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Rover Field Reports from Mars

Status Reports for MER Opportunity Rover at Endeavour Crater, Meridiani Planum

 

L. Crumpler, MER Science Team & New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is still exploring Mars. Below is a brief field report summary of its latest activity.

 


Latest Report


Publish Date: 
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 2:30pm

Opportunity is doing a geologic walkabout at the entrance to Perseverance Valley. There is an odd trough-like feature leading into the entrance of the valley and the natural suspicion is that it could be the water course that supplied the valley. We would like to get a look at the geologyto see if that is what formed the trough. Also, once Opportunity starts descending the valley, it will not be driving back up slope. We fully intend to exit out the bottom of the valley inside Endeavour crater. So any questions we have about bwhat went into the valley to form it, we need to ask and answer now.

Mean while, there is the mater of solar conjunction coming up in  a few weeks. Solar conjunction is a period of two to three weeks during which Mars is behind the sun or nearly so, and communications wibetween Earth and Mars is a bit sketchy. We have decided to wait outside the valley until solar conjunction is over. Then Opportunity will begin the descent in ernest. That will be around the beginning of August.


 


Archived Reports


Opportunity finished up its work on Wdowiak Ridge and has now continued southward along the rim of Endeavour crater. The ultimate goal is a large valley cutting through the crater rim that we have informally named “Marathon Valley”.

Opportunity continues to work its way up Wdowiak Ridge as it ascend southward along the rim of Endeavour crater. Currently Opportunity is examining some rocks  that were excavated and thrown out of a nearby small impact crater, Ulysses crater.

The various positions occupied by Opportunity as it works its way around several rock targets are shown on this overhead view of the local Navcam panoramas.

There was a stand-down of activities on Opportunity for a week or so as we emptied the flash memory and reformatted it following discovery of some “bad” flash memory blocks. Like re-formatting the memory card in you camera when it becomes troublesome, Opportunity simply wiped its data storage memory and reformatted it. This was completed about sol 3773 and currently it appears to have worked. Opportunity has re-commenced the long climb up this high and steep segment of the Endeavour crater rim.

• This sol is the Spring Equinox for the southern hemisphere on Mars

• Opportunity is now commencing ascent of a steep crater rim segment

• Opportunity has arrived at the base of an unusual outcrop

• Approximate 200 sol journey along “mountain ridge crest” ahead

• Opportunity now holds the distance record
• About to begin climb up the highest crater rim segment
• Brief stop this sol to look at contact with plains

Opportunity drove 48 meters on Sunday, July 27, exceeding the 21 meters necessary for it to have driven exactly 25 miles. ASt the concludion of the drive Opportunity had driven farther o=n the surface of another planet than any rover in history. This means that we have driven 25 miles actoss Mars and seen things that no one would ever have imagined that we would see.

• Opportunity has left the winter haven and is still driving south along the rim of Endeavour crater

• Currently exploring an outcrop a few meters from crater rim

• Power remains excellent but there is much driving ahead

• Opportunity  continues driving south along the rim of Endeavour crater

• Now approaching next area of outcrop

• Solar panels remain very clean, cleanest since about sol 1600

• Approaching distance driving record

Opportunity is closing in on the next important outcrop area here on the rim of Endeavour  crater. The outcrops just a hundred meters ahead have been identified from orbital remote sensing as having a strong Aluminum hydroxide feature. So these are probably going to be interesting outcrops one way or another.

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