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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


This weekend we will move to another outcrop to the north and ry to get a handle on the strange newberries. And maybe take a look at the alteration zones that have caused the boxwork type structures common to these outcrops.

While we wait to get there, take a look at the chart below. If all goes well, Opportunity will break the interplanetary rover distance record by next August.

We completed the bump and may have the target in the work volume....we think.

Another New Mexico name gets used for a Mars outcrop target.

The drive to the current target went well. But Opportunity will need to do some “adjustment” bumps in order to put the target in the work volume of the IDD. Because the IDD has a bad shoulder joint, Opportunity can only operate the arm in a single plane, more or less. So the part of any outcrop target that we would like to examine has to be pretty much in that plane and reachable. So careful positioning is necessary with particularly small targets like the one we are attempting to analyze.

We finished up with examination of  the big outcrop ("Copper Cliff") and moved to the next target over the weekend.

So we bumped towards the big outcrop ("Copper Cliff"). In the next plan we will center the rover work volume on a target that we have selected.

An attempt to bump left and get a small bright vein into the IDD work volume failed to get the target in the work plane. The Rover Planners figure that it could take several attempts to acquire such a tiny target. So the Science Team decided on Wednesday to bag it and move on to bigger fish. The decision was made to drive to the outcrop to the immediate west "Copper Cliff". On Friday we will then plan how to proceed. If lucky, we will have one of the lithologies within the work volume. If not, we will determine what we want to examine and bump to it for planning on Monday.

 

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