Field Notes 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.
Sol 3705 - June 27, 2014
• 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 is still driving along a prominent ridge where orbital remote sensing detected the presence of an Al-OH feature. We are driving about 20 meters every few sols, and stopping to look at the local outcrops to see if we can find the source of what must be some fairly altered rocks eher on the western rim of the 22 kilometer-diameter Endeavour impact crater..
As of this sol Opportunity is approaching the end of the local ridge on the crater rim. Ahead is a long traverse up and over a mountain similar in size to the one that Spirit climbed in the Columbia Hills at Gusev crater. Opportunity must traverse over this hill to get to the next most interesting site, the so-called "smectite valley", where orbital remote sensing says there is the "mother lode of all phyllosilicate occurrences."
This view shows the current location from the perspective way back when Opportunity was at Cape York a kilometer or so to the north. Check out the size of Cape Tribulation, the next big hill that Opportunity will need to climb in the coming months.
Here is an overhead view of the latest drive. Opportunity just "bumped" to a small outcrop visible in this overhead projection of the Navcam panoramas. We will be here a couple of sols before moving on.
And the corresponding view of the outcrop from the front Hazcams.
And part of the Pancam panorama just completed looking south from this ridge towards Cape Tribulation and beyond.
? 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 several weeks past winter solstice
? solar panels are the cleanest since 2006
? we are driving south along the rim
? near the crest of Murray Ridge
? 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
? 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
- 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
- Opportunity has begun the ascent of Solander Point
- northward tilts of 15 ? or better at the end of each drive
- outcrops look like impact breccias back on the crest of Cape York
- 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.
The opportunity is less than 100m from "landfall" 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?
The Opportunity is about to finish the last observations in the plains before arrival at the next mountain, there is a short stop here to measure one last rock in the planes.
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 has exceeded 37 kilometers of odometry, has driven up onto the next "island" of rock, "Sutherland Point" and "Nobbys Head" as of sol 3325, and is currently is only about 700 m from the goal, the mountains to the south.
Opportunity has driven up onto the bench on the east side of Sutherland Point.
Since sol 3308 Opportunity has been driving south, on sol 3315 Opportunity reached the end of Cape York" and is now driving in the "plains".
Opportunity finishes studies at Matijevic Hill and begins the drive south and breaks off-Earth driving distance record set by Apollo 17.
Opportunity is doing one last "hurrah" here at Cape York before solar conjunction on a particularly interesting outcrop with a composition and structure unlike anything encountered before.
Rover Memory Hiccup.
Flash memory or computer problems oddly occurred on both Curiosity and Opportunity around Feb 27.
Clean-up activities in preparation for driving south.
We sent Opportunity a few meters uphill looking for the contact and are trying to get a quick composition and microscopic image on the outcrop.
Lots of small light-colored veins crossing through the outcrops here on Matijevic Hill, and we have tried to get a handle on the composition of these veins by doing multiple offsets with the APXS.
We moved north to an outcrop we called "Flack Lake" recently and did a quick look at the rocks with the MI and APXS.
Completed the bump and may have the target in the work volume....
Another New Mexico name gets used for a Mars outcrop target.
We finished up with examination of the big outcrop ("Copper Cliff") and moved to the next target over the weekend.
Traveling towards to big outcrop "Copper Cliff".
The decision was made to drive to the outcrop to the immediate west "Copper Cliff".
Finished Outcrop Walk, Starting Detailed Examination of Outcrops, Looking for Clays
An "outcrop walk" with Opportunity on the slopes of Cape York, a small residual part of the rim on the 20+ km diameter Endeavour crater, Mars.