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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 2813-2817, December 23-27, 2011 Positioned at Candidate Site for Winter

Opportunity is positioned at a candidate site for Mars' southern hemisphere winter. The rover is at the north end of 'Cape York' on the rim of Endeavour Crater, tilted about 15 degrees to the north for favorable solar energy production.

Opportunity experienced anomalously high current in the right-front wheel on Sol 2808 (Dec. 17, 2011). Diagnostics on Sols 2810 and 2812 (Dec. 20 and 22, 2011) indicated a nominal wheel and drive actuator with the terrain being the indicated explanation for the high current. On Sol 2816 (Dec. 26, 2011), the rover performed an 8-inch (0.2-meter) diagnostic backward drive. The drive completed successfully with Opportunity maintaining its 15-degree northerly tilt, sufficient for the winter period.

The plan ahead is to conduct some contact measurements with the instruments on the robotic arm to see if this location offers substantive in-situ science opportunities during the winter months. Opportunity will also begin a radio Doppler tracking campaign at the start of the new year.

As of Sol 2817 (Dec. 27, 2011), solar array energy production was 290 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.685 and a solar array dust factor of 0.475. Total odometry as of Sol 2816 (Dec. 26, 2011) is 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2805-2812, December 14-22, 2011 Wheel Passes Checkup After Stalled Drive

This period began with a campaign of using the Microscopic Imager (MI) and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) to examine a target called "Komati" on the "Saddleback" outcrop.

After two days of collecting APXS data, a drive was planned for Sol 2808 (Dec. 17, 2011) to rotate the rover in a way that would bring a different target into range of the robotic arm (instrument deployment device, or IDD). During this turning maneuver the right-front wheel experienced elevated electrical currents, which tripped a fault response and stopped the drive. Telemetry suggested that the elevated current was due to the wheel's orientation with respect to the terrain (causing it to work harder than expected) and not an actuator failure. To verify this, diagnostics were performed on Sol 2810 (Dec. 20, 2011). The diagnostic tests confirmed the actuator's continued good health.

A small drive of about 1.2 inches (3 centimeters) in the opposite direction was planned for Sol 2812 (Dec. 22, 2011) to clear the wheel from obstacles, if any existed, that may have hooked the wheel. This drive was also successful, further confirming the health of the actuator. With the success of this smaller drive, we are now comfortable proceeding with a larger arc that should give us additional wheel-current data and allow us to image the Sol 2808 stall point. This drive is likely to be of the magnitude of 6 inches (15 centimeters) and occur on Sol 2816 (Dec. 26, 2011).

As of Sol 2812 (Dec. 22, 2011), solar array energy production is 297 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.645 and a solar array dust factor of 0.469. Total odometry is 21.35 miles (34,361.13 meters, or 34.36 kilometers).


sols 2798-2804, December 7-13, 2011 Opportunity at One of its Two Winter Spots

Opportunity is positioned at one of the candidate sites for winter, on the north end of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

There are two candidate sites for winter havens that indicate sufficient northerly tilt. Opportunity is at one of those spots. The rover is tilted about 16 degrees to the north for favorable solar energy production. Opportunity is continuing the in-situ (contact) investigation of the outcrop at this location. On Sols 2798 (Dec. 7, 2011), and 2800 (Dec. 9, 2011), Opportunity conducted a set of investigations using the instruments on the end of the robotic arm on the surface target called "Boesmankop." Each involved collecting Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaics followed by an overnight placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). On Sol 2801 (Dec. 10, 2011), the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) was used to brush the surface target and collect another MI mosaic. The rover also took a panoramic camera (Pancam) image, followed by the placement of the APXS for an overnight integration.

Wanting to investigate a rock clast on the outcrop, the rover performed a small 9-degree counter-clockwise turn on Sol 2803 (Dec. 12, 2011). This positions that rock clast within reach of Opportunity's robotic arm. The plan ahead is an in-situ investigation of the rock clast with the instruments on the end of the robotic arm.

As of Sol 2804 (Dec. 13, 2011), solar array energy production was 302 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.714 and a solar array dust factor of 0.486.

Total odometry is 21.35 miles (34,360.78 meters, or 34.36 kilometers).


sols 2791-2797, November 30 - December 6, 2011 Opportunity to Stop and Study Rocks

Opportunity is currently exploring one of the candidate sites for winter, on the north end of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 2792 (Dec. 1, 2011), the rover bumped backwards about 9 feet (2.7 meters) to better view a rock outcrop and to increase the rover tilt toward the Sun. The northerly tilt, favorable for energy production, increased from 6 degrees to 9 degrees.

On Sol 2795 (Dec. 4, 2011), Opportunity bumped further to approach some in-situ (contact) science targets on the rock outcrop, called "Saddleback." The plan ahead is to perform some in-situ science on the rock outcrop with the instruments on the end of the robotic arm.

As of Sol 2797 (Dec. 6, 2011), solar array energy production was 305 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.755 and a solar array dust factor of 0.487.

Total odometry is 21.35 miles (34,360.76 meters, or 34.36 kilometers).


sols 2784-2790, November 23-29, 2011 Opportunity Spent Holiday at 'Turkey Haven'

Opportunity spent the Thanksgiving holiday at a location called "Turkey Haven," on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

This particular location provided favorable northerly tilts and may be a candidate for the winter haven location. On Sol 2787 (Nov. 26, 2011), the rover employed the robotic arm to collect some Microscopic Imager (MI) images of a surface target and then collect an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurement on the same.

On Sol 2790 (Nov. 29, 2011), Opportunity left "Turkey Haven" on a 12-meter (39-foot) drive to position herself near the other candidate winter haven for a closer look. The near term plan is for Opportunity to nudge around the new location and inspect the terrain for possible winter science targets and favorable tilts.

As of Sol 2790 (Nov. 29, 2011), solar array energy production was 292 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.770 and a solar array dust factor of 0.488.

Total odometry is 21.35 miles (34,354.92 meters, or 34.35 kilometers).


sols 2778-2783, November 17-22, 2011 Scouting Sites for the Winter

In preparing for positioning Opportunity for the coming winter, the project has been scouting sites with favorable northerly tilt on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

There are two candidate sites for winter havens that indicate sufficient northerly tilt. Opportunity is investigating one of those two sites with the plan to spend the Thanksgiving holiday there. Because of the coming holiday, the project implemented multi-sol plans for the last three planning days before Thanksgiving.

On Sol 2778 (Nov. 17, 2011), the rover moved just under 39 feet (12 meters) to the south approaching the candidate location. Rover attitude increased to 10 degrees of northerly tilt. On Sol 2780 (Nov. 19, 2011), an atmospheric argon measurement was made with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). On Sol 2781 (Nov. 20, 2011), Opportunity bumped just under 10 feet (3 meters) to reach an interesting surface target with improved rover tilt. The northerly tilt increased to about 12 degrees.

On Sol 2783 (Nov. 22, 2011), Opportunity made a very small turn to move a surface target within the work volume of the robotic arm. Another atmospheric argon measurement was collected with the APXS later that sol. The plan ahead is to spend Thanksgiving at this location and to collect Microscopic Imager (MI) images of this new surface target, called "Transvaal" along with an APXS measure of the same.

As of Sol 2783 (Nov. 22, 2011), solar array energy production was 297 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.661 and a solar array dust factor of 0.463.

Total odometry is 21.34 miles (34,342.70 meters or 34.44 kilometers).


sols 2771-2777, November 09-16, 2011 Nearing A Winter Haven

The project continues to implement the seasonal plan for Opportunity, which is to winter over on the north end of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater where northerly tilts are favorable for solar array energy production.

With recent driving, Opportunity in now in the vicinity of the winter haven location. On Sol 2771 (Nov. 9, 2011), the rover completed some in-situ (contact) science in and around the light-toned vein called "Homestake." On Sol 2773 (Nov. 12, 2011), Opportunity drove away with over a 164-foot (50-meter) drive to the east/northeast. On Sol 2775 (Nov. 14, 2011), Opportunity headed about 131 feet (40 meters) to the east, taking a dog leg maneuver to avoid a large ripple. Then, on Sol 2777 (Nov. 16, 2011), the rover headed northeast with a drive of a little over 115 feet (35 meters) to approach one of the areas of enhanced northerly slope, a location favorable for winter parking.

As of Sol 2777 (Nov. 16, 2011), solar array energy production was 298 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.696 and a solar array dust factor of 0.486.

Total odometry is 21.33 miles (34,328.09 meters, or 34.33 kilometers).


sols 2764-2770, November 02-08, 2011 Rover Continues Studies While Heading North

The seasonal plan for Opportunity is to winter over on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater where northerly tilts are favorable for solar array energy production.

As such, the project has been driving the rover towards the north end of the cape with a route along the west side that creates opportunities for science along the way. The science team is investigating a light-toned vein, called "Homestake" with the instruments on the rover's robotic arm.

On Sol 2764 (Nov. 2, 2011), the robotic arm was used to collect Microscopic Imager (MI) images of the Homestake vein, then placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration. On the next sol, additional MI images were collected with a small repositioning of the APXS to better center the target within the sweet spot of the APXS. On Sol 2766 (Nov. 4, 2011), the robotic arm collected additional MI images of Homestake and positioned the APXS on a different part of the vein for another integration. On Sol 2769 (Nov. 7, 2011), Opportunity bumped about a 3 feet (1 meter) away to setup for some in-situ (contact) science on a patch of exposed bedrock, part of the same unit that contains the Homestake vein. On Sol 2770 (Nov. 8, 2011), the rover performed a small turn to position the exposure of rock outcrop within reach of the rover's robotic arm. The plan ahead is an APXS placement of the outcrop before driving away.

As of Sol 2770 (Nov. 8, 2011), solar array energy production was 295 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.774 and a solar array dust factor of 0.489.

Total odometry is 21.25 miles (34,200.33 meters, or 34.20 kilometers).


sols 2757-2763, October 26 - November 01, 2011 On the Lookout for Light-Toned Material

The seasonal plan for Opportunity is to winter over on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour crater where northerly tilts are favorable for solar array energy production.

As such, the project has been driving the rover towards the north end of the cape with a route along the west side that creates opportunities for science along the way. The science team is on the lookout for veins of light-toned material and has found some.

On Sol 2758 (Oct. 27, 2011), Opportunity traveled north/northwest about 180 feet (55 meters) heading toward a geologic contact that borders Cape York on the west. The next drive on Sol 2760 (Oct. 29, 2011), moved the rover roughly north to the contact. Imagery from the end of the Sol 2760 drive showed these light-toned veins the science team was searching for, one just a few feet (meters) in front of the rover. On Sol 2763 (Nov. 1, 2011), Opportunity bumped 12 feet (3.7 meters) placing this light-toned vein, called "Homestake" within reach of the rover's robotic arm. The plan ahead is to collect some Microscopic Imager (MI) images of the vein and place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the vein itself for an overnight integration.

As of Sol 2763 (Nov. 1, 2011), solar array energy production was 304 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.752 and a solar array dust factor of 0.494.

Total odometry is 21.25 miles (34,199.25 meters, or 34.20 kilometers).


sols 2751-2756, October 20-25, 2011 Opportunity Continues to Drive North

The seasonal plan is for Opportunity to winter over on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour crater where northern tilts are favorable for energy production.

As such, the project has been driving the rover in the direction of the north end of the cape with a route along the west side that creates opportunities for science along the way. The science team is on the lookout for veins of light-toned material, putative fracture-fill.

On Sol 2751 (Oct. 20, 2011), Opportunity traveled over 161 feet (49 meters) in the northeasterly direction. The three-sol plan over the weekend had Opportunity heading just west of north with almost a 197-foot (60-meter) drive. With that drive, the rover exceeded 21 miles (34 kilometers) of odometry. On Sol 2756 (Oct. 25, 2011), the rover drove over 135 feet (41 meters), first northwest then due north. The plan ahead is more driving north.

As of Sol 2756 (Oct. 25, 2011), solar array energy production was 297 watt-hours with an increased atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.913 and a solar array dust factor of 0.510.

Total odometry is 21.18 miles (34,081.11 meters, or 34.08 kilometers).


sols 2745-2750, October 14-19, 2011 Opportunity Past 21 Miles of Driving! Will Spend Winter at Cape York

The project has made the decision that Opportunity will winter over on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour crater where northern tilts are favorable for energy production.

On Sol 2746 (Oct. 15, 2011), Opportunity drove 167 feet (51 meters) to the north/northeast. On Sol 2749 (Oct. 18, 2011), the rover drove another 167 feet (51 meters) to the northeast. The plan ahead is to continue to drive toward the north end of Cape York and to capture any opportunistic in-situ (contact) science alone the way. Light-toned veins in the rock outcrop, possibly fracture fill, have been seen around Cape York. If Opportunity encounters one of these veins along the way, a brief robotic-arm science campaign may be conducted.

As of Sol 2750 (Oct. 19, 2011), solar array energy production was 312 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.764 and a solar array dust factor of 0.491.

Total odometry is 21.08 miles (33,931.24 meters, or 33.93 kilometers).


sols 2738-2744, October 07-13, 2011 Opportunity Keeps Rolling With an Eye on Future Havens for Next Winter

Opportunity is moving generally north across Cape York on the rim of Endeavour crater with an eye ahead to the next winter.

With her solar arrays dustier and atmospheric opacity higher than in past years, the winter will be more challenging. So, Opportunity has been surveying regions with favorable northerly tilts so she can spend the winter months actively exploring.

On Sol 2738 (Oct. 7, 2011), the rover drove north toward the feature "Shoemaker Ridge" with a 28-meter (92-foot) drive. On the next sol, Opportunity continued her scouting trek with a 78-meter (256-foot) drive to the north-northeast. On Sol 2742 (Oct. 11, 2011), the rover conducted a reconnaissance of the local area with a zigzag drive totaling almost 40 meters (131 feet). The plan ahead is more northward driving surveying Cape York.

As of Sol 2744 (Oct. 13, 2011), solar array energy production was 316 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.791 and a solar array dust factor of 0.498.

Total odometry is 20.98 miles (33,761.36 meters, or 33.7 kilometers).


sols 2731-2737, September 29 - October 06, 2011 Opportunity is on the Move Again

Opportunity finished her in-situ work at the target called "Chester Lake" at Cape York on the rim of Endeavour crater and is on the move again.

On Sol 2726 (Sept. 24, 2011), the rover performed another test of the Microscopic Imager (MI) poker, then collected a MI mosaic and placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on a target for an integration. On the next sol, Opportunity got on her way to further explore around Cape York. The rover drove about 39 feet (12 meters) heading toward a feature called, "Kirkland Lake" for some imaging. On Sol 2737 (Oct. 6, 2011), Opportunity turned and began the approach to the feature named, "Shoemaker Ridge" with over a 92-feet (28-meter) drive.

As of Sol 2737 (Oct. 6, 2011), solar array energy production was 320 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.840 and a solar array dust factor of 0.513.

Total odometry is 20.89 miles (33,615.74 meters, or 33.62 kilometers).


sols 2723-2730, September 21-28, 2011 Opportunity Studies Rock Interior

Opportunity is still positioned at the target called "Chester Lake" at Cape York on the rim of Endeavour crater. The rover continues with the in-situ (contact) science investigation of the surface rock called "Salisbury 1."

On Sol 2726 (Sept. 24, 2011), the previously ground Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) hole was re-brushed to remove excessive tailings. Microscopic Imager (MI) images were collected confirming the successful brushing. The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was placed down on the target for a post-brush integration.

On Sol 2729 (Sept. 27, 2011), the APXS was retracted from the RAT hole, a Pancam 13-filter image set was taken. Then, along with more MI images, a test of the MI poker was performed. The test results indicate normal operation of the poker. The Mössbauer (MB) spectrometer was placed down in the hole for a multi-sol integration.

As of Sol 2729 (Sept. 27, 2011), solar array energy production was 313 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.882 and a solar array dust factor of 0.514.

Total odometry is 20.86 miles (33,574.75 meters, or 33.58 kilometers).


sols 2717-2722, September 15-20, 2011 Opportunity Continues to Study 'Chester Lake' Rock Outcrop

Opportunity is still positioned at the target called "Chester Lake" at Cape York on the rim of Endeavour crater.

On Sol 2717 (Sept. 15, 2011), the rover successfully brushed the surface target, "Salisbury 1," followed by a mosaic of images collected by the Microscopic Imager (MI) and then a placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration. On Sol 2719 (Sept. 17, 2011), Opportunity used the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to grind the surface target. A set of MI images were taken of the freshly ground surface. On Sol 2722 (Sept. 20, 2011), post-grind images were taken of the RAT grind bit and the APXS was placed into the ground target for integration.

As of Sol 2722 (Sept. 20, 2011), solar array energy production was 321 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.895 and a solar array dust factor of 0.511.

Total odometry is 20.86 miles (33,574.75 meters, or 33.58 kilometers).


sols 2710-2716, September 08-15, 2011 Opportunity Studies 'Chester Lake' Rock Outcrop

Opportunity is in position at a target called "Chester Lake" at Cape York on the rim of Endeavour crater.

On Sol 2710 (Sept. 8, 2011), the rover pumped forward just over a meter (3 feet) to put some surface targets within reach of the rover's robotic arm. On Sol 2713 (Sept. 11, 2011), Opportunity took a color photograph of the flag and aluminum plate on the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) at the end of the robotic arm. The aluminum was recovered from the New York World Trade Center site after the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, and used to manufacture part of the RAT on both Mars rovers. Also on that sol, Opportunity collected Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaics of surface targets and then placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the surface for an overnight integration.

On Sol 2715 (Sept. 13, 2011), the rover performed a seek-scan with the RAT in preparation for brushing a surface target with the RAT. The brushing is planned for Sol 2717 (Sept. 15, 2011).

As of Sol 2716 (Sept. 14, 2011), solar array energy production was 334 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.887 and a solar array dust factor of 0.520.

Total odometry is 20.86 miles (33,574.75 meters, or 33.58 kilometers).


sols 2703-2709, September 01-07, 2011 Work Continues on Crater Rim

Opportunity is moving to other in-situ (contact) targets of interest around the region, called Cape York on the rim of Endeavour crater.

On Sol 2703 (Sept. 1, 2011), the rover made the first of two drives to move to the northeast, traveling over 27 meters (89 feet). On Sol 2707 (Sept. 5, 2011), Opportunity completed a 20-meter (66-foot) drive to approach an exposed outcrop. The outcrop, called "Chester Lake" offers several targets for in-situ (contact) investigation by the instruments on the rover's robotic arm.

As of Sol 2709 (Sept. 7, 2011), solar array energy production was 336 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.00 and a solar array dust factor of 0.531.

Total odometry is 20.86 miles (33,573.63 meters, or 33.57 kilometers).


sols 2697-2702, August 25-31, 2011 Finishing Work at Tisdale 2

Opportunity is continuing the in-situ (contact) investigation of rocks around the rim of Endeavour crater.

On Sol 2697 (Aug. 25, 2011), the rover bumped a mere 0.15 meters (about 6 inches) to reposition at the large ejecta block, named "Tisdale 2." This allowed Opportunity to reach targets on the top of the blocky rock. On Sol 2699 (Aug. 28, 2011), the rover used the Instrument Deployment Device (IDD, robotic arm) to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of a new target, called "Shaw 1," then place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same target for an overnight integration. On Sol 2700 (Aug. 29, 2011), another set of diagnostic tests were performed on the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) instrument. Preliminary test results continue to show no performance from the instrument. On Sol 2701 (Aug. 30, 2011), Opportunity again collect MI mosaics and performed an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) placement on target "Shaw 2."

With in-situ work completing at "Tisdale 2" the plan ahead is for Opportunity to drive away and head to the northeast where the iron magnesium smectite clays are seen from orbit.

As of Sol 2702 (Aug. 31, 2011), solar array energy production was 352 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.07 and a solar array dust factor of 0.540.

Total odometry is 20.83 miles (33,525.68 meters, or 33.53 kilometers).


sols 2690-2696, August 18-24, 2011 Opportunity Studies Rocks on Crater Rim

Opportunity has begun the in-situ (contact) investigation of rocks around the rim of Endeavour crater.

On Sol 2690 (Aug. 18, 2011), the rover began the approach to a large ejecta block, named "Tisdale 2" with a 4-meter (13-foot) drive. On Sol 2692 (Aug. 20, 2011), Opportunity completed the approach to Tisdale 2 with a turn-around to face the rock and a short 2-meter (7-foot) forward approach to the target. On Sol 2694 (Aug. 22, 2011), Opportunity started the multi-sol, multi-target in-situ (contact) investigation with a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of a set of surface targets collectively named "Timmins," followed by a placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration. On Sol 2695 (Aug. 23, 2011), the rover collected another MI mosaic on a different target spot, again followed by an overnight APXS integration. On Sol 2696 (Aug. 24, 2011), Opportunity did it again with another set of MI mosaics and an APXS integration.

As of Sol 2695 (Aug. 23, 2011), solar array energy production was 366 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.07 and a solar array dust factor of 0.546.

Total odometry is 20.83 miles (33,525.53 meters, or 33.53 kilometers).


sols 2682-2689, August 10-17, 2011 Opportunity's Studying Small Crater on Rim of Large Crater

Opportunity has begun the exploration of the rim of Endeavour crater.

The rover is examining the ejected material from a small crater on the rim of Endeavour, named "Odyssey." This small crater has exhumed and exposed the ancient Noachian material of Endeavour's rim. Opportunity is in the process of approaching a large block of ejected material for further in-situ (contact) investigation.

On Sols 2683 and 2685 (Aug. 11 and 13, 2011), the rover performed a pair of drives to position herself for a close approach to the rock target. On Sol 2688 (Aug. 16, 2011), the planned approach drive stopped early because the rover's visual odometry could not measure progress accurately due to a lack of visual features in the camera field of view. The approach to the rock target is rescheduled in the plan ahead. There was a modest dust cleaning event between Sols 2681 and 2683 (Aug. 9 and Aug. 11, 2011).

As of Sol 2689 (Aug. 17, 2011), solar array energy production was 399 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.03 and a slightly improved solar array dust factor of 0.569.

Total odometry is 20.83 miles (33,519.03 meters, or 33.52 kilometers).


sols 2677-2681, August 05-09, 2011 Opportunity Reaches Endeavour Crater!

Opportunity has arrived at Endeavour crater after a 1000-sol, 13.36 mile (21.5 kilometer) odyssey across the plains of Meridiani.

On Sol 2681(Aug. 9, 2011), Opportunity drove 203 feet (62 meters), crossing the contact that delineates the geology of Cape York on the rim of the giant Endeavour crater. Now begins the next chapter in the surface exploration of Mars, the exploration of clay minerals, minerals that may hold the clues to an ancient, habitable environment in the early, wet Noachian epoch of Mars. The rover previously drove this week on Sol 2678 (Aug. 6, 2011), with a 246-foot (75-meter) drive in the run up to Endeavour.

As of Sol 2681 (Aug. 9, 2011), solar array energy production was 374 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.12 and a solar array dust factor of 0.542.

Total odometry is 20.81 miles (33,485.80 meters, or 33.49 kilometers).


sols 2670-2676, July 29-August 04, 2011 Nearing First Landfall of Large Crater

Opportunity is now only about 120 meters (394 feet) from "Spirit Point," the first landfall on the rim of Endeavour crater.

The rover drove four times in the last week on Sols 2670, 2671, 2674 and 2676 (July 29, 30, Aug. 2 and Aug. 4, 2011), totaling over 370 meters (0.23 miles) of drive distance and exceeding over 33 kilometers (20.5 miles) in total odometry. The right-front wheel currents remain behaved. On Sol 2672 (July 31, 2011), Opportunity performed an overnight alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) spectrum of atmospheric argon. On Sol 2673 (Aug. 1, 2011), the rover used the autonomous AEGIS software to look for interesting outcrops. The AEGIS software was awarded the NASA 2011 Software of the Year Award. The plan ahead is more driving to reach Spirit Point.

As of Sol 2675 (Aug. 3, 2011), solar array energy production was 385 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.03 and a solar array dust factor of 0.537.

Total odometry is 33,227.58 meters (33.23 kilometers, or 20.65 miles).


sols 2663-2669, July 22-28, 2011 Opportunity Completes Four Drives: Studies Rock Outcrop

Opportunity is less than 500 meters (0.31 miles) from "Spirit Point," the first landfall on the rim of Endeavour crater.

The rover drove four times in the last week on Sols 2663, 2664, 2667 and 2668 (July 22, 23, 26 & 27, 2011), totaling over 460 meters (0.29 miles) of drive distance. The right-front wheel currents remain behaved. On Sol 2669 (July 28, 2011), Opportunity paused in her driving to collect a microscopic imager (MI) mosaic of the surface and an overnight alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) spectrum of exposed outcrop. The rover also performed a diagnostic test of the MI poker. The results of that test will be received later today. The plan ahead is more driving.

As of Sol 2668 (July 27, 2011), solar array energy production was 413 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.01 and a solar array dust factor of 0.587.

Total odometry is 32,973.44 meters (32.97 kilometers, 20.49 miles).


sols 2656-2662, July 14-21, 2011 Opportunity Past 20-Mile Mark As it Nears Large Crater

Opportunity is only about 1.1 kilometers (0.68 miles) from "Spirit Point," the first landfall on the rim of Endeavour crater.

The rover continues to make very good progress, driving five times in the last week and totaling over 510 meters of drive distance. The right-front wheel currents remain behaved. The project continues to use backwards driving and actuator heating as mitigation techniques for the elevated drive actuator currents.

On Sol 2656 (July 14, 2011), an atmospheric argon measurement was performed with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). On Sol 2662 (July 21, 2011), a visual odometry experiment was performed to measure the precision in which the rover can determine its relative position. This has benefit to future radio tracking experiments with the rover. The plan ahead is more driving.

As of Sol 2661 (July 19, 2011), solar array energy production was 417 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.945 and a solar array dust factor of 0.574.

Total odometry is 32,513.36 meters (32.51 kilometers, or 20.20 miles).


sols 2648-2655, July 06-13, 2011 Opportunity Under One Mile from Crater Rim

Opportunity has exceeded 32 kilometers (nearly 20 miles) of distance on Mars and is now less than 1.5 kilometers (approximately a mile) from the first landfall on the rim of Endeavour crater.

On Sol 2649 (July 7, 2011), the rover drove over 141 meters (463 feet) to the southeast. Available energy permitted Opportunity to wake very early for an ultra-high frequency (UHF) relay pass to return extra data to Earth. On Sol 2651 (July 9, 2011), an atmospheric argon measurement was performed with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). Also on that sol, a test of trying to warm the rover's electronics to mitigate clock drift was performed by keeping the rover awake longer. On the next sol, the rover drove over 150 meters (492 feet), continuing in the roughly southeast direction towards "Spirit Point" on the rim of Endeavour. Then on Sol 2654 (July 12, 2011), Opportunity drove 80 meters (262 feet) to the southeast, crossing the 32 kilometer (nearly 20-mile) odometry mark.

As of Sol 2655 (July 13, 2011), solar array energy production was 435 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.996 and a solar array dust factor of 0.596.

Total odometry is 32,003.14 meters (32 kilometers, or 19.89 miles).


sols 2641-2647, June 29-July 5, 2011 Opportunity Nears Crater Rim

Opportunity is now within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) of the first landfall on the rim of Endeavour crater, at a place called "Spirit Point."

With multi-sol planning for the 4th of July holiday weekend, the rover drove only once in the past week with a drive to the southeast on Sol 2645 (July 3, 2011), of over 162 meters (531 feet). On Sol 2642 (June 30, 2011), the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) performed another atmospheric argon measurement. On the next sol, a forward link ultra-high frequency (UHF) test was conducted with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

As of Sol 2647 (July 5, 2011), solar array energy production was 421 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.03 and a solar array dust factor of 0.596.

Total odometry is 31,630.68 meters (31.63 kilometers, or 19.66 miles).


sols 2635-2640, June 23-28, 2011 Opportunity Is Just Over a Mile From Crater Rim

Opportunity is making excellent progress towards Endeavour crater with only about 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) to go before the first landfall on the rim, a place called "Spirit Point."

The rover drove on Sols 2635 and 2637 (June 23 and 25, 2011), covering 138.8 (455 feet) and 126.4 meters (415 feet), respectively. A drive planned for Sol 2640 (June 28, 2011), did not occur because a Deep Space Network (DSN) station outage prevented the uplink of the two-sol plan. The rover, instead, safely executed her on-board runout sequence. The planned drive will be recovered in the subsequent plan. A Quick Fine Attitude (QFA) was performed on Sol 2638 (June 26, 2011), to remove accumulated drift in the rover's inertial measurement unit (IMU or gyros). The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) performed a measurement of atmospheric argon on Sol 2639 (June 27, 2011). The improved energy situation has permitted some early morning ultra-high frequency (UHF) relay passes to return additional science data. AM relay passes were performed early on the morning of Sols 2637 and 2639 (June 25 and 27, 2011).

As of Sol 2640 (June 28, 2011), solar array energy production was 476 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.11 and a solar array dust factor of 0.648.

Total odometry is 31,468.54 meters (31.47 kilometers, or 19.55 miles).


sols 2629-2634, June 17-22, 2011 Opportunity Getting Closer to Endeavour Crater

Opportunity is making excellent progress towards Endeavour crater with only 2.3 kilometers (1.4 miles) to go before reaching the first landfall on the rim, a place called "Spirit Point."

The rover drove southeast on four sols, Sols 2629, 2630, 2633 and 2634 (June 17, 18, 21 and 22, 2011), totaling more than 380 meters (1,247 feet).

With all this driving, which requires many seconds on the rover's inertial measurement unit (IMU), regular sun finds, called Quick Fine Attitudes (QFA) are performed to correct for expected drift in the rover's gyros. A QFA was performed on Sol 2633 (June 21, 2011). Over the three-sol weekend plan, an overnight Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurement of atmospheric argon was performed on Sol 2631 (June 19, 2011). With the improve energy production from cleaner solar arrays, on Sol 2634 (June 22, 2011), an early morning wakeup for an AM ultra-high frequency (UHF) relay pass was implemented to return more data from the rover.

As of Sol 2634 (June 22, 2011), solar array energy production was 505 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.926 and a solar array dust factor of 640.

Total odometry is 31,203.25 meters (31.20 kilometers, or 19.39 miles).


sols 2622-2628, June 9-16, 2011: Solar Panels Cleaned: 19-Mile Mark Reached!

Opportunity continues to make excellent progress towards Endeavour crater with under 3 kilometers (nearly 2 miles) to go before the first landfall on the rim.

On Sols 2622, 2626, 2627 and 2628 (June 9, 14, 15 and 16, 2011), the rover drove over 345 meters (1,132 feet) backwards using a combination of blind driving and autonomous navigation.

Opportunity has been driving towards the south/southeast, passing by interesting craters along the way. Currently, the rover is passing through a strewn field of crater impacts, suspected to be all from the same air fall event. On Sol 2625 (June 12, 2011), additional diagnostic tests were run on the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) instrument. The results are providing further insights into the instrument's anomalous behavior. The rover has benefitted from some recent dust cleaning events on Sols 2627 and 2628 (June 15 and 16, 2011).

As of Sol 2628 (June 16, 2011), solar array energy production increased to 528 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.782 and the solar array dust factor improved to 0.652.

Total odometry is 30,815.10 meters (30.82 kilometers, or 19.15 miles).


sols 2615-2621, June 02-08, 2011: Opportunity Breaks Backward Driving Record!

Opportunity completed a drive-by imaging campaign of another small, but young crater, named "Gemini 5."

On Sol 2616 (June 3, 2011), Opportunity set a new one-sol backwards driving distance record with a drive exceeding 165 meters (541 feet). The forward driving record is still 220 meters (721 feet), set on Sol 410 (March 20, 2005). The drive took the rover toward the crater. The plan was to conduct the drive-by of the crater on Sol 2620 (June 7, 2011), but a Deep Space Network problem prevented the uplink of the drive plan from occurring. The drive was re-planned for Sol 2621 (June 8, 2011), and completed successfully with a drive of 86 meters (282 feet) around the northern edge of Gemini 5 with mid-drive imaging. The plan ahead is to resume the trek toward the rim of Endeavour crater, just over 3 kilometers (nearly 2 miles) away.

As of Sol 2621 (June 8, 2011), solar array energy production was 420 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.747 and a solar array dust factor of 0.562.

Total odometry is 30,307.17 meters (30.31 kilometers, or 18.83 miles).


sols 2608-2614, May 26 - June 01, 2011: Opportunity Studies Rock Outcrop

Opportunity has exceeded 30 kilometers (nearly 19 miles) of odometry! The rover spent the last few sols investigating some exposed rock outcrop en route to Endeavour crater, now just a few kilometers away.

On Sol 2608 (May 26, 2011), Opportunity bumped 60 centimeters (24 inches) to position the outcrop targets within reach of the robotic arm instruments. On Sol 2611 (May 29, 2011), the rover used the Microscopic Imager (MI) to collect an extensive mosaic of the exposed outcrop. Opportunity then conducted a MI poker test, which exhibited anomalous behavior the last time it was used. The test indicated positive switch trip on just one of three tries. The project is investigating this further.

The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was placed on the surface target, named Valdivia for a multi-sol integration. On Sol 2614 (June 1, 2011), Opportunity drove away with a 146-meter (479-foot) drive, crossing the 30 kilometer (18.64 mile) odometry mark.

As of Sol 2614 (June 1, 2011), solar array energy production was 408 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.860 and a solar array dust factor of 0.545.

Total odometry is 30,055.50 meters (30.06 kilometers, or 18.68 miles).


sols 2601-2607, May 19-25, 2011: Opportunity Spies Outcrop Ahead

Opportunity continues the trek towards Endeavour crater with less than 3.5 kilometers (2.17 miles) before the first landfall. The rover drove on three of the last seven sols.

Opportunity started with a challenge. On Sol 2601 (May 19, 2011), a long drive was cut short by a cosmic ray-induced single event upset (SEU) in the electronics of one of the motor control boards. The rover safely stopped after only 29 meters (95 feet) when the event occurred. The rover is okay and the electronics are fine. These events happen from time to time.

Opportunity picked up again on Sol 2603 (May 21, 2011), with a drive of nearly 129 meters (423 feet) to the east/southeast. The science team has spied an outcrop ahead to perform some brief in situ (contact) science. Opportunity moved a modest 41 meters (135 feet) to the east/southeast as the approach to this outcrop. The plan is to briefly examine this outcrop before moving on.

As of Sol 2607 (May 25, 2011), solar array energy production was 408 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.827 and a solar array dust factor of 0.535.

Total odometry is 29,908.20 meters (29.91 kilometers, or 18.58 miles).


sols 2595-2600, May 13-18, 2011: Endeavour Crater 3 Miles Ahead!

Opportunity continues the trek towards Endeavour crater, now less than 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) away. The rover drove on four of the last six sols.

On Sol 2595 (May 13, 2011), Opportunity headed southeast with a drive of over 91 meters (300 feet). On the next sol, the rover drove further southeast achieving over 140 meters (460 feet). On Sol 2599 (May 17, 2011), Opportunity headed first southeast then east totaling over 86 meters (282 feet) of distance. On the next sol, the rover drove over 112 meters (367 feet) with a dog-leg maneuver mid-drive so close-up imaging of a crater could be done. The plan ahead is more diving.

As of Sol 2600 (May 18, 2011), solar array energy production was 406 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.806 and a solar array dust factor of 0.528.

Total odometry is 29,709.29 meters (29.71 kilometers, or 18.46 miles).


sols 2588-2594, May 4-12, 2011: Opportunity Past 18-Mile Mark!

Opportunity continues the trek towards Endeavour crater after a brief jog last week through a small field of young impact craters, named in honor after the spacecraft of the NASA Mercury Program.

On Sol 2588 (May 5, 2011), Opportunity headed east with a drive of over 126 meters (413 feet). On Sol 2589 (May 6, 2011), the rover drove further east achieving almost 129 meters (423 feet). On Sol 2592 (May 10, 2011), Opportunity again achieved another long drive to the east covering another 126 meters (413 feet). With this drive, Opportunity passed 29 kilometers (18 miles) of total mission odometry.

On Sol 2593 (May 11, 2011), the rover repeated another long drive to the east of about 117 meters (384 feet). The science team spied an interesting crater in the distance, so on Sol 2594 (May 12, 2011), Opportunity drove 72 meters (236 feet) to stop near the crater named Skylab for a brief imaging sequence before moving on with a drive planned for the next sol.

As of Sol 2594 (May 12, 2011), solar array energy production was 382 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.816 and a solar array dust factor of 0.514.

Total odometry is 29,278.59 meters (29.28 kilometers, or 18.19 miles).


sols 2581-2587, April 28 - May 4, 2011: Opportunity Images Small Craters

Opportunity continues the trek towards Endeavour crater with a brief sojourn through a small field of young impact craters.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the first American into space, Alan Shepard, the Mars Exploration Rover project informally named the craters in this impact field after the spacecraft of the NASA Mercury Program.

On Sol 2581 (April 28, 2011), Opportunity began the approach to the crater field with a 110-meter (360-foot) drive to the southeast. On Sol 2583 (April 31, 2011), the rover cautiously navigated near the craters with a drive of just over 120 meters (394 feet). On Sol 2585 (May 2, 2011), Opportunity drove 28 meters (92 feet) due south heading between the two largest craters, named "Friendship 7" and "Freedom 7." On the next sol, the rover made a 7-meter (23-foot) approach toward the crater Freedom 7 to carefully image the interior. On the next sol, Opportunity performed a cleaver "dog leg" maneuver first due south, then due east to safely navigate around and out of the crater field, while catching opportunities for some close-up imaging of the craters.

The rover's right front wheel continues to show only modestly elevated motor currents. However, the project continues to track this. The plan ahead is more driving as Opportunity leaves these carters behind and heads towards Endeavour, some 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) away.

As of Sol 2587 (May 4, 2011), solar array energy production was 367 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.819 and a solar array dust factor of 0.510.

Total odometry is 28,708.06 meters (28.71 kilometers, or 17.84 miles).


sols 2573-2580, April 20-27, 2011: Opportunity Makes Three Drives This Week

Opportunity continues the trek towards Endeavour crater.

The rover drove on Sols 2574, 2576 and 2579 (April 21, 23 and 26, 2011), covering over 340 meters (1,115 feet) to the southeast. The rover's right front wheel motor currents have settled down some, but the project continues to monitor this. The plan ahead is more driving.

As of Sol 2580 (April 27, 2011), solar array energy production was 381 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.870 and a solar array dust factor of 0.507.

Total odometry is 28,384.22 meters (28.38 kilometers, or 17.64 miles).


sols 2566-2572, April 13-19, 2011: Making Progress to Endeavour Crater

Opportunity continues the trek towards Endeavour crater with under 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) to go before reaching the first landfall on the rim of Endeavour crater.

The rover drove on Sols 2569 and 2572 (April 16 and 19, 2011), gaining an additional 221 meters (725 feet) to the southeast. The rover's right front wheel motor currents continue to measure in at reasonable levels. In addition to driving, a notable activity included staying up overnight in the Sol 2570 (April 17, 2011), plan in order to provide the power subsystem with the data they need to update the capacity estimate of the battery.

As of Sol 2572 (April 19, 2011), solar array energy production was 400 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.922 and a solar array dust factor of 0.5414.

Total odometry is 28,040.18 meters (28.04 kilometers, or 17.42 miles).


sols 2560-2565, April 07-12, 2011: Opportunity Just Four Miles from Endeavour Rim

Opportunity continues the trek towards Endeavour crater with less than 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) to go before reaching the first landfall on the rim of Endeavour crater.

The rover drove on Sols 2560, 2561 and 2562 (April 7, 8 and 9, 2011), covering over 250 meters (820 feet) to the southeast. The rover's right front wheel motor currents have settled down to more reasonable levels.

Opportunity refined its attitude knowledge with a calibration activity on its inertial measurement unit (IMU). With the pace of driving, these calibrations are done more frequently. The drive planned for Sol 2565 (April 12, 2011), did not occur because a Deep Space Network antenna tracking issue prevented the commands from reaching the rover.

As of Sol 2565 (April 12, 2011), solar array energy production was 390 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.919 and a solar array dust factor of 0.5355.

Total odometry is 27,818.48 meters (27.82 kilometers, or 17.29 miles).


sols 2554-2559, April 01-06, 2011: Several Drives This Week Put Rover Over 17-Mile Mark!

Opportunity continues the trek towards Endeavour crater with great dispatch, driving on four of the last six sols.

On Sols 2554 and 2556 (April 1 and 3, 2011), the rover drove over 100 meters (328 feet) due east on each sol. On Sol 2558 (April 5, 2011), the drive stopped short at only 64.6 meters (212 feet) of progress when the right bogie angle limit was exceeded. The limit was set very tight to ensure safe driving. A modest terrain feature caused the limit to trip. After careful review that there was no safety concerns, the rover resumed driving on Sol 2559 (April 6, 2011), with a 65.4 meter (215 foot) drive to the southeast. There continues to be a small increase in the motor currents for the right-front wheel. The project is tracking this.

Another diagnostic of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) instrument was performed on Sol 2557 (April 4, 2011). Those diagnostics still indicate anomalous behavior. The instrument investigation is continuing.

As of Sol 2559 (April 6, 2011), solar array energy production was 414 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.910 and a solar array dust factor of 0.561.

Total odometry is 27,504.97 meters (27.50 kilometers, or 17.09 miles).


sols 2546-2553, March 23-30, 2011: Opportunity Completes Several Drives This Week

Opportunity has resumed the trek towards Endeavour crater with a series of drives.

On Sol 2547 (March 24, 2011), the rover drove over 100 meters (328 feet) due east away from Santa Maria crater and toward Endeavour. On the next sol, Opportunity completed another long drive of over 114 meters (374 feet), but this time to the south to avoid some boulder-strewn terrain. On Sol 2551 (March 28, 2011), the rover continued in a south-southeast direction with a 71-meter (233 foot) drive to avoid more difficult terrain. Opportunity drove again on Sol 2552 (March 29, 2011), with a 39-meter (128-foot) drive, crossing another odometry mark. Opportunity has now driven over 27 kilometers (almost 17 miles) on Mars!

There has been a small increase in the motor currents for the right-front wheel. The project is keeping a close eye on this. A diagnostic of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) instrument was performed on Sol 2550 (March 27, 2011). The result of these tests still indicates anomalous behavior. More testing is planned. As of Sol 2552 (March 29, 2011), solar array energy production was 423 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.914 and a solar array dust factor of 0.560.

Total odometry is 27,035.63 meters (27 kilometers, or 16.80 miles).


sols 2540-2545, March 17-22, 2011: Opportunity Back on Path to 'Endeavour'

Opportunity completed the final position for the last wide-baseline stereo imaging of "Santa Maria" crater.

On Sol 2542 (March 19, 2011), the rover moved toward the final "eye" of the wide-baseline imaging location with a drive of 8.3 meters (27 feet). Over the next several sols, the rover collected extensive panoramic camera (Pancam) images of the crater and its interior for the wide-baseline imaging campaign.

With her work now complete at Santa Maria, Opportunity has resumed her trek to Endeavour crater, still some 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) away. For the next sol's plan, a drive of approximately 100 meters (328 feet) due east was sequenced, leaving Santa Maria in the rover's rear view mirror.

As of Sol 2545 (March 22, 2011), solar array energy production was 453 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.986 and a solar array dust factor of 0.588.

Total odometry is 26,709.42 meters (26.71 kilometers, or 16.60 miles).


sols 2533-2539, March 10-16, 2011: Opportunity Ready to Leave 'Santa Maria' Crater

Opportunity is positioning for the final wide-baseline stereo imaging, the last activity before leaving "Santa Maria" crater.

On Sol 2534 (March 11, 2011), the rover moved toward the final wide-baseline imaging location. The rover traveled about 2.7 meters (9 feet) before a safety check stopped the motion. Analysis showed that the rover was fine and the safety check was just being cautious. On Sol 2538 (March 15, 2011), Opportunity completed the final 2.7 meters (9 feet) to reach the first "eye" position of the wide-baseline stereo imaging. After completing the imaging here, Opportunity will move to the other "eye" location for the final picture taking before leaving Santa Maria crater for Endeavour crater, which is 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) away.

As of Sol 2538 (March 15, 2011), solar array energy production was 412 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.02 and a solar array dust factor of 0.579.

Total odometry is 26,701.08 meters (26.70 kilometers, or 16.59 miles).


sols 2527-2532, March 04-09, 2011: Study of 'Ruiz Garcia' Rock Completed

Opportunity completed the in-situ (contact) investigation on the surface target Ruiz Garcia at Santa Maria crater.

On Sol 2520 (Feb. 25, 2011), the rover used the robotic arm (Instrument Deployment Device, or IDD) to collect a microscopic imager (MI) image mosaic of Ruiz Garcia. Then, it placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) down on the target for multi-sol integration. On Sol 2531 (March 8, 2011), the rover backed away from the target and drove about 8.7 meters (29 feet) north to set up for the final wide-baseline stereo imaging, the last imaging before leaving Santa Maria crater.

As of Sol 2532 (March 9, 2011), solar array energy production was 412 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.05 and a solar array dust factor of 0.5565.

Total odometry is 26,695.66 meters (26.70 kilometers, or 16.59 miles).


sols 2520-2526, February 25 - March 03, 2011: Rover Snaps Close-Up of 'Ruiz Garcia'

Opportunity is completing the last in-situ (contact) study at Santa Maria crater.

On Sol 2520 (Feb. 25, 2011), the rover bumped 5.35 meters (18 feet) forward to approach the target "Ruiz Garcia," an exposed rock. Then, on the next sol, Opportunity attempted to collect a series of microscopic imager (MI) images, but the MI poker (to detect stand-off distance) did not trip. The project is investigating this. It could be because of the irregular rock surface, or the switch may no longer function. The MI poker is used infrequently and it has been some time since it was last used. The Mössbauer (MB) spectrometer touch plate can be and is used (frequently) as a functional alternate for the MI poker.

On Sol 2524 (March 1, 2011), the rover did collected several microscopic imager images, but the robotic arm (Instrument Deployment Device, or IDD) experienced a stall in Joint 2 (the elbow joint) due to the very long reach of the arm and very small commanded motion. This has been seen before and is expected anytime the IDD is making such a long reach. In any case, a diagnostic maneuver on Sol 2525 (March 2, 2011), confirmed the health of the arm and joint. The rover, also on that sol, bumped 21 centimeters (8 inches) closer to the rock to shorten the IDD reach.

The plan ahead, after the work on Ruiz Garcia is complete, is to drive to the final imaging waypoint around the crater, perform the wide-baseline stereo imaging of the crafter interior, and resume the path towards Endeavour crater, some 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) away.

As of Sol 2526 (March 3, 2011), solar array energy production was 446 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.35 and a solar array dust factor of 0.599.

Total odometry is 26,686.94 meters (26.69 kilometers, or 16.58 miles).


sols 2512-2519, February 16-23, 2011: Opportunity Hits the Road Again

Opportunity is completing the exploration of Santa Maria crater before resuming the trek towards Endeavour crater.

One objective is to position the rover further counter-clockwise around the southeast region of Santa Maria to collect more wide-baseline stereo imaging of the crater interior.

On Sols 2512 and 2513 (Feb. 16 and Feb. 17, 2011), a rock abrasion tool (RAT) grind was performed on the surface target Luis de Torres. The rover collected a series of microscopic imager (MI) mosaics of the 3-millimeter (0.12 inch) deep grind hole before placing the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) on the target on Sol 2515 (Feb. 19, 2011). With the in-situ investigation at Luis de Torres now complete, Opportunity began driving around the crater, first with a 7.4 meter (24 foot) move to the northeast on Sol 2518 (Feb. 22, 2011). Then, on Sol 2519 (Feb. 23, 2011), the rover approached the new imaging waypoint and more surface targets with a 15.3 meter (50 foot) drive.

The plan ahead is to complete the approach to the final targets and imaging waypoint. Then, perform the investigations there, and resume the path towards Endeavour crater, some 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) away.

As of Sol 2519 (Feb. 23, 2011), solar array energy production was 420 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.00 and a solar array dust factor of 0.624.

Total odometry is 26,681.38 meters (26.68 kilometers, or 16.58 miles).


sols 2500-2511, February 04-15, 2011: Good Health Report After Hiatus in Communications

Opportunity emerged from the solar conjunction in good order. Solar conjunction is the period when communications between Earth and Mars are disrupted because the Sun is directly in between the two planets.

Telemetry has been returned from the two-week solar conjunction period. With the known exception of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES), all systems are healthy. Extensive mössbauer (MB) integration spectra were successfully collected from the surface target Luis de Torres.

The rover has resumed normal tactical operations. The plan ahead is to perform a rock abrasion tool (RAT) grind on the surface target Luis de Torres for follow-on microscopic imager (MI) mosaics and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) measurements.

Completing that, Opportunity will resume the trek towards Endeavour crater. As of Sol 2511 (Feb. 15, 2011), solar array energy production was 505 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.949 and a solar array dust factor of 0.597.

Total odometry is 26,658.64 meters (26.66 kilometers, or 16.56 miles).


sols 2497-2499, February 01-03, 2011: Opportunity Catching Rays

Opportunity continues to be in the period of solar conjunction. Solar conjunction is the period when communications between Earth and Mars are disrupted because the Sun is directly in between the two planets.

The last communication with the rover was on Sol 2499 (Feb. 3, 2011), and all appears to be healthy.

Opportunity has a complete set of sequences on board to carry her through the conjunction period. Daily, multi-hour spectra will be collected by the mössbauer (MB) spectrometer which is positioned on the surface target Luis de Torres. A single alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) atmospheric argon measurement will be performed on Sol 2504 (Feb. 8, 2011).

Just before the conjunction blackout, Opportunity collected a set of 13-filter panoramic camera (Pancam) images of surrounding targets.

As of Sol 2499 (Feb. 3, 2011), solar array energy production was 585 watt-hours with an unknown atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.07 and an estimated solar array dust factor of 0.678. The increase in solar array energy from the last reporting period seems to suggest a solar array cleaning event.

Total odometry is 26,658.64 meters (26.66 kilometers, or 16.56 miles).


sols 2490-2496, January 25-31, 2011: Rover Staying Busy While Mars is Behind the Sun

Opportunity has entered the solar conjunction period. Solar conjunction is the period when communications between Earth and Mars are disrupted because the Sun is directly in between the two planets.

The last communication with the rover was on Sol 2496 (Jan. 31, 2011). The next communication is not expected until around Feb. 7, 2011.

Opportunity has a complete set of sequences on board to carry her through the conjunction period. Daily, multi-hour spectra will be collected by the mössbauer (MB) spectrometer which is positioned on the surface target Luis de Torres. A single alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) atmospheric argon measurement will be performed on Sol 2504 (Feb. 8, 2011).

Just before the conjunction blackout, Opportunity collected a set of 13-filter panoramic camera (Pancam) images of surrounding targets.

As of Sol 2496 (Jan. 31, 2011), solar array energy production was 524 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.07 and a solar array dust factor of 0.625.

Total odometry is 26,658.64 meters (26.66 kilometers, or 16.56 miles).


sols 2485-2489, January 20-24, 2011: Rover Conducting Science at Crater Rim

Opportunity is in position for solar conjunction at the southeast rim of the 80-meter (262-foot) diameter Santa Maria crater.

The southeast region of the rim shows evidence for hydrated sulfate minerals. Opportunity is positioned near a bright surface target called "Luis de Torres," and has begun the planned in-situ (contact) surface since campaign that will continue through solar conjunction.

On Sol 2485 (Jan. 20, 2011), a microscopic imager (MI) mosaic of Luis de Torres was collected. The target was brushed by the rock abrasion tool (RAT) on a previous sol. On Sol 2486 (Jan. 21, 2011), the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) was placed on the same target for a post-brushed integration. On the next sol, the Mössbauer (MB) spectrometer was then positioned on the target for a multi-week integration that will last through the solar conjunction period.

As of Sol 2489 (Jan. 24, 2011), solar array energy production was 554 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.854 and a solar array dust factor of 0.616.

Total odometry is 26,658.64 meters (26.66 kilometers, or 16.56 miles).


sols 2478-2484, January 12-19, 2011: Rover is Spending Several Weeks at Crater Rim

Opportunity is in position for solar conjunction at the southeast rim of the 80-meter (262-foot) diameter Santa Maria crater. Solar conjunction is the period when communications between Earth and Mars are disrupted because the Sun is directly in between the two planets.

The southeast region of the rim shows evidence for hydrated sulfate minerals. Opportunity is positioned near a bright surface target called "Luis de Torres," and has begun the planned in-situ (contact) surface science campaign that will continue through solar conjunction.

On Sol 2478 (Jan. 12, 2011), the rover performed a small ( approximately 4.6 degree) turn to position the surface target within reach of the rover's robotic arm (instrument deployment device, or IDD). The rover used the hazardous camera (Hazcam) to take some images of the arm's workspace.

A Deep Space Network issue delayed the return of data, so continued robotic arm activities had to wait. On Sol 2481 (Jan. 15, 2011), Opportunity used the IDD to collect a microscopic imager (MI) mosaic of the surface. Then, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) was placed down for a multi-sol measurement. On Sol 2484 (Jan. 19, 2011), the APXS was lifted from the target and the rock abrasion tool (RAT) was positioned for a grind-scan in preparation for brushing the target on a subsequence sol. Eventually the moessbauer spectrometer will be placed down for a multi-week integration.

As of Sol 2484 (Jan. 19, 2011), solar array energy production was 555 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.789 and a solar array dust factor of 0.603.

Total odometry is 26,658.64 meters (26.66 kilometers, or 16.56 miles).


sols 2471-2477, January 05-11, 2011: Rover Reaches Southeastern Rim of Santa Maria Crater

Opportunity is positioning herself for solar conjunction at the southeastern rim of the 80-meter (262-foot) diameter Santa Maria crater.

The solar conjunction period (late-January to mid-February) will afford the rover the chance to conduct a long (multi-week) integration on a surface target with the mössbauer (MB) spectrometer. Solar conjunction is the period when communications between Earth and Mars are disrupted because the Sun is directly in between the two planets. Seen from orbit, the southeast region of the rim of Santa Maria shows evidence for hydrated sulfate minerals. On Sol 2471 (Jan. 5, 2011), a planned drive did not occur because the rover detected an error in the drive sequence sent from Earth. This was corrected and Opportunity drove on Sol 2474 (Jan. 8, 2011), covering over 78 meters (256 feet) around the southern edge of Santa Maria. On Sol 2476 (Jan. 10, 2011), the rover performed a 15-meter (49-foot) approach to the planned spot for solar conjunction. On the next sol, Opportunity bumped about 3 meters (10 feet) to the final target location.

The rover is also continuing to collect wide-baseline stereo imaging of the crater and regular atmospheric argon measurements. The plan ahead will include some final rover positioning for robotic arm use and then the start of the in-situ (contact) science campaign that will extend through solar conjunction.

As of Sol 2477 (Jan. 11, 2011), solar array energy production was 582 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.800 and a solar array dust factor of 0.628.

Total odometry is 26,658.64 meters (26.66 kilometers, or 16.56 miles).


sols 2465-2470, December 30, 2010 - January 04, 2011: Rover Continues to Explore Santa Maria Crater

As the New (Earth) Year begins, Opportunity is continuing to explore the 80-meter (262-foot) diameter Santa Maria crater.

The exploration campaign consists of wide-baseline imaging surveys with both navigation camera (Navcam) and panoramic camera (Pancam) from several points around the rim of the crater. Because of the holiday period on Earth, the rover performed several sols of remote sensing imagery on Sols 2465, 2466 and 2467 (Dec. 30, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, 2011). On the next sol, Opportunity drove over 56 meters (184 feet) south then southeast, moving counter clockwise around the crater to set up for the next wide-baseline stereo imaging.

On Sols 2469 (Jan. 3, 2011) and 2470 (Jan. 4, 2011), more remote sensing imagery was collected along with an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) measurement of atmospheric argon. After the completion of the image survey from the current location, the rover will continue to move further 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 mässbauer (MB) spectrometer on putative hydrated sulfate minerals.

As of Sol 2470 (Jan. 4, 2011), solar array energy production was 584 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.692 and a solar array dust factor of 0.6205.

Total odometry is 26,562.05 meters (26.56 kilometers, or 16.50 miles).

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