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Rover Field Reports from Mars

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

 

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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: 
Friday, July 7, 2017 - 4:00pm

With the latest drive on sol 4782, Opportunity  began the long drive down the floor of Perseverance Valley here on Endeavour crater. THis is rather historic in that it represents the first time that a rover has driven down an apparent wtaer-cut valley on Mars. Over the next few months OPportunity will explore the floor and sides of the valley for evidence of the scale and timing of the fluvial activity, if that is what is represents.

First there is the little matter of solar conjunction in a couple of weeks. Opportunity needs to be parked in a good, secure spot for the two weeks that mission operations must stand down while Mars is behind the Sun. THis current location will likely be the position during that stand down pepriod. Opportunity achieved a good 10 degree northerl tilt, so this should be power-friendly.

 

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Archived Reports


Opportunity is continuing its drives along the rim of the 22-km diameter impact crater Endeavour. In the next few drives it will be at or near the highest peak along the rim, Cape Tribulation summit. At that point Opportunity will be as high in elevation on Mars as it will ever be. The panoramic view from that summit should be awesome. Mid summer is only a few sols away.   

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

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