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.

 


Latest Report


Sol 3808 - October 10, 2014

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.

 

 

 

 

We are trying to get a good look at this rock that is currently in front of Opportunity. It is odd because it has a slabby layer or coating on the outside, yet is a different composition than most of the rocks along the crater rim. The abundance oif small rocks from the nearby crater ejecta is proving difficult to step around without slipping and tripping.

 

 

This is a view of the desired target in the Pancam image from this location. Nice and smooth.

 

 

 

Opportunity will become a comet flyby mission beginning in mid-October. The comet Siding Springs will zoom past Mars at a distance of about 135,000 km on October 19. There will be several opportunities to observe it in the days leag=ding up to the flyby. In preparation for making the observation we have been doing a series of test of the pointing and correct exposure, among other things.

 

 

Mark Lemmon and the Pancam team have been working on the geometry and here are a few images that give you an idea of the plan. The observation will occur before the sun is up and at an elevation of about 60 degrees above the horizon, so a scenic shot will be pretty much impossible. We are thinking about maybe getting images after sunrise so we will have a composite image to work with.

To get a sense of the geometry, here is the current view across the floor of the 12 mile wide Endeavour crater, looking east. I have very roughly indicated where the comet will be according to current predicts.=. During our first attempt at imaging before closest approach, the comet will be about 60 degrees above the horizon.


Archived sols



 

Sol 3790-September 22, 2014
? Rover memory has been re-formatted ? Ascending along Wdowiak Ridge ? Opportunity has arrived an impact crater on the ridge ? The view of the surroundings is beginning to get pretty nice
Sol 3753 - August 15, 2014
? 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
Sol 3650 - May 2, 2014
? 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
Sol3623 - April 3, 2014
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
Sol 3572 -February 10, 2014
? 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

Older sols..

Sol 3556 - January 24, 2014
? 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
Sol 3519 - December 18, 2013
- 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
Sol 3494 -  November 21, 2013
- 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
Sol 3467 - October 24, 2013
- 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
Sol 3431 - September 18, 2013
- 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
Sol 3397 - August 13, 2013
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.
Sol 3385 - August 2, 2013
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?
Sol 3378 - July 25, 2013
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.
Sol 3363 - July 10, 2013
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
 Sol 3355 - July 2, 2013
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.
Sol 3325- June 3, 2013
Opportunity has driven up onto the bench on the east side of Sutherland Point.
Sol 3317- May 24, 2013
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".
Sol 3310 - May 17, 2013
Opportunity finishes studies at Matijevic Hill and begins the drive south and breaks off-Earth driving distance record set by Apollo 17.
Sol 3262- March 29, 2013
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.
Sol 3237-3239 - March 4, 2013
Rover Memory Hiccup. Flash memory or computer problems oddly occurred on both Curiosity and Opportunity around Feb 27.
Sol 3220-3236 - March 1, 2013
Clean-up activities in preparation for driving south.
Sol 3219 - February 13, 2013
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.
Sol 3215 - February 6, 2013
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.
Sol 3188 - January 11, 2013
Completed the bump and may have the target in the work volume....
Sol 3185 - January 9, 2013
Another New Mexico name gets used for a Mars outcrop target.
Sol 3182 - January 6, 2013
We finished up with examination of the big outcrop ("Copper Cliff") and moved to the next target over the weekend.
Sol 3153 - December 7, 2012
Traveling towards to big outcrop "Copper Cliff".
Sol 3151-3152 - December 5-6, 2012
The decision was made to drive to the outcrop to the immediate west "Copper Cliff".
Sol 3150 - December 3, 2012
Finished Outcrop Walk, Starting Detailed Examination of Outcrops, Looking for Clays
Sol 3111- October 23, 2012
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.