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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 is at the base of Solander Point

• a boulder field here appears to be mostly vesicular basalt, a rock type that is not local

• shortly Opportunity will drive northwest along the scarp at the base of Solander Point

 

Opportunity arrived at the base of the next segment of the Endeavour crater rim and is now investigating the contact.

• less than 100m to go before “land fall” on Solander Point

• the next drive will put Opportunity at the “shore”

• a “new world” is about to be explored; what strange rocks and structures will we encounter?

 

• About to finish last observations in the plains before arrival at the next mountain

• There is a short stop here to measure one last rock in the plains

• Launch occurred over 10 years ago!

 

• Opportunity is only a couple of hundred meters out and closing fast on the next mountain

• A short side trip east is in the works to check out an anomaly in the terrain

 

• Opportunity just turned 5 Mars years old (a few months short of 10 Earth years)
• Opportunity just exceeded 37 kilometers of odometry
• On Sol 3325 Opportunity has driven up onto the next “island” of rock,  “Sutherland Point” and “Nobbys Head.”
• On this sol Opportunity is only about 700 m from the goal, the mountains to the south.

Overview Map Showing Status of Drive South. Here is the latest map showing the entire route driven by Opportunity on the rim of Endeavour crater since arriving in 2011.

• Opportunity has driven up onto the bench on the east side of Sutherland Point.

• The next drive will be slightly west of south and into that narrow zone to the immediate south of Sutherland Point

• Since sol 3308 Opportunity has been driving south

• On sol 3315 Opportunity reached the end of Cape York; now driving in the “plains”

Opportunity finally started driving south from its location on the outcrop where it had been since solar conjunction. Below are a couple of maps showing the current location (red circles) and the position on the outcrop (light blue circle) before it started the drive south. Downlinks have been poor for various reasons. So there is not a lot of image data down yet from all the driving this past week.

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