In its sixth Martian winter, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity now has cleaner solar arrays than in any Martian winter since its first on the Red Planet, in 2005. Cleaning effects of wind events in March boosted the amount of electricity available for the rover's work.
A new self-portrait from Opportunity's panoramic camera (Pancam), showing the cleaned arrays, is online at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA18079
The mission is using the rover's added energy to inspect "Murray Ridge," on the western rim of Endeavour Crater, to learn about wet environments on ancient Mars.
During Opportunity's first decade on Mars and the 2004-2010 career of its twin, Spirit, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project yielded a range of findings proving wet environmental conditions on ancient Mars -- some very acidic, others milder and more conducive to supporting life.
JPL manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. For more information about Spirit and Opportunity, visit http://www.nasa.gov/rovers and http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov