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Rover Field Reports 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. Below is a brief field report summary of its latest activity.

 


Latest Report


Publish Date: 
Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 4:00pm

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.

A short drive to the highest local point was done immediately after arrival and Opportunity has been working on a panorama from the overlook for the past couple of sols. The idea is to get a good overview of the valley from a high point before driving down it.  But before we drive down the valley, we want to get a good sense of the geologic features here on the head of the valley. It could come in handy as we drive down the valley and may help us understand some things, particularly the lithology of any materials we find on the valley floor or at the terminus down near the crater floor. So we will be doing a short “walk-about” here on the outside of the crater rim near the “spillway” into the valley.

Above is an overview map showing the traverse southward along the rim of Endeavour crater and the arrival at the head of Perseverance Valley. For more information about the arrival, visit NASA's Planetary Phtojournal (https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA21496)

Above, the Navcam panoramic view acquired on sol 4730 from north to south centered on due East and into the interior of Endeavour crater. Perseverance Valley descends from the right and terminates way down near the crater floor in the center of the panorama. The “mountains” on the distant horizon are of course the far rim of Endeavour crater. (The crater floor in the mid-ground is essentially the same size and relief as the scenic view of the Valle Grande from Highway  4 in NM.)

Comparison of the MRO/HiRISE view and the view from Opportunity at the current location.


 


Archived Reports


Sol 4535 - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Lower Inner Wall of Endeavour Crater


Opportunity has arrived at "Lewis and Clark Gap" with a new view to the south. It is about to leave Marathon Valley for good and head south into the next valley.  This marks the beginning of the current extended mission plan. At the end of the drive on sol 4482 Opportunity parked in a saddle between Knudsen and Wharton Ridges here on the west rim of Endeavour crater. Terrain is steep and there are places that we will continue to avoid in order to preserve drive options. It is easy to go down, but can be impossible to go back up slope if you are not careful.

Sol 4410 - Mon, June 20, 2016

Opportunity is finishing up its activities here in Marathon Valley on the western rim of the 22 km-diameter Endeavour impact crater.  Over the past few weeks it has been “walking” along a ridge inspecting the outcrops. From orbit this location was spied as containing significant clay minerals, so the rocks here have been studied carefully.

Part of the western rim of Endeavour showing the traverse thus far.

Sol 4365 - Thursday, May 5, 2016

Sol 4270 – January 28, 2016

Sol 4119 - August 26, 2015

Opportunity is back in communication after the two-week blackout of solar conjunction. We will be cleaning up activities here where Opportunity is sitting on the edge of a feature known as “Spirit of Saint Louis crater.”

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