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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: 
Thursday, July 5, 2018 - 11:15am

Sol 5135 - Opportunity Continues Weathering the Global Dust Event of 2018 at Perseverance Valley

Opportunity is hunkered down in the floor of Perseverance Valley here on the inner wall of Endeavour crater waiting out the global dust storm of 2018.

The outcrop currently being investigated, “La Joya”, is exposed sitting in the floor of Perseverance Valley and is an anomalous basaltic and vesicular petrology. Meanwhile the north and south walls of the valley appear to be rather clast-poor impact breccias which we believe may not be from Endeavouur crater, but instead represent a “pre-Endeavour:” lithology. And Perseverance Valley seems to have north and south walls that line up with very noticeable faults (“Socorro” and “La Bajada”) cutting through the crater rim.

Status of Dust Storm:

  • MRO/ HiRISE images acquired over the last week are mostly unusable except for the south pole and some high northern latitudes
  • MRO/MARCI reports that dust was still lifting in several locations, so the storm is not abating yet
  • Current assessment of the present storm by the Martian weather experts suggest that this storm is more like the 2001 storm than the 2007 storm. In that storm opacity (tau) did not drop below 2.0 (an acceptable number for Opportunity) until about 80 sols (Mars days) after the storm started.

Above is an oblique view of the current location of Opportunity on the inner wall of Endeavour crater showing the course of Perseverance valley. Also, high-lighted in cyan, are the two fractures or faults that appear to form the north and south margins of the south fork of the two-forked valley. The red and pink areas are the locations of unusual outcrops of basaltic rocks exposed in the floor of the valley. Outcrops outside the valley are largely impact breccias making up the wall of Endeavour crater.

 

Sol 5104, front Hazcam view from Opportunity just before the beginning of the dust storm. Opportunity is examining the outcrop target “La Joya” in the floor of Perseverance Valley. Notice the tilt. At this location Opportunity is sitting on an 18 to 20 degree tilt. Every move is calculated carefully because every move causes a down-hill slip.

View up valley from Opportunity’s current location showing the principal characteristics of Perseverance Valley at this location. This is a superposition of a color Pancam mosaic on a black and white Navcam mosaic.


Archived Reports


• The NM Museum of Natural History MER 10th Anniversary Exhibit opened here on January 24

• Opportunity is still at its "winter haven" on the crest of Murray Ridge

• Opportunity finally finished its study of the "jelly donut" rock Pinnacle Island

• Opportunity is looking now at some odd, possibly mineralized rocks

 

New Exhibit on the 10th Anniversary of MER Here at the NM Museum of Natural Hitory & Science 

• Today is Opportunity's tenth birthday 

• Opportunity is at its "winter haven" on the crest of Murray Ridge

• Opportunity is investigating the "mystery rock" Pinnacle Island

• Power is good due to panel cleaning events

            Today is the tenth anniversary of Opportunity's landing on Mars. here at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, we just opened a tenth anniversary Exhbit. The exhibit supplements the existing Mars Exploration Rover Exhibit that was opened in December, 2003 weeks before the first landing of Spirit.

- Opportunity is near summit of this part of Endeavour crater rim

- the rock types that we have searched for may be in local outcrops

- winter power is looking good

• the climb continues along the crest of the crater rim

• Opportunity is now very high and the view is starting to be spectacular

• possible important outcrops spotted ahead

 

On sol3451 Opportunity began its climb of Solander Point. This is the highest “mountain” that Opportunity has tried to climb yet. The nice thing about this climb is the fact that it is all on a slope that faces north. Opportunity is solar powered, so north tilts are better for power generation during the winter here just south of the equator.

• Opportunity "wades ashore" at Solander Point on September 13

• climbing Solander Point is imminent

• spectacular Navcam panorama of the major geologic contact at this location

 

• 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.

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