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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


• 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

 

New Exhibit on the 10th Anniversary of MER Here at the NM Museum of Natural Hitory & Science 

• 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

            Today is the tenth anniversary of Opportunity's landing on Mars. here at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, we just opened a tenth anniversary Exhbit. The exhibit supplements the existing Mars Exploration Rover Exhibit that was opened in December, 2003 weeks before the first landing of Spirit.

- 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

• 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 sol3451 Opportunity began its climb of Solander Point. This is the highest “mountain” that Opportunity has tried to climb yet. The nice thing about this climb is the fact that it is all on a slope that faces north. Opportunity is solar powered, so north tilts are better for power generation during the winter here just south of the equator.

• 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

 

Opportunity arrived at the base of the next segment of the Endeavour crater rim and is now investigating the contact.

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