010), a quick fine attitude (QFA) was performed to refine the rover's attitude knowledge and to correct for gyro drift. Additional drive direction imagery was also collected. On Sol 2270 (June 13, 2010), Opportunity drove for the first time since the PMA anomaly, covering over 70 meters (230 feet). The rover drove again on Sol 2272 (June 15, 2010), achieving almost 72 meters (236 feet) of distance to the east.

As of Sol 2272 (June 15, 2010), solar array energy production was 297 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.280 and the solar array dust factor is 0.570.

Total odometry is 21,005.47 meters (21.00 kilometers, or 13.05 miles).


sols 2261-2266, June 03-09, 2010: Return to Driving Anticipated

The pancam mast assembly (PMA) azimuth error from Sol 2257 (May 30, 2010), is still being resolved on Opportunity, although with a likely explanation in hand.

Diagnostics were run on Sols 2259, 2261, 2262 and 2265 (June 1, 3, 4 and 8). In every case, the diagnostics indicated a healthy PMA azimuth actuator. Further investigation now suggests that the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) is the origin of the PMA symptom and that the PMA was just waiting on a signal from the Mini-TES that never arrived. Anomalous symptoms were observed from the Mini-TES earlier on Sol 2250 (May 23, 2010). Investigations are underway on the instrument. Meanwhile, final checkouts are being performed to return the PMA to normal use and to resume driving.

As of Sol 2266 (June 9, 2010), solar array energy production was 287 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.465 (Sol 2256) and the solar array dust factor improved to 0.589.

Total odometry is 20,862.01 meters (20.86 kilometers, or 12.96 miles).


sols 2254-2260, May 27 - June 02, 2010: Power Improves with Passing of Winter Solstice

With the passing of the winter solstice and improving power, Opportunity continues to drive towards Endeavour crater.

On Sol 2254 (May 27, 2010), the rover drove about 26 meters (85 feet) to the south/south east. Opportunity drove again on Sol 2256 (May 29, 2010), for about 25 meters (82 feet). But on Sol 2257 (May 30, 2010), a fault occurred with the pancam mast assembly (PMA) that supports the science and navigation cameras. The azimuth joint of the PMA did not move when commanded. On Sol 2259 (June 1, 2010), a set of diagnostic tests were run on the PMA azimuth joint, as well as other actuators as a control. The PMA was found to be okay, which does not explain the earlier fault. So the project is continuing the investigation with more diagnostic tests.

As of Sol 2260 (June 2, 2010), solar array energy production was 269 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.465 (Sol 2256) and the solar array dust factor improved to 0.566.

Total odometry is 20,862.01 meters (20.86 kilometers, or 12.96 miles).


sols 2247-2253, May 20-26, 2010: Solar Panels Get Minor Cleaning

Opportunity has benefited from a small (about 10 percent) dust cleaning event on her solar arrays on or about Sol 2246 (May 19, 2010). This improves the available energy for the rover. With the passing of the winter solstice, temperatures should be improving, as well.

On Sol 2247 (May 20, 2010), Opportunity completed another successful checkout of the autonomous exploration for gathering increased science (AEGIS) software. On Sol 2250 (May 23, 2010), an old problem reappeared with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES). Short interferograms (incomplete instrument science data) are being produced by the instrument. The instrument otherwise shows no anomalies (with the exception of the known dust contamination on the external elevation mirror). The short interferogram problem was last seen several winters ago. The project is investigating.

On Sol 2252 (May 25, 2010), the rover was able to drive over 56 meters (184 feet) to the east/southeast as she makes her way toward Endeavour Crater. With the improved energy production, more driving is being planned for the period ahead.

As of Sol 2253 (May 26, 2010), solar array energy production increased to 275 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.317 and the solar panel dust factor improved to 0.530.

Total odometry is 20,810.90 meters (20.81 kilometers, or 12.93 miles).


ssols 2240-2246, May 13-19, 2010: Recharging Between Drives

With the winter solstice just passed, Opportunity is constrained by power and must recharge between drives.

The rover had an extended stay on the north facing site, referred to as a Lily Pad that it reached on Sol 2240 (May 13, 2010). The favorable northerly tilt provided an increase in power for extra remote science and a MarsQuake experiment. The MarsQuake experiment conducted on Sol 2242 (May 15, 2010), is designed to use the accelerometers in Opportunity's inertial measurement unit (IMU) as a seismometer. This is only possible when the rover is not in motion, as normal vehicle acceleration will mask any acceleration due to seismic activity. To date no MarsQuakes have been detected during the experiments.

On Sol 2245 (May 18, 2010), Opportunity was commanded to drive 55.5 meters (182 feet) south in search of another north facing Lily Pad. The only identifiable Lily Pads to the south were just five and 12 meters (16 to 39 feet) away. Opportunity was commanded to check if she had reached a favorable northerly tilt during the last half of the drive and stop there. Opportunity did not reach the required northerly and drove instead the full commanded distance. This driving strategy balances progress towards Endeavour Crater with the need to maximize solar array power output during the depth winter.

As of Sol 2245 (May 18, 2010), solar array energy production was 232 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.421 and the solar panel dust factor was 0.461.

Total odometry is 20,754.39 meters (20.75 kilometers, or 12.90 miles).


ssols 2233-2239, May 06-12, 2010: Driving to Solar Energy 'Lily Pads'

With the winter solstice at hand, Opportunity has been constrained by power and drove only once in the last week.

The project is doing something new, driving Opportunity to solar energy "lily pads," places with a modest northerly tilt. On Sol 2234 (May 7, 2010), Opportunity drove about 15 meters (49 feet) and positioned herself with a slight northerly tilt on a small ripple. A drive is planned for Sol 2240 (May 13, 2010), to repeat the technique. Opportunity has been staying awake longer, warming her electronics, to avoid relying on power-hungry survival heaters. This means less energy goes into the batteries for recharging and reducing the amount of driving. Solar energy conditions should start to improve as the winter solstice passes.

As of Sol 2239 (May 12, 2010), solar array energy production was 249 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.314 and the solar panel dust factor was 0.470.

Total odometry is 20,672.90 meters (20.67 kilometers, or 12.85 miles).


sols 2227-2232, April 30 - May 05, 2010: Opportunity Drives Twice This Week

Opportunity drove twice in this latest period and took time in between to recharge her batteries.

The drive on Sol 2228 (May 1, 2010) covered about 29 meters (95 feet). The next drive was on Sol 2231(May 4, 2010), achieved almost 33 meters (108 feet), the most that can be achieved with the available energy so close to the winter solstice.

A complicating factor for Opportunity during this winter period is that she has to balance her recharge efforts against the need to stay warm. That is, if she doesn't expend a minimum amount of energy into the electronics during a given sol, she risks thermostatic heaters coming on that will consume even greater amounts of energy. So the project has lengthened Opportunity's awake time, which reduces the battery recharging.

As of Sol 2232 (May 5, 2010), solar array energy production was 245 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.322 and the solar panel dust factor was 0.462.

Total odometry is 20,658.03 meters (20.66 Kilometers, or 12.84 miles).


sols 2219-2226, April 21-28, 2010: Opportunity's Balancing Act

Opportunity drove twice in the last week. The rover took time in between drives to recharge her batteries and performed a soil campaign with the instrument deployment device (IDD).

The drives took place on Sols 2220 (April 22, 2010), and 2226 (April 28, 2010). The drive on Sol 2220 (April 22, 2010) halted after about 10 meters (33 feet) when a slip check failed while traversing the soft side of a sand dune. Post drive analysis determined that this slip-check failure was of the type that is expected occasionally from driving in this terrain and did not indicate a fundamental change in hazard level. Therefore, following the completion of the IDD soil campaign, a drive was planned for Sol 2226 (April 28, 2010), which executed nominally and added approximately 33 meters (108 feet) of progress.

A complicating factor for Opportunity during this winter period is that she has to balance her recharge efforts against the need to stay warm. That is, if she doesn't expend a minimum amount of energy into the electronics during a given sol, she risks thermostatic heaters coming on that will consume even greater amounts of energy. At this point, this balancing act is primarily an impact on driving as Opportunity can at anytime park herself on a sunny northerly slope to satisfy survival requirements.

As of Sol 2226 (April 28, 2010), the solar array energy production was 245 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.355 and a dust factor of 0.4695.

Total odometry is 20,596.37 meters (20.60 kilometers, or 12.80 miles).


sols 2212-2218, April 14-20, 2010: Recharging Batteries in Between Drives

Opportunity drove three times in the last week, spending time between drives to recharge her batteries. Because of the approaching winter solstice, solar array energy levels have been dropping.

Opportunity must pause from driving for a sol or two to recharge her batteries sufficiently to drive again. On Sol 2213 (April15, 2010), Opportunity drove about 66 meters (217 feet). After recharging on Sol 2214 (April 16, 2010), the rover drove on Sol 2215 (April 17, 2010), traveling only about 36 meters (118 feet). With two sols of recharging, Opportunity drove on Sol 2218 (April 20, 2010), achieving almost 66 meters (217 feet).

The plan ahead is more driving as energy allows. As of Sol 2218 (April 20, 2010), the solar array energy production was 247 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.348 and a dust factor of 0.4995.

Total odometry is 20,553.25 meters (20.55 kilometers, or 12.77 miles).


sols 2205-2211, April 7-13, 2010: Picking Up Pace to Endeavour Crater

Opportunity has picked up the pace a little as she presses on toward Endeavour crater, recharging her batteries between drives.

First, the rover must clear a region of large ripples, so Opportunity is heading south before the turn to the East. Sols 2206 (April 8, 2010) and 2208 (April 10, 2010), each saw a roughly 50-meter (164-foot) drive straight south. On Sol 2211 (April 13, 2010), Opportunity drove 30 meters (98 feet) east, deliberately crossing a series of ripples to collect terrain data that will be used to calibrate simulation software. That software will help design future drives.

The right-front and right-middle wheel are exhibiting modestly elevated motor current levels, which the project continues to watch. The plan ahead is more driving. As of Sol 2211 (April 13, 2010), the solar array energy production was 227 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.347 and a dust factor of 0.474.

Total odometry is 20,385.31 meters (20.39 kilometers, or 12.67 miles).


sols 2200-2204, April 2-6, 2010: Sharp Turns Make Driving Difficult

Opportunity had a couple of difficult moves this week.

After taking some time to recharge her batteries, the rover attempted a drive on Sol 2202 (April 4, 2010). That drive stopped after the initial arc turn due to elevated current draw in the motors on the right side of the rover. The rover is between two ripples with the space in between forming a bowl. The rover had to push harder on the right to make the sharp turn. Conservatively-set current limits stopped the drive, as a way for controllers on the ground to assess the driving conditions before proceeding.

With everything looking okay, another drive on Sol 2204 (April 6, 2010), was commanded. It too began with a short, sharp arc. This time the drive stopped after a short distance because of wheel slip exceeding the limit of 40 percent. Again ground controllers assessed the conditions and found no problems. With these sharp turns, the rover's wheels must impart more thrust. When the wheel thrust exceeds the shear strength of the terrain, slip occurs.

Opportunity will drive again on Sol 2206 (April 8, 2010). This time the rover is already aligned with the drive direction, so no sharp turns are needed. Extra slip checks will be performed to make sure there are no terrain issues. As of Sol 2204 (April 6, 2010), the solar array energy production was 235 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.371 (from Sol 2199) and a dust factor of 0.500.

Total odometry is 20,247.56 meters (20.25 kilometers, or 12.58 miles).


sols 2192-2199, March 25 - April 01, 2010: Opportunity Drives By Twin Craters

Opportunity has been driving, making good progress toward Endeavour crater. The rover has had to pause between drives to recharge her batteries because of the diminishing sunlight during the advance into winter.

On Sol 2193 (March 26, 2010), Opportunity drove about 68 meters (223 feet) towards a pair of highly eroded craters. On the next sol, the rover performed a drive-by imaging of the twin craters, covering about 55 meters (180 feet). Further driving next to the twin craters was performed on Sol 2197 (March 30, 2010), getting a good look inside, with the rover covering about 30 meters (98 feet) of distance. On Sol 2199 (April 1, 2010), Opportunity left the area of the twin craters with a 50-meter (164-foot) drive and resumed her push toward Endeavour, still many kilometers away. Opportunity will rest from driving on Sol 2200 (April 2, 2010) to recharge her batteries. As of Sol 2199 (April 1, 2010), the solar array energy production was 238 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.371 and a dust factor of 0.501. Total odometry is 20,245.20 meters (20.25 kilometers, or 12.58 miles).


sols 2186-2191, March 18-24, 2010: 20 Kilometers and Still Rolling on Mars

Opportunity has passed 20 kilometers (12.43 miles) in odometry! She has been driving, driving, driving and driving on the path to Endeavour crater.

The rover drove four times in the last week totaling over 260 meters (853 feet) of progress. On Sol 2186 (March 18, 2010), Opportunity, driving backwards to the southwest covered about 64 meters (210 feet) of distance. Next, on Sol 2188 (March 20, 2010), the rover headed south covering almost 71 meters (233 feet). Then, on another drive due south on Sol 2190 (March 22, 2010), the rover covered just over 63 meters (207 feet). With the 67-meter (207-foot) drive on Sol 2191 (March 24, 2010), Opportunity passed 20 kilometers (12.43 miles) of total odometry. Opportunity will rest from driving on Sol 2192 (March 25, 2010), to recharge her batteries.

As of Sol 2191 (March 24, 2010), the solar array energy production was 257 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.418. Total odometry is 20,043.30 meters (over 20 kilometers, or 12.43 miles).


sols 2178-2185, March 10-17, 2010: More Driving for Opportunity

Opportunity has been making fast progress along the path to Endeavour crater.

The rover drove four times in the last week totaling almost 285 meters (935 feet) of progress. On Sol 2179 (March 11, 2010), Opportunity, driving backwards to the southwest covered over 70 meters (230 feet) of distance. Next, on Sol 2181 (March 13, 2010), the rover headed more southerly, covering almost 73 meters (240 feet). Then, two more drives due south on Sols 2183 (March 15, 2010), and 2184 (March 16, 2010), achieving 71 meters (233 feet) each. The plan ahead...you guessed it...more driving.

As of Sol 2185 (March 17, 2010), the solar array energy production was 283 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.405 and a dust factor of 0.523. Total odometry is 19,778.24 meters (12.29 miles).


sols 2172-2177, March 03-09, 2010: Driving Away From 'Concepción' Crater

Opportunity finished the circumnavigation campaign around "Concepción" crater.

Numerous targeted images were taken of rocks around the crater but no new rock targets were chosen to be analyzed using the in-situ (contact) instruments of the rover's robotic arm (IDD).

During the last leg around the crater on Sol 2172 (March 4, 2010), the third and final checkout for the AEGIS automated targeting software was successfully run. For this checkout, AEGIS analyzed a Navigation Camera (NavCam) image and searched for "cobbles" using a profile that prioritized rocks based on rock size and brightness. The top target found was an excellent example of a cobble. AEGIS then took a high quality, quarter-frame, 13-filter, Panoramic Camera (PanCam) image of this target.

Opportunity drove away from Concepción crater on Sol 2177 (March 9, 2010), and has driven about 130 meters (427 feet). Opportunity has now returned to the original path to Endeavour crater.

As of Sol 2177 (March 9, 2010), the solar array energy production was 278 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.446 and a dust factor of 0.504. Total odometry is 19,492.84 meters (12.11 miles).


sols 2166-2171, February 26 - March 03, 2010: Driving Around Material Ejected From Young Crater

Opportunity is continuing the circumnavigation of "Concepción" crater. During this period Opportunity traversed around a ray of ejecta that is comprised of rock debris from the impact that formed the crater.

In Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter images these rocks and their shadows appear as dark streaks extending to the south and southwest from Concepción crater. Data collected on Sols 2165 (Feb. 25, 2010) and 2166 (Feb. 26, 2010), indicated potential targets for direct measurements with the Instrument Deployment Device (IDD). A 22-meter (72-foot) drive along the ejecta ray was performed on Sol 2167 (Feb. 27, 2010). However, because of the assessed mobility risks associated with this part of the jumbled rock field, no in-situ targets were approached. Instead the rover continued the circumnavigation campaign with an 18-meter (59-foot) drive around the ejecta ray on Sol 2171 (March 3, 2010).

As of Sol 2171 (March 3, 2010), the solar array energy production was 278 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.396 and a dust factor of 0.481. Total odometry is 19,399.57 meters (12 miles).


sols 2158-2165, February 18-25, 2010: Investigating Material Ejected From Young Crater

Opportunity is located near the very young crater "Concepción."

The rover has been investigating the ejecta material around the crater, with some rocks exhibiting a dark rind. On Sol 2158 (Feb. 18, 2010), Opportunity continued the in-situ investigation of the rock target, "Chocolate Hills." The robotic arm (IDD) was used to collect a Microscopy Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target "Dano" before placing the Mössbauer (MB) spectrometer on the target "Tears." On the next sol, the robotic arm was retracted from the rock and a panoramic camera (Pancam) image was taken, before the Mössbauer spectrometer was placed down on the target Dano.

On Sol 2161 (Feb. 21, 2010), Opportunity drove away from Chocolate Hills rock and headed toward one of Concepción's dramatic ejecta rays. The rover drove about 12 meters (39 feet) towards some rocks exhibiting the interesting dark rinds. A 4.6-meter (15-foot) closer approach was performed on Sol 2163 (Feb. 23, 2010). Because the terrain would not permit a closer approach for in-situ work, Opportunity drove away on Sol 2165 driving 8.6 meters (28 feet) further along the crater's ejecta ray.

As of Sol 2165 (Feb. 25, 2010), the solar array energy production was 278 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.396 and a dust factor of 0.481. Total odometry is 19,360.14 meters (12 miles).


sols 2152-2157, February 11-17, 2010: Sampling 'Chocolate Hills'

Opportunity is positioned near the rim of the very young crater "Concepcion."

The instruments on the rover's robotic arm (IDD) have been investigating targets on the rock called "Chocolate Hills." This rock is of interest because it exhibits a dark rind or crust that may be impact melt. On Sol 2152 (Feb. 11, 2010), the rover made a small turn to reposition the robotic arm for targets on the surface of the Chocolate Hills. On Sol 2154 (Feb. 14, 2010), the IDD collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic, then placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on a light-colored rind called "Arogo." On Sol 2157 (Feb. 17, 2010), the rover repeated these two sets of measurements on a target called "Tears."

Further investigation of this rock is expected before the rover drives away. As of Sol 2157 (Feb. 17, 2010), the solar array energy production was 305 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.432 and a dust factor of 0.496. Total odometry is 19,335.35 meters (12 miles).


sols 2145-2151, February 4-10, 2010: Opportunity Studies 'Chocolate Hills' Rock

Opportunity is exploring around the rim of the very young crater "Concepcion."

On Sol 2145 (Feb. 4, 2010), the rover made a 10-meter (33-foot) approach to a rock target called "Chocolate Hills." This rock target is of interest because it exhibits a dark rind or crust that may be impact melt. On Sol 2147 (Feb. 6, 2010), Opportunity completed a 2-meter (7-foot) short approach to bring the target within the work volume of the robotic arm (IDD). On Sol 2149 (Feb. 8, 2010), the rover performed a small turn-in-place to position the target within reach of the IDD with its 4-degree-of-freedom azimuth limitations. On the next sol, the IDD collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the dark rind and then placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an integration. On the following sol, another set of Microscopic Imager mosaics were collected and then the Mössbauer (MB) spectrometer focused on the target called "Aloya."

The right-front wheel currents continue to be well-behaved. No improvement has been observed yet in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) elevation mirror, which continues to be opened regularly to allow cleaning by the wind.

As of Sol 2151 (Feb. 10, 2010), the solar array energy production was 306 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.388 and a dust factor of 0.487. Total odometry is 19,335.35 meters (12 miles).


sols 2137-2144,January 27 - February 3, 2010: Opportunity Arrives at 'Concepción' Crater

Opportunity has arrived at "Concepción," a very young 10-meter (33-foot) diameter crater.

On Sol 2138 (Jan. 28, 2010), Opportunity completed a 12-meter (39-foot) approach to the crater. After a few sols of careful imaging in and around the crater, Opportunity drove about 9 meters (30 feet) around the crater to approach some ejecta blocks that might be suitable for further in-situ (contact) investigation by all the instruments on the end of the robotic arm (instrument deployment device, or IDD).

Some of the rocks exhibit a dark crust, potentially impact melt. The right-front wheel currents continue to be well-behaved. No improvement has been observed yet in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) elevation mirror, which continues to be opened regularly to allow cleaning by the wind. As of Sol 2144 (Feb. 3, 2010), the solar array energy production was 270 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.415 and a dust factor of 0.470. Total odometry is 19,323.37 meters (12 miles).


sols 2131-2136,January 21-26, 2010: Approaching 'Concepción' Crater Rim

Opportunity has been driving towards "Concepción," a 10-meter (33-foot) diameter crater to the south of Marquette Island.

Concepción crater is assessed to be geologically very young with visible rays of ejecta radiating from the center of the crater. The Sol 2136 (Jan. 26, 2010), imagery shows many fragments of ejecta on the surface all around the crater. Opportunity is currently 20 meters (66 feet) north of the crater's rim.

In the plan ahead, Opportunity will approach within about 3 meters (10 feet) of the rim and begin a clockwise circumnavigation imaging campaign. Large eject fragments that would allow direct measurement with the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) and the Mössbauer (MB) spectrometer are potential candidates for in-situ (contact) investigation. Opportunity will continue on towards Endeavour Crater once the Concepción campaign is completed.

The right-front wheel currents continue to be well-behaved. No improvement has been observed yet in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) elevation mirror, which continues to opened regularly for allow cleaning by the wind.

As of Sol 2136 (Jan. 26, 2010), the solar array energy production was 296 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.458 and a dust factor of 0.517. Total odometry is 19,302.88 meters (12 miles).


sols 2125-2130,January 15-20, 2010: Driving to 'Concepcion' Crater

Opportunity has been driving south toward a relatively young impact crater, called "Concepcion." The crater is estimated to be about 1,000 years old, the youngest crater to be explored on Mars.

The rover drove on Sols 2125 (Jan. 15, 2010), 2128 (Jan. 18, 2010) and 2130 (Jan. 20, 2010), totaling more than 170 meters (558 feet). The rover is now only about 100 meters (328 feet) away from the crater. The plan ahead is to conduct a circumnavigation imaging campaign of the 10-meter (33-foot) diameter crater.

The right-front wheel currents have been well-behaved. No improvement has been observed yet in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) elevation mirror, which continues to be opened regularly to allow cleaning by the wind.

As of Sol 2130 (Jan. 20, 2010), the solar array energy production was 304 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.488 and a dust factor of 0.505. Total odometry is 19,216.21 meters (11.94 miles).


sols 2118-2124,January 7-14, 2010: Leaving Marquette Behind

Opportunity spent Sols 2118 to 2121 (Jan. 7-11, 2010; no sol number corresponds to Jan. 8 because no noon at Opportunity's location fell during that date's 24 hours Pacific Standard Time) completing the investigation of "Marquette Island," a curious rock on the plains of Meridiani. The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) and the microscopic imager (MI) were used to examine a target on Marquette Island which was exposed by the rock abrasion tool (RAT) grind activities the previous week.

Opportunity drove away from Marquette Island on Sol 2122 (Jan. 12, 2010) continuing on the path toward Endeavour Crater. Further drives where executed on Sols 2123 and 2124 (Jan. 13 and 14, 2010). On Sol 2124, Opportunity crossed the 19-kilometer (11.8-mile) odometry milestone! A near-term science objective along the path towards Endeavour Crater is a relatively fresh impact crater, called "Conception," approximately 250 meters (820 feet) to the south.

As of Sol 2124 (Jan. 14, 2010), Opportunity's solar-array energy production is 336 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.500 and a dust factor of 0.533. Total odometry is 19,025.92 meters (11.82 miles).


sols 2111-2117, December 31, 2009 - January 6, 2010: Brushing out the RAT Cuttings

Opportunity has been investigating the rock known as "Marquette Island." The rock abrasion tool (RAT) was used to grind a 1.5-millimeter-deep (0.06-inch-deep) hole in this very hard rock at the target called "Peck Bay 2." The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) measurements of Peck Bay 2 were significantly different than the pre-grind measurements. Based on these results, Opportunity is spending another week at Marquette Island for more observations of Peck Bay 2.

Opportunity completed a RAT brush of the hole, clearing out the cuttings left by the grind. Microscopic imager (MI) mosaics confirmed the success this activity. Opportunity is continuing to complete APXS measurements of Peck Bay 2 at different positions.

The elevation mirror shroud of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) is being opened when appropriate with the expectation of eventual dust cleaning. No dust cleaning of the Mini-TES mirror has been noted yet.

As of Sol 2117 (Jan. 6, 2010), Opportunity's solar-array energy production is 320 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.438 and a dust factor of 0.519. Total odometry is 18,927.56 meters (11.76 miles).

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