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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: 
Monday, March 13, 2017 - 10:30am

Opportunity has begun the drive down the long descending southward slope of the rim crest here. The destination is a notch in the rim of Endeavour crater which is also the head of a small and ancient water-cut valley. There is a good view south along the rim from this location, although a dusty one.

The view behind us shows that we are driving on a relatively smooth terrain of regolith, while to the east (left in this view) there are substantial outcrops of the impact crtaer breccias making up the crater rim. This is also the highest point on the rim. After this location we will be descending a good 100 meters or so to the next target on the rim.

The Pancam panorama looking south and the drive ahead shows where we are going. The bright mesa-like feature is over 800 meters away and just a 100 meters or so beyond the point where Opportunity is headed. You can also see the significant "hole" of the crater to the left of the rim. Notice that the regional dust storm is seriously impacting visiblity, as it is power.


 


Archived Reports


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.

 

Opportunity Rover: Finished Outcrop Walk, Starting Detailed Examination of Outcrops, Looking for Clays

 

We on the MER Opportunity science team are currently doing an “outcrop walk” with Opportunity on the slopes of Cape York, a small residual part of the rim on the 20+ km diameter Endeavour crater, Mars.  This part of Cape York where we are currently exploring is where we have evidence for ancient clays and we would like to examine them. On Earth, when mapping the geology of an area, a geologist often walks around getting a general feel for what outcrops are present and what particular outcrops will be the best for sampling or for testing  a particular hypothesis.

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