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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


• 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 just turned 5 Mars years old (a few months short of 10 Earth years)
• Opportunity just exceeded 37 kilometers of odometry
• On Sol 3325 Opportunity has driven up onto the next “island” of rock,  “Sutherland Point” and “Nobbys Head.”
• On this sol Opportunity is only about 700 m from the goal, the mountains to the south.

Overview Map Showing Status of Drive South. Here is the latest map showing the entire route driven by Opportunity on the rim of Endeavour crater since arriving in 2011.

• Opportunity has driven up onto the bench on the east side of Sutherland Point.

• The next drive will be slightly west of south and into that narrow zone to the immediate south of Sutherland Point

• Since sol 3308 Opportunity has been driving south

• On sol 3315 Opportunity reached the end of Cape York; now driving in the “plains”

Opportunity finally started driving south from its location on the outcrop where it had been since solar conjunction. Below are a couple of maps showing the current location (red circles) and the position on the outcrop (light blue circle) before it started the drive south. Downlinks have been poor for various reasons. So there is not a lot of image data down yet from all the driving this past week.

• Finally Opportunity finishes studies at Matijevic Hill and begins the drive south

• Opportunity breaks off-Earth driving distance record set by Apollo 17

 

One last outcrop, then solar conjunction

Opportunity is doing one last "hurrah" here at Cape York on a particularly interesting outcrop with a composition and structure unlike anything encountered before. We were about to start driving southward after the last stop, but the results came down from this strange outcrop. And unlike our tendency to avoid driving back to a previous spot, we decided we had to get more information on this rock unit. Then we have got to start driving south towards the next mountain.

Rover Memory Hiccup. We need to re-do the plan from several days ago.

Flash memory or computer problems oddly occurred on both Curiosity and Opportunity around feb 27. One possibiliy is that a large solar flare resulted in radiation at Mars sufficient to temporarily corrupt the memory on both rovers. Mars is currently a few weeks away from solar conjunction, so big flare could have happened on the other side of the Sun. 

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