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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, July 7, 2017 - 4:00pm

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.

First there is the little matter of solar conjunction in a couple of weeks. Opportunity needs to be parked in a good, secure spot for the two weeks that mission operations must stand down while Mars is behind the Sun. THis current location will likely be the position during that stand down pepriod. Opportunity achieved a good 10 degree northerl tilt, so this should be power-friendly.

 

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Archived Reports


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.”

Sol  4039 - Two Week Period of Solar Conjunction Begins

Since my last post Opportunity has successfully driven from the summit of Cape Tribulation (the name we gave the highest point on the rim). The goal has been to arrive at a deep notch or valley ("Marathon Valley") in the crater rim by about March 15. Remote sensing from the orbiting Mars Reconnaissance Obiter (MRO) has shown that some spectacular exposures of weathered and altered minerals should be exposed there. That is always a clue that it is geologically very interesting in more than just minerals and chemistry.

Opportunity just finished up the super crater overview panorama, pulled away from the summit (here at -1380 m) and we are on our way to Marathon Valley! It's all downhill (about 70 m down in elevation) from here.

Above is a map showing the drive and 1 m contours. Note the small impact crater a few meters to the SW which is visible in the Navcam posted below.

Opportunity made it to the summit!! The view is spectacular. From here we can see all the way to the other side of the crater, we can see the rim looking north along the path to this location, and we can see far to the south, including another large impact crater that lies 10 km or so south of Endeavour.

We will be doing a Pancam color summit panorama over the next few days before moving on. Here is the Navcam pan from this location.

Despite memory problems, Opportunity is forging ahead and is now approaching the highest point on the rim of Endeavour crater. The view is beginning to be spectacular.

Above is part of the Navcam view taken on sol 3893. The view looks across the deck of the rover toward the summit which is now just a few meters away. ON the left you can see the flloor of Endeavour crater and the far rim 12 miles away.

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