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 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
On sol3485 Opportunity pulled up next to a large outcrop here on the rim of Endeavour crater. The outcrop appears to be impact breccias like those we saw a few sols ago lower down on the ridge. But the texture of the rocks is somewhat different. So we will do a quick analysis and move onward and upward. In the next couple of sols we will drive on up the ridge to a place where we believe that we will spend some time hammering” on some outcrops which orbital remote sensing has suggested consists of clays.
Above is the full 38.5 kilometers of traverse so far. You can see how we are moving south along the west rim of the ancient impact crater “Endeavour”. The segment of the rim we are climbing right now is “Solander Point”.
Back on sol 3365 we took this image of Solander Point as we approached it. Here I have plotted the subsequent route that Opportunity has taken in climbing up the ridge. The outcrop shown I the images below are near the end of the yellow traverse line.
This is a look at the MRO/HiRISE orbital view of the last few drives along the ridge of Solander Point. The contours are 1m. We hope to move south for the winter to the area of outcrops indicated
This is the view looking back at our tracks as of a few sols ago. Note that the tracks appear over multiple rises as they dwindle into the distance down slope. That is the floor of Endeavour crater over on the right. On the left distance you can just make out Cape York and Nobby Head where Opportunity just spent some time before driving south to Solander Point.
And here is a view of the outcrop where opportunity is now. This was just before a short “bump” forward to get some of the outcrop within the “work volume” of the rover instrument deployment device.
? 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.