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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: 
Friday, March 2, 2018 - 10:30am

During the last week of Febraury, 2018, on Sol 4999 since landing on Mars (14 tears ago), Opportunity woke up at took a picture of the sunrise over the southeast rim of Endeavour crater. Opportunity then proceeded with its science activities here on the inner wall of Endeavour crater.

For its special sol 5000, Opportunity did a selfie using the microcopic imager on the end of the arm. The other Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit, had used the microscopic imager to do a selfie (actually just images of the of the underside of the rover to look for clearance on a rock) many years ago. But this was the first time that Opportunity had attempted a true selfie. Because the Microscopic Imager is a fixed focus "handlens", images of far away features are out of focus and the mosaic selfie is not perefct. But when these images arrived, the Science Team and Rover Engineers were a bit surprosed that the selfie  was actually pretty good. The selfie is a bit blurry, but as a sol 5000 "birthday" present, it is a great selfie from of a verteran Mars Rover on Mars. It is an excellent example of an old rover learning a new trick.


Archived Reports


Sol 4978 - January 25, 2018 Opportunity at Outcrop SIte "Robledo"

 

 

Opportunity is continuing its drive down Persevereance Valley, a channel that was cut in the inner wall of the 22 km-diameter Endeavour impact crater in ancient Mars (Noachian) time. This is the second stop of a series of stops as Opportunity drives down the valley. The goal is to collect field data that will help assess the origin of the valley. While the valley looks like a water-cut valley, we cannot be sure whether other processes like wind or drive flow have cut the valley. But that is why we are taking our time and collecting data as we drive.

With the latest drive on sol 4782, Opportunity  began the long drive down the floor of Perseverance Valley here on Endeavour crater. THis is rather historic in that it represents the first time that a rover has driven down an apparent wtaer-cut valley on Mars. Over the next few months OPportunity will explore the floor and sides of the valley for evidence of the scale and timing of the fluvial activity, if that is what is represents.

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.

Sol 4734 – Sitting at the Head of Perseverance Valley

Opportunity has arrived at the head of Perseverance Valley, a possible water-cut valley here at a low spot along the rim of the 22-km diameter Endeavour impact crater. Investigations in the coming weeks will “endeavor”  to determine whether this valley was eroded by water or some other dry process like debris flows. It certainly looks like a water cut valley. But looks aren’t good enough. We need additional evidence to test that idea.

Sol 4718 Approaching the Head of Perseverance Valley!

Opportunity has begun the drive down the long descending southward slope of the rim crest here. The destination is a notch in the rim of Endeavour crater which is also the head of a small and ancient water-cut valley. There is a good view south along the rim from this location, although a dusty one.

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