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Opportunity's Mission Manager Reports
July 8, 2014
 

 

Rover Uses Arm to Study Several Rocks and Takes Panoramic Images-- sols 3704-3710, June 25, 2014-July 1, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring south along the west rim of Endeavour Crater.  The rover is currently surveying a region where orbital data suggests the presence of aluminum-hydroxyl clay minerals.  

On Sol 3705 (June 26, 2014), after collecting some color Panoramic Camera (Pancam) observations; Opportunity bumped 5 feet (1.5 meters) to reach some interesting surface targets with the robotic arm instruments.  A full 360-degree Navigation Camera (Navcam) panorama was taken to document the rover's location and potential drive directions. 

On Sol 3707 (June 28, 2014), the rover began three sols worth on in-situ (contact) investigations.  A Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic was collected of the surface target "Sodaville," followed by a placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration on the same.  On the next sol, Opportunity collected a MI mosaic of the target "Tuscaloosa," followed by another APXS placement.  On the third sol, the rover investigated a target just offset from "Sodaville," with another MI mosaic and APXS placement.  With the work complete at this target area, on Sol 3710 (July 1, 2014), Opportunity drove over 85 feet (26 meters) south with mid-drive Pancam imagery.  Another full 360-degree Navcam panorama was taken to document the new rover location and potential drive directions.  Opportunity is in good health with no resets or faults, well-behaved wheel currents and ample energy.  

As of Sol 3710 (July 1, 2014), the solar array energy production was 745 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.762 and a solar array dust factor of 0.872.

Total odometry is 24.62 miles (39.62 kilometers).

› See traverse map


Rover Has Enough Energy for Some Late-Night Work-- sols 3697-3703, June 18, 2014-June 24, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring the west rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover is continuing south along the ridgeline that forms the spine of the crater rim, collecting color imagery of targets and outcrops along the way.

With ample energy, Opportunity has been able to conduct some late-night activities. On Sol 3697 (June 18, 2014), the rover collected an atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS), and took advantage of a Phobos moon imaging opportunity. On Sol 3698 (June 19, 2014), the rover proceeded just over 82 feet (25 meters) to the south with another Phobos imagining opportunity that night, and an argon measurement on the next night. Sol 3700 (June 21, 2014), was the first sol of a 2-sol 'touch 'n go' with the collection of a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and subsequent APXS measurement on a surface target of opportunity. The rover then drove on the next sol, heading 42 feet (13.5) meters south.

On Sol 3703 (June 24, 2014), Opportunity began an approach to a surface target with a 31 feet (9.4-meter) move. Also, the project continues with the spacecraft clock correction, moving the clock about 3 seconds back each sol. There have been no Flash-related anomalies and the rover continues in good health.

As of Sol 3703 (June 24, 2014), the solar array energy production was 743 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.652 and a solar array dust factor of 0.894.

Total odometry is 24.60 miles (39.59 kilometers).

› See traverse map


Imaging Mars' Moon Phobos-- sols 3691-3696, June 12, 2014-June 17, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring the west rim of Endeavour Crater. On Sol 3691 (June 12, 2014), the rover continued south along the ridgeline of the crater rim, completing a 66-feet (20-meter) drive.

On the evening of Sol 3693 (June 14, 2014), a Flash memory amnesia event (where Flash memory fails to mount after a wake up) occurred. There were no impacts to operations and no loss of science data. On Sol 3696 (June 17, 2014), Opportunity continued the southward progress with a 115-feet (35-meter) drive. The rover is also documenting the current terrain with targeted multi-color Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images and Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas.

With abundant energy and the need to condition the batteries, Opportunity has been waking late at night and collecting atmospheric argon measurements with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). These late wake ups have also created opportunities to image Mars' moon Phobos. The martian moon along with its putative dust torus will be imaged on the evening of Sol 3697 (June 18, 2014). Wheel currents continue to be very well behaved. And, no Flash-induced resets have occurred in this reporting period.

As of Sol 3696 (June 17, 2014), the solar array energy production was 706 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.617 and a solar array dust factor of 0.864.

Total odometry is 24.57 miles (39.4 kilometers).

› See traverse map


Opportunity is exploring the west rim of Endeavour Crater -- sols 3684-3690, June 04, 2014-June 11, 2014:

On Sol 3684 (June 4, 2014), Opportunity drove over 62 feet (19 meters) south along the ridgeline of the crater rim.

Over Sols 3686 to 3688 (June 6 to June 8, 2014), the plan was to perform a 'touch 'n go,' using the robotic arm on the first sol, then driving away on the second sol, but the rover experienced a warm reset induced by a write error in Flash memory. The rover was otherwise in good health, but left without a master sequence running. On Sol 3689 (June 10, 2014), the project restored the rover to normal sequence control and Opportunity completed a 69 feet (21-meter) drive.

As of Sol 3690 (June 11, 2014), the solar array energy production was 660 watt-hours with an increased atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.868 and a solar array dust factor of 0.924.

Total odometry is 24.53 miles (39.49 kilometers).

› See traverse map


Opportunity Recovering From Flash Memory Problems -- sols 3677-3683, May 28, 2014-June 4, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring the west rim of Endeavour Crater.  However, the rover experienced a set of reset events triggered by an error writing to flash memory.  

On Sol 3677 (May 28, 2014), Opportunity had a nominal drive of just over 62 feet (19 meters).  On the next sol, the rover moved 57 feet (17.4 meters) further, generally to the south, southeast.  On Sol 3679 (May 30, 2014), Opportunity performed an in-situ (contact) science campaign as the first sol of a "touch and go."  A touch and go is where the rover uses the robotic arm on the first sol of a multi-sol plan (the touch) and then drives on the next sol (the go).  However, Opportunity experienced a warm reset on the second sol, Sol 3680 (May 31, 2014).  The touch was successful, collecting a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target, followed by an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurement overnight, but the drive on the next sol never occurred because of the reset.  

These warm resets have occurred in the past when an error occurs while writing to a specific area of flash (non-volatile) memory.  The rover was restored to normal sequence operation on Sol 3682 (June 2, 2014), after the Sol 3680 reset.  Another warm reset occurred on Sol 3683 (June 4, 2014), but the rover was restored to nominal operations the following sol.

As of Sol 3682, the solar array energy production was 733 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.682 and a solar array dust factor of 0.908.

Total odometry is 24.51 miles (39.44 kilometers).

› See traverse map


Rover Corrects its Spacecraft Clock -- sols 3672-3676, May 23, 2014-May 27, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring south on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.  

The rover is conducting an in-situ (contact) science campaign in the northern part of the region of aluminum/hydroxyl clay minerals seen from orbit.  

Opportunity has been correcting her spacecraft clock by a few seconds each day (sol) to gradually offset the accumulated drift since the beginning of the mission.  

On Sol 3673 (May 24, 2014), the rover continued a multi-sol Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) integration of the surface target, called “Sarcobatus Flat.”  On Sol 3674 (May 25, 2014), Opportunity repositioned the robotic arm to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of a clast, followed by the placement of the APXS on the clast.  

A flash "amnesia" event occurred on the night of Sol 3674 (May 25, 2014).  All APXS data were recovered.  On Sol 3676 (May 27, 2014), the rover once again repositioned the robotic arm to get the entire field of view (FOV) of the APXS on the clast target.  

As of Sol 3676, the solar array energy production was 764 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.613 and a solar array dust factor of 0.942.

Total odometry is 24.49 miles (39.41 kilometers).

› See traverse map


Busy Week of Activities on Several Rock Targets-- sols 3663-3671, May 14, 2014-May 22, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring south of “Solander Point” on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.  

The rover is conducting an in-situ (contact) science campaign in the region of aluminum/hydroxyl clay minerals seen from orbit.  Because of ample energy levels, Opportunity collects an atmospheric argon with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on each evening when the rover wakes for battery conditioning and the robotic arm is not on a surface target, as it did on Sols 3663 and 3670 (May 14 and May 21, 2014).  

On Sol 3664 (May 15, 2014), the rover began its surface campaign in this region with the collection of a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and the placement of the APXS on the surface target, called “Bristol Well,” a light-toned vein.    

On Sols 3666 and 3667 (May 17 and 18, 2014), Opportunity repositioned the APXS each time in order to collect an offset measurement on the vein.  On Sol 3669 (May 20, 2014), Opportunity bumped about 10 feet (2.9 meters) forward to reach a new surface target.  On Sol 3671 (May 22, 2014), the rover began the investigation of the target, called “Sarcobatus Flat,” with the collection of a MI mosaic and the placement of the APXS.  

As of Sol 3671, the solar array energy production was 751 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.667 and a solar array dust factor of 0.955.

Total odometry is 24.49 miles (39.41 kilometers).


Opportunity Explores Region of Aluminum Clay -- sols 3657-3662, May 8, 2014-May 13, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring south of “Solander Point” on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.  The rover is exploring the region of aluminum-hydroxyl clay minerals seen from orbit.  

On Sol 3657 (May 8, 2014), Opportunity collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface outcrop, called "Ash Meadows," then placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for a multi-sol integration.  On Sol 3659 (May 10, 2014), the rover drove just under 85 feet (26 meters) to the east, approaching a region of extended outcrop as a possible site for clay minerals.  Also, Opportunity tested the new two-second spacecraft clock correction sequence.  Over the next two sols, the rover collected an atmospheric argon measurement with the APXS and performed two more one-second-clock corrections.  

On Sol 3662 (May 13, 2014), Opportunity bumped 7 feet (2 meters) forward to approach an exposed rock outcrop for further in-situ (contact) investigation.  

As of Sol 3662, the solar array energy production was 761 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.621, and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.964.  Perfectly clean solar arrays would have a dust factor of 1.0, so the larger the dust factor, the cleaner the arrays.

Total odometry is 24.49 miles (39.41 kilometers).

› See traverse map


Rover Switches to Driving Backwards Due to Elevated Wheel Currents-- sols 3636-3644, April 16, 2014-April 24, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring south of “Solander Point” on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.  

The rover is headed to a region of clay minerals seen from orbit.  Opportunity drove six times on Sols 3637, 3639, 3641, 3642, 3643 and 3644 (April 17, 19, 21, 22, 23 and April 24, 2014), totaling just over 656 feet (200 meters).  Elevated motor currents have been seen in the right-front wheel.  So in addition to extra actuator heating, the rover has switched to driving backwards again.  The project is continuing to investigate mitigation strategies for the elevated wheel current.  

On Sol 3639 (April 19, 2014), Opportunity passed another milestone of 24 miles (39 kilometers) of total odometry.  

As of Sol 3643 (April 23, 2014), the solar array energy production was 658 watt-hours with an un-calibrated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.273 and a solar array dust factor of 0.817.

Total odometry is 24.32 miles (39.14 kilometers).


Driving Up To Crater Rim-- sols 3630-3635, April 10, 2014-April 15, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring "Murray Ridge," part of the west rim of Endeavour Crater.  

The near-term plan is to drive up to the crater rim's ridgeline and image the interior of Endeavour.  On Sol 3630 (April 10, 204), Opportunity moved 28 feet (8.6 meters) to a local highpoint to catch a dramatic sweeping view into the crater.  Over the next few sols, the rover collected a large Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panorama.  Because the right-front wheel currents have persistently elevated, the project is also performing conditioning heating of the right-front drive actuator, while the rover is stationary to image the crater.  

On Sol 3635 (April 15, 2014), the rover moved about 66 feet (20 meters) further south to complete the view into the crater and make progress towards the clay minerals still several hundred feet (meters) away.  

As of Sol 3635 (April 15, 2014), the solar array energy production was 622 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.413 and a solar array dust factor of 0.831.

Total odometry is 24.20 miles (38.94 kilometers).

“Solander Point” on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.  


Driving Further Southwest on ‘Murray Ridge’-- sols 3617-3621, March 28, 2014-April 1, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring "Murray Ridge," part of the west rim of Endeavour Crater.  

On Sol 3617 (March 28, 2014), the rover continued further to the southwest on Murray Ridge with a 68-foot (20.8-meter) drive.  After two sols of remote sensing over the weekend, Opportunity drove again on Sol 3621 (April 1, 2014), with a 144-foot (44-meter) drive that included some mid-drive imaging of an exposed rock outcrop.  

As of Sol 3621 (April 1, 2014), the solar array energy production was 661 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.433 and a solar array dust factor of 0.868.

Total odometry is 24.15 miles (38.87 kilometers).


Helpful Wind Cleans Solar Panels-- sols 3603-3609, March 13, 2014-March 19, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring "Murray Ridge" on Solander Point, part of the rim of Endeavour Crater.  

The rover continues to investigate the region called "Cook Haven."  On Sol 3603 (March 13, 2014), Opportunity completed the in-situ (contact) analysis of a target called "Augustine" with a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and a placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same.  On the next two Sols, the rover conducted remote sensing with the collection of Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images and a measurement of atmospheric argon with the APXS.  Atmospheric opacity (tau) measurements using the Navcam were performed in support of the InSIght mission.  On Sol 3607 (March 17, 2014) a short bump was planned to approach a target rock, called "Sugarloaf."  However, the drive stopped after just 2.3 meters (7.55 feet) due to the rover sensing higher average current in three of the rover wheels.  This was a safety check to detect possible embedding events.  Although the rover did experience as much as 50% slip, there was no risk of embedding, just a steep upward climb.  Given the difficult terrain, the approach to Sugarloaf would require multiple additional drives to be able to use the robotic arm on the rock surface.  So, the science team chose to document Sugarloaf with more color imagery and to drive further south and west to new targets.  On Sol 3609 (March 19, 2014), Opportunity drove about 16.35 meters (53.64 feet) to the southwest.  The rover experienced a solar panel dust cleaning event between Sols 3605 and 3606 (March 15 and March 16, 2014).  This resulted in about a 10% improvement in power production.

As of Sol 3609, the solar array energy production was 574 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.450 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.777.

Total odometry is 24.10 miles (38.79 kilometers)


Crushing Rocks With Wheels -- sols 3581-3588, February 19, 2014-February 26, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring "Murray Ridge" on Solander Point, part of the rim of Endeavour Crater. 

Investigation continued on “Anchor Point,” Sol 3581 (Feb. 19, 2014) through Sol 3583 (Feb. 21, 2014), with Microscopic Imager (MI) and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on two soil locations. 

On Sol 3585 (Feb. 23, 2014), the rover was driven to place its right front wheel on the rock “Sledge Island," then while the other wheels were kept stationary, that wheel was driven forward a quarter turn, then backwards a quarter turn. That was done three times and then the rover moved to see what it had accomplished.  Sledge Island was indeed crushed, and parts of it were in the Instrument Deployment Device (IDD) work volume.  The team generated a Microscopic Imager mosaic and placed the APXS on it Sol 3587 (Feb. 25, 2014).  The subsequent integration appears to have been successful. This should largely wrap-up the work at the current location, though the team will attempt to crack “Stuart Island” under the wheel as the rover drives away. 

As of Sol 3588 (Feb. 26, 2014), the solar array energy production was 464 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.498 and a solar array dust factor of 0.691.

Total odometry is 24.07 miles (38.74 kilometers).


Exploration of ‘Murray Ridge’-- sols 3576-3580, February 13, 2014-February 18, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring "Murray Ridge" on Solander Point, part of the rim of Endeavour Crater.  

The rover continues to investigate the region called "Cook Haven."  On Sol 3576 (Feb. 13, 2014), the rover completed the in-situ (contact) investigation of the rock target, called "Stuart Island" with another Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and a placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on a fourth location on the rock.  

Then, on Sol 3578 (Feb. 15, 2014), Opportunity bumped just over a meter to reach a new target, called "Anchor Point."  In the process, the rover collected some mid-drive imaging with the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and attempted to crush the rock, named "Sledge Island."  On Sol 3579 (Feb. 16, 2014), an atmospheric argon measurement with the APXS was sequenced and new atmospheric opacity measurements with the Navigation Camera (Navcam) were performed to assist the InSIGHT mission.  The plan ahead is for in-situ investigation of "Anchor Point" and associated targets.  

As of Sol 3580 (Feb. 18, 2014), the solar array energy production was 409 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.480 and a solar array dust factor of 0.614.

Total odometry is 24.07 miles (38.74 kilometers).


Busy Week of Imaging and Robotic Arm Studies -- sols 3568-3575, February 5, 2014-February 12, 2014:

Opportunity is climbing "Murray Ridge" up on Solander Point, part of the rim of Endeavour Crater.  

The rover continues to explore the region called "Cook Haven."  The rover has turned its attention to other rocks within this area.  On Sol 3568 (Feb. 5, 2014), Opportunity lifted her robotic arm so 13-filter Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images of the surface target, called "Green Island" could be collected, along with some Navigation (Navcam) images.  On the next sol, the rover used the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to brush a spot on Green Island and followed that with a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and a placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS).  

On Sol 3571 (Feb. 8, 2014), the rover collected a 13-filter Pancam image of the brushed spot on Green Island before bumping about 9.8 feet (3 meters) to a new rock target, called "Stuart Island."  Opportunity began the in-situ (contact) investigation of Stuart Island on Sol 3573 (Feb. 10, 2014), with a MI mosaic and APXS placement for an overnight integration.  The rover repeated this again on the next sol with more MI mosaics, but with an offset placement of the APXS.  Continuing the campaign on Sol 3575 (Feb. 12, 2014), Opportunity collected more MI mosaics and performed a third offset of the APXS.  

As of Sol 3575 (Feb. 12, 2014), the solar array energy production was 387 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.548 and a solar array dust factor of 0.610.

Total odometry is 24.07 miles (38.74 kilometers).


‘Pinnacle Island’ Rock Studies Continue -- sols 3561-3567, January 29, 2014-February 4, 2014:

Opportunity is up on “Solander Point,” part of the rim of Endeavour Crater.  The rover continues to explore the region called "Cook Haven."  

The rock named "Pinnacle Island" continues to be a target of investigation.  On Sol 3561 (Jan. 29, 2014), an additional overnight integration was performed by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on Pinnacle Island.   On Sol 3562 (Jan. 30, 2014), additional Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaics were collected followed by an offset placement of the APXS for a multi-sol integration.  A dust devil watch movie was collected on the morning of Sol 3566 (Feb. 3, 2014).  Later on that sol, the rover bumped forward approximately 10 feet (3 meters) to the northeast and collected mid-drive imaging of the area previously underneath the rover to locate the original site for Pinnacle Island.  The rover's next objective is to reach the nearby surface target, called "Green Island."  On Sol 3567 (Feb. 4, 2014), the rover bumped about 9 feet (2.7 meters) backward to the southeast over Green Island to place the target within reach of the robotic arm work volume.  

As of Sol 3567 (Feb. 4, 2014), the solar array energy production was 339 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.514 and a solar array dust factor of 0.584.

Total odometry is 24.07 miles (38.73 kilometers).


Work on Mystery Rock Continues As Rover Marks 10 Years on Mars -- sols 3554-3560, Jan. 22, 2014-Jan. 28, 2014

Opportunity is up on 'Solander Point' at the rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover is continuing to investigate this curious surface rock, called 'Pinnacle Island' that apparently was kicked up by the rover during a recent traverse.

Opportunity landed on Mars on Jan. 24, 2004 PST (Jan. 25, 2004 UTC) on what was to be a three-month mission, but instead the rover has lived beyond its prime mission and roved the planet for nearly 10 years. Mission highlights, including a gallery of selected images from both rovers is at http://mars.nasa.gov/mer10/.

On Sol 3554 (Jan. 22, 2014), with a difficult robotic arm wrist motion preventing a simple target offset, Opportunity instead lifted the robotic arm out of the way for a 13-filter Panoramic Camera (Pancam) image of the target Pinnacle Island, then placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) back down on the same location.

On Sol 3555 (Jan. 23, 2014), the rover attempted a very small turn-in-place of only 1.4 degrees to reach a new location on the target. The initial wheel motion achieved sufficient turn magnitude, but the wheel straightening undid that motion so the target position was not reached. This was not surprising since very small motions are very difficult to achieve with the rover. On Sol 3557 (Jan. 25 2014), this motion was attempted again, but this time a 'tank turn' was used and achieved the necessary result. The rover continued with 13-filter Pancam imagery and an APXS atmospheric argon measurement. On Sol 3560 (Jan. 28, 2014), the robotic arm collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the new location on Pinnacle Island, followed by the placement of the APXS on the same.

As of Sol 3560 (Jan. 28, 2014), the solar array energy production was 361 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.572 and a solar array dust factor of 0.590.

Total odometry is 24.07 miles (38.73 kilometers).


Seeking the Sun’s Rays as Winter Approaches -- sols 3467-3472, October 24, 2013-October 30, 2013:

Opportunity is ascending the northern edge of “Solander Point” at the rim of “Endeavour Crater.”  The rover is maintaining favorable northerly tilts for improved energy production as winter approaches.  

On Sol 3467 (Oct. 24, 2013), Opportunity bumped 4.3 feet (1.3 meters) towards the outcrop called "Waratah."  The next sol had the rover use the robotic arm to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target, called "Baobab," and then place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same for a multi-sol integration.  On Sol 3471 (Oct. 29, 2013), Opportunity continued the ascent up Solander heading toward another energy "lily pad," driving about 95 feet (29 meters) nearly due south, and collecting a set of post-drive Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas.  On the following sol, the rover continued driving with a nearly 33 feet (10-meter) drive toward another energy lily pad.  

As of Sol 3472 (Oct. 30, 2013), the solar array energy production was 299 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.510 and a solar array dust factor of 0.488.

Total odometry is 23.93 miles (38.51 kilometers).


Busy Week of Science and Driving -- sols 3460-3466, October 17, 2013-October 23, 2013:

Opportunity is ascending the northern edge of “Solander Point” at the rim of “Endeavour Crater.”  

The rover is maintaining favorable northerly tilts for improved energy production as winter approaches.  On Sol 3460 (Oct. 17, 2013), Opportunity conducted an in-situ (contact) investigation of the outcrop named "Kangaroo Paw" using the instruments on the end of the robotic arm.  The Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) was employed to brush the surface target prior to placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS).  

On the next sol, a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic was collected, followed by another placement of the APXS.  On Sol 3466 (Oct. 23, 2013), after several sols of APXS integration and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam) remote sensing, the rover continued ascending Solander Point driving 41 feet (12.5 meters) forward towards more rock outcrop.  Opportunity also fit in after the drive an atmospheric argon measurement with the APXS.  

As of Sol 3466 (Oct. 23, 2013), the solar array energy production was 320 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.596 and a solar array dust factor of 0.514.

Total odometry is 23.90 miles (38.47 kilometers).


Maintaining Favorable Tilt for Sunshine -- sols 3453-3459, October 10, 2013-October 16, 2013:

Opportunity is ascending the northern edge of "Solander Point" at the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is maintaining favorable northerly tilts for improved energy production as winter approaches. On Sol 3453 (Oct. 10, 2013), the Opportunity rover performed color Panoramic Camera (Pancam) remote sensing and collected an atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS).

After completing a few sols of remote sensing, the rover headed south on Sol 3457 (Oct. 14, 2013), ascending up Solander Point with a 77 feet (23.5-meter) drive heading towards an outcrop named "Kangaroo Paw."

On the next sol, Opportunity bumped towards the target outcrop with an 11 feet (3.5 meter) move. On the next sol, a bump of 24 inches (60 centimeters) was performed to put the surface science targets within reach of the rover's robotic arm.

As of Sol 3459 (Oct. 16, 2013), the solar array energy production was 334 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.685 and an approximate solar array dust factor of 0.527.

Total odometry is 23.89 miles (38.45 kilometers).


Robotic Arm Goes to Work on Rock Target -- sols 3426-3431, September 12, 2013-September 17, 2013:

Opportunity is at the northern edge of "Solander Point" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.  The rover is investigating the geologic contact at the base of Solander Point.  

On Sol 3426 (Sept. 12, 2013), Opportunity drove 28 feet (8.62 meters) to reach a surface target.  On the next sol, the rover deployed the robotic arm to investigate the surface target named, "Poverty Bush."  First, the rover imaged the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) bit to assess the remaining grind life.  Then, the rover collected some calibration sky flat images with the Microscopic Imager (MI).  After that, a Microscopic Imager mosaic was collected of Poverty Bush, followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for a multi-sol integration.  

On Sol 3430 (Sept. 16, 2013), Opportunity drove away heading about 39 feet (12 meters) to the west/northwest.  On the next sol, the rover continued driving another 74 feet (22.5 meters) to reach another candidate outcrop for in-situ (contact) science investigation.  

As of Sol 3431 (Sept. 17, 2013), the solar array energy production was 346 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.619 and a solar array dust factor of 0.520.

Total odometry is 23.82 miles (38.34 kilometers). 


Driving to New Rock Targets -- sols 3418-3425, September 4, 2013-September 11, 2013:

Opportunity is at the base of "Solander Point" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.  The rover is investigating the geologic contact at the edge of Solander Point.  

On Sol 3418 (Sept. 4, 2013), Opportunity finished an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurement of the surface target, called "Dibbler," along with collecting some color Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images of the scarp along the edge of Solander.  

On Sol 3419 (Sept. 5, 2013), the rover bumped just over 9.8 feet (3 meters) to a new surface target, called "Monjon."  The next sol was used to collect an atmospheric argon measurement with the APXS.  On Sol 3422 (Sept. 8, 2013), the rover used the robotic arm to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of Monjon, then, placed the APXS on the same for an overnight integration.  On the next sol, Opportunity offset the APXS for another integration and documented the offset with a MI finder frame image.  A seven-frame Navigation (Navcam) Camera panorama was also collected.  

On Sol 3425 (Sept. 11, 2013), the rover drove further along the geologic contact towards new in-situ (contact) science targets.  

As of Sol 3424 (Sept. 10, 2013), the solar array energy production was 362 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.591 and a solar array dust factor of 0.513.

Total odometry is 23.79 miles (38.29 kilometers). 


Investigating 'Coal Island' Rock Outcrop -- sols 3411-3417, August 28, 2013-September 3, 2013:

Opportunity is at the base of "Solander Point" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.  The rover is investigating a scarp (rock outcrop), called "Coal Island."  

On Sol 3412 (Aug. 29, 2013), Opportunity approached a surface target, with a 180-degree turn-in-place, followed by a 6-foot (1.7-meter) bump to place a target of interest within reach of the robotic arm instruments.  The rover began a survey of the scarp with multi-spectral Panoramic Camera (Pancam) imaging.  On Sol 3415 (Sept. 1, 2013), the rover used the robotic arm to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target, called "Dibbler" and place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the target for multi-sol integration.  Opportunity continued the multi-spectral imaging survey of the scarp with more Pancam images over three sols.  

As of Sol 3416 (Sept. 2, 2013), the solar array energy production was 365 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.640 and a solar array dust factor of 0.522.

Total odometry is 23.77 miles (38.26 kilometers).


Examining Rocks Around Boulder Field -- sols 3405-3410, August 22, 2013-August 27, 2013:

Opportunity is at the base of "Solander Point" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.  The rover is navigating around a large boulder field examining the geologic contacts in this area.  

On Sol 3405 (Aug. 22, 2013), Opportunity backed away from the target "Platypus" to image it with the color Panoramic Cameras, then moved about 13 feet (4 meters) navigating around the boulder field for surface targets to investigate.  Navigation Camera images of the rover tracks were also collected.  

On Sol 3407 (Aug. 24, 2013), Opportunity moved 35 feet (10.7) meters further within the boulder field, skirting some large rocks.  On the following sol, the rover collected a measurement of atmospheric argon using the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer.  

On Sol 3410 (Aug. 27, 2013), Opportunity drove about 118 feet (36 meters) approaching an exciting geologic contact.  

As of Sol 3410 (Aug. 27, 2013), the solar array energy production was 373 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.646 and a solar array dust factor of 0.525.

Total odometry is 23.77 miles (38.26 kilometers).


Scouting a Boulder Field -- sols 3398-3404, August 15, 2013-August 21, 2013:

Opportunity is at the base of "Solander Point" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.  The rover is scouting a large boulder field.  

On Sol 3398 (Aug. 15, 2013), Opportunity drove 75 feet (22.8 meters) into the boulder field to approach a potential surface target. On Sol 3399 (Aug. 16, 2013), an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurement of atmospheric argon was performed. On Sol 3400 (Aug. 17, 2013), Opportunity bumped only 1.3 feet (0.4 meters) to place a surface target within reach of the robotic arm.  

After remote sensing observations over the weekend, on Sol 3403 (Aug. 20, 2013), the rover used the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to brush the surface of the target now called "Platypus."  This was followed by a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and a placement of the APXS for a multi-sol integration.  

As of Sol 3404 (Aug. 21, 2013), the solar array energy production was 367 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.660 and a solar array dust factor of 0.522.

Total odometry is 23.74 miles (38.21 kilometers).


Snapping Pictures of the Martian Moons -- sols 3392-3397, August 8, 2013-August 13, 2013:

Opportunity is at the base of “Solander Point” on the rim of Endeavour Crater.  The rover is positioned in front of a large rock, called “Tick Bush” for in-situ (contact) investigation with the instruments on the robotic arm.  

On Sol 3392 (Aug. 8, 2013), a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic was collected of Tick Bush, followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for multi-sol integration.  On Sol 3396 (Aug. 12, 2013), the robotic arm repositioned the APXS with a small offset, documented by a Microscopic Imager finder frame image.  Also on that sol, the rover took advantage of a celestial alignment and imaged the transit of both moons, Phobos and Deimos.  A second Phobos transit was imaged on the next sol while the APXS continued to integrate on the rock target.  

As of Sol 3397 (Aug. 13, 2013), the solar array energy production was 376 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.695 and a solar array dust factor of 0.532.

Total odometry is 23.73 miles (38.18 kilometers).


Opportunity Reaches Base of 'Solander Point' --  sols 3385-3391, August 1, 2013-August 7, 2013:

Opportunity is at the base of "Solander Point" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.  The rover arrived at the edge of Solander Point with a series of drives on Sols 3385 and 3387 (Aug. 1 and Aug. 3, 2013), achieving drive distances of 385 feet (117.4 meters) and 198 feet (60.4 meters), respectively.  Later, the rover will drive up onto the point and benefit from the north-facing slope there.

On Sol 3389 (Aug. 5, 2013), Opportunity approached a boulder field with a 54 feet (16.6 meter) drive.  Taking advantage of a surface target of opportunity within the robotic arm work volume, the rover performed two-sol "Touch 'n Go" on Sols 3390 and 3391 (Aug. 6 and Aug. 7, 2013).  On the first sol, Opportunity used the robotic arm to collect a Microscopic Imager mosaic of the surface target called "Red Poker" and then place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on the target for an overnight integration.   On the second sol, the rover drove away, moving 15 feet (4.7 meters) towards another rock target.  

As of Sol 3390 (Aug. 6, 2013), the solar array energy production was 385 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.770 and a solar array dust factor of 0.543.

Total odometry is 23.73 miles (38.18 kilometers).


Taking Time to Study the Area Near 'Solander Point' -- sols 3377-3384, July 24, 2013-July 31, 2013:

Opportunity has been investigating an in-situ (contact) science target, a rock called "Black Shoulder." The rover is still about 656 feet (200 meters) away from the base of "Solander Point," but near enough to be able to spend time conducting local field science.

With the rover already at Black Shoulder, the robotic arm was used to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the rock's surface before the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was placed on Sol 3378 (July 25, 2013). Opportunity continued the investigation of the rock's surface with more MI images and APXS integrations on Sols 3380 and 3381 (July 27 and 28, 2013). On the morning of the second sol, the first set of Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images of Solander Point, as part of a long baseline stereo imaging campaign, were collected. On Sol 3382 (July 29, 2013), a target on the rock was ground and brushed by the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT), followed by a MI mosaic and an APXS measurement on the freshly ground surface.

With the work now complete at Black Shoulder, the rover drove about 33 feet (10 meters) to the east on Sol 3384 (July 31, 2013), to set up for the second set of Pancam images of Solander Point, part of the long baseline stereo imaging campaign.

As of Sol 3384 (July 31, 2013), the solar array energy production was 395 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.800 and a solar array dust factor of 0.574.

Total odometry is 23.60 miles (37.98 kilometers).


Opportunity Nears 'Solander Point' -- sols 3370-3376, July 17, 2013-July 23, 2013:

Opportunity has arrived in the region near the base of "Solander Point." At the current location, the rover is just a few drives from making landfall on the point.

However, the science team will now begin the exploration of the various outcrops, contacts and units that make up the Solander Point geology, prior to ascending the point for winter energy production.

On Sol 3371 (July 18, 2013), the rover advanced about 197 feet (60 meters) towards a region to the northeast of Solander Point to investigate the unusual terrain there. Sols 3373 and 3374 (July 20 and 21, 2013), were a 2-sol Touch 'n Go activity. The rover performed robotic arm in-situ (contact) science with the Microscopic Imager (MI) and the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the first sol, then picked up and drove over 164 feet (50 meters) on the second sol. On Sol 3376 (July 23, 2013), Opportunity bumped 12 feet (3.7 meters) towards a rock of interest, to begin a brief in-situ investigation of this rock with the Microscopic Imager and the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer. Before the drive on Sol 3376, the rover took the opportunity to image a Deimos moon transit of the Sun with the Panoramic Camera.

As of Sol 3376 (July 23, 2013), the solar array energy production was 431 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.757 and a solar array dust factor of 0.566.

Total odometry is 23.60 miles (37.97 kilometers).


Stopping for Science on the Way to 'Solander Point' -- sols 3364-3369, July 11, 2013-July 16, 2013:

Opportunity is in good health.  We are now within a few hundred (656-984 feet, or 200-300 meters) of the "Solander Point" destination.  However, the team doesn't need the northerly tilt that Solander Point offers yet, so they decided to use a few of the margin sols accumulated to investigate an area of interesting terrain and gypsum signatures. 

The Sol 3366 (July 13, 2013) drive began veering to the Southeast and then to the East in the Sol 3369 (July 16, 2013) drive.  The team sequenced a multi-sol drive in the three-sol plan of 3366-3368 (July 13-July 15, 2013).  However, though the first sol drive of 262 feet (80 meters) on (July 13, 2013) completed nominally, the second sol drive on Sol 3367 (July 14, 2013), was precluded due to exceeding a pitch-limit at the end of the first sol of driving.  This was as a result of a safety check specifically designed for multi-sol drives, which worked as intended as Opportunity happened to find herself in a shallow depression at the end of Sol 3366 (July 13, 2013) drive.  In total, Opportunity drove 912 feet (278 meters) in three drives for this period. 

As of Sol 3369 (July 16, 2013), the solar array energy production was 450 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.705 and a solar array dust factor of 0.584.

Total odometry is 23.52 miles (37.86 kilometers).


More Progress Toward 'Solander Point' -- sols 3351-3363, June 27, 2013-July 10, 2013:

Opportunity is in good health. On Sol 3351 (June 27, 2013), the rover drove over 393 feet (over 120 meters), heading toward "Solander Point" on the rim of Endeavour Crater. Also on that sol, a set of diagnostics were performed on the Joint 3 (elbow) potentiometer on the robotic arm. This potentiometer is a sensor that can indicate if the arm has moved. Arm movement is not intended during a drive. Preliminary analysis indicates that the readings from the potentiometer were anomalous and that the arm did not move. The project is masking those readings in the rover's flight software so that anomalous readings will not halt a drive.

In a two-sol plan, Opportunity performed a "touch 'n go," using the robotic arm one sol and driving the next sol, on Sols 3352 and 3353, (June 28 and June 30, 2013, using the Pacific Daylight Time date at noon of the sol; no sol's noon fell on June 29).  On the first sol, the Microscopic Imager (MI) collected a mosaic of a surface target. The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) then collected data overnight. On the second sol of the plan, the rover drove over 98 feet (over 30 meters). On Sol 3355 (July 2, 2013), Opportunity completed another long drive, over 262 feet (over 118 meters). 

In preparation for the long Fourth of July holiday period, two sets of three-sol plans were developed to keep Opportunity busy while the flight team had time off. The first plan covered sols 3356 to 3358 (July 3 to July 5, 2013). A 82-foot (25-meter) drive was sequenced for the first sol, with a special automatic stop to use rover tilt and achieve maximum power generation for later activities. On the second sol, the rover made an atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). It conducted routine remote-sensing measurements on the third sol. With the drive results from Sol 3356 (July 3, 2013) received in time for planning the next three-sol plan, the flight team sequenced another drive for Sol 3360 (July 7, 2013) after a special observation of both of Mars' moons. Opportunity imaged Phobos and Deimos with the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) very early on the morning of that sol, using that extra energy from the rover's favorable tilt. After the observation finished, the rover drove 138 feet (42 meters). It spent the final sol of this three-sol plan recharging batteries with some light remote-sensing observations. 

After the holiday, Opportunity continued to push closer to Solander Point with a drive on Sol 3362 (July 9, 2013) that exceeded 291 feet (88.7 meters) and a drive on Sol 3363 (July 10, 2013) of about 193 feet (59 meters). 

As of Sol 3363 (July 10, 2013), the solar array energy production is 435 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.786 and a solar array dust factor of 0.606. Total odometry is 23.35 miles (37.58 kilometers).


 Opportunity Exceeds 37 Kilometers of Odometry! -- sols 3345-3350, Jun. 21, 2013-Jun. 24, 2013:

Opportunity is in good health, although the robotic arm elbow joint potentiometer is acting up.

On Sol 3346 (June 22, 2013), the rover continued the trek toward 'Solander Point' with a 295-foot (90-meter) drive due south. On Sol 3347 (June 23, 2013), Opportunity imaged the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) bit to assess remaining bit life. On the next sol, Opportunity exceeded 23 miles (37 kilometers) of odometry with a 318-feet (97-meter) drive. On Sol 3349 (June 25, 2013), a long drive was planned, but was terminated after only 207 feet (63 meters) when the potentiometer on the robotic arm elbow indicated an unexpected motion, stopping the drive. This potentiometer is a sensor that can indicate if the arm has moved, which is not intended during a drive. Investigation of the joint and the use of before and after images showed no joint motion.

A drive was planned on Sol 3350 (June 26, 2013), and stopped almost immediately due to an even larger anomalous reading of that same potentiometer. The plan ahead is to conduct a set of diagnostics on the joint potentiometer.

As of Sol 3350 (June 26, 2013), the solar array energy production was 457 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.805 and a solar array dust factor of 0.607.

Total odometry is 23.05 miles (37.09 kilometers).


Opportunity is Healthy and Driving to 'Solander Point' -- sols 3340-3344, Jun. 16, 2013-Jun. 20, 2013:

Opportunity is in good health. As of June 21, 2013, Opportunity has been on Mars for five Martian years.

The project successfully recovered the rover from the flash-memory write error induced reset on Sol 3336 (June 12, 2013), which left the rover without a running master sequence.

The initial recovery attempt on Sol 3337 (June 13, 2013), was not successful because the rover did not wake earlier enough to receive the recovery commands, although it was understood that this was a possibility due to variability in the morning wake-up time. Opportunity was successfully recovered over Sols 3338 and 3339 (June 14 and 15, 2013).

The second sol also included a 246-foot (75-meter) drive. That drive contained the first part of a two-sol test of multi-sol autonomous driving. The rover drove again on Sol 3342 (June 18, 2013), with a 200-foot (61-meter) drive which contained the second part of the multi-sol autonomous driving. On Sol 3344 (June 20, 2013), the science team decided to head east toward the feature called 'Nobbys Head' for a closer look with the rover driving just under 108 feet (33 meters). The plan ahead is to turn south and make a direct beeline to 'Solander Point' still over a kilometer away.

As of Sol 3344 (June 20, 2013), the solar array energy production was 497 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.801 and a solar array dust factor of 0.626.

Total odometry is 22.89 miles (36.84 kilometers).


Recovery from Another Flash-Related Reset -- sols 3331-3339, June 7, 2013-June 15, 2013:

On sols 3332 and 3333 (June and June 9, 2013) , Opportunity performed a "touch 'n go" two-sol plan, using the robotic arm on the first sol to take Microscopic Imager (MI) images and position the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration, followed by a drive on the second sol. The rover drove on sols 3333 and 3335 (June 9 and June 11, 2013), totaling over 216 feet (over 65 meters).

Opportunity experienced a warm reset on Sol 3336 (June 12, 2013) due to the type of flash-memory issue also experienced on Sol 3235 (Feb. 28, 2013). The rover put itself into precautionary automode in response to the reset. On Sol 3339 (June 15, 2013), Opportunity was restored to sequence control -- carrying out commands sent from the operations team -- and drove 246 feet (75 meters). The rover is in good health.

As of Sol 3336 (June 12, 2013), the solar array energy production was 517 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.829 and a solar array dust factor of 0.645.

Total odometry as of Sol 3339 (June 15, 2013) is 22.83 miles (36.75 kilometers).


 Continuing Drive to 'Solander Point' -- sols 3324-3330, May 30, 2013-June 6, 2013:

Opportunity is continuing her push to reach "Solander Point," now reaching the site called "Nobbys Head" along the way.

Stereo imagery of Nobbys Head will be collected to assess north-facing slopes there as a possible bailout site for winter, if Solander Point can't be reached. Opportunity drove on Sols 3324, 3325, 3328 and 3330 (May 30, June 1, June 4 and June 6, 2013), totaling over 0.19 miles (310 meters) in a continuing southerly direction.

With sufficient power the rover was able to support an AM Ultra High Frequency relay pass on Sol 3327 (June 3, 2013). The plan ahead is to drive more as the rover moves closer towards Solander Point still some 0.93 miles (1.5 kilometers) away.

As of Sol 3329 (June 5, 2013), the solar array energy production was 535 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.806 and a solar array dust factor of 0.663.

Total odometry is 22.75 miles (36.61 kilometers).


 Driving to 'Solander Point' -- sols 3317-3323, May 23, 2013-May 29, 2013:

Opportunity is continuing her push to reach "Solander Point," still over 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) away.

The rover drove only two of the last seven days (sols) due to the long holiday weekend. Opportunity drove on Sols 3317 and 3323 (May 23 and May 29, 2013), totaling 522 feet (159 meters), continuing in the southeasterly direction. On Sol 3318 (May 24, 2013), an overnight atmospheric argon measurement was performed with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). A 13-filter panoramic camera (Pancam) image was taken of the rover magnets on Sol 3320 (May 26, 2013), with some Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) bit imaging and Microscopic Imager (MI) sky flats taken on the next sol. With sufficient power the rover was able to support an AM Ultra High Frequency relay pass on Sol 3321 (May 27, 2013). The plan ahead is more driving as the rover moves towards Solander Point.

As of Sol 3323 (May 29, 2013), the solar array energy production was 546 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.838 and a solar array dust factor of 0.664.

Total odometry is 22.55 miles (36.29 kilometers).


 Departing 'Cape York' -- sols 3310-3316, May 16, 2013-May 22, 2013:

Opportunity has begun the departure from "Cape York" and started the push to reach "Solander Point" over 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) away.

The rover drove five out of the last seven days (sols). Opportunity drove on Sols 3310, 3312, 3314, 3315 and 3316 (May 16, 18, 20, 21 and May 22, 2013), totaling over 0.23 miles (376 meters), mostly in the southeasterly direction.

Atmospheric opacity (tau) has been decreasing after it spiked from the passing of a regional dust storm. Opportunity benefitted from a modest solar array dust cleaning event between Sol 3311 and 3315 (May 17 and 21, 2013). The plan ahead is more to drive as the rover pushes towards Solander Point.

As of Sol 3316 (May 22, 2013), the solar array energy production was 541 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.903 and a solar array dust factor of 0.649.

Total odometry is 22.45 miles (36.14 kilometers).


 Record-Setting Drive by Opportunity -- sols 3303-3309, May 9, 2013-May 15, 2013:

Opportunity has set a new off-world driving record for a U.S. spacecraft having surpassed the record previously held by Apollo 17 in the Sol 3309 (May 15, 2013) drive.

Prior to that, Opportunity finished off analysis of the "Esperance" rock target with a full overnight Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) integration of the rock abrasion tool (RAT) hole on Sol 3305 (May 11, 2013). Early analysis seems to confirm that this is a clay that had been intensely altered by relatively neutral pH water – representing the most favorable conditions for biology that Opportunity has yet seen in the rock histories it has encountered.

A local dust storm had cause us some concern as we saw the atmospheric opacity (tau) increase to the neighborhood of 1.5 for several sols, but the storm seems to have dissipated and is no longer constraining activities to any great degree.

Solar array energy on Sol 3309 (May 15, 2013), was 431 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) measurement of 1.21, and a dust factor of 0.576. All systems are nominal.

Total odometry is 22.22 miles (35.76 kilometers).


 Making Smallest Turn Yet, As Dust Storm Affects Rover -- sols 3296-3302, May 2, 2013-May 8, 2013:

Opportunity is feverishly working to complete analysis of “Esperance,” believed to be a phyllosilicate-rich target, before departing for her winter haven at "Solander Point" to the south. On Sol 3296 (May 2, 2013), she attempted the smallest turn in her history (~0.5 degrees) to get a better position for the rock abrasion tool (RAT). The turn was successful and use of the RAT commenced on Sol 3301(May 7, 2013).

Complicating the satisfactory completion of the rock Esperance analysis was the growth of a regional dust storm nearby, which drove the atmospheric opacity or tau to 1.53 (also on Sol 3301). The tau on Sol 3302 (May 8, 2013), slightly decreased to 1.45, but a close watch is being kept in case conditions worsen. If atmospheric opacity stabilizes or continues to decrease, we hope to complete instrument deployment device (IDD) work and begin driving away by Sol 3309 (May 15, 2013).

Solar array energy on Sol 3302 (May 8, 2013), was 385 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) measurement of 1.45, and a dust factor of 0.584. All systems are nominal.

Total odometry is 22.15 miles (35.65 kilometers).

 


 Rover Back in Action -- sols 3291-3295, April 27, 2013-May 1, 2013:

Opportunity has safely emerged from solar conjunction. However, in the past week the flight team learned that the rover did experience a flash memory anomaly during conjunction on Sol 3286 (April 21, 2013), that put the rover into automode, a standby mode where no onboard sequences are running.

The flight team attempted to recover the rover from automode on Sol 3294 (April 30, 2013), but was unsuccessful due to an operational error. This error is being investigated by the project. On the subsequent sol, Opportunity was successfully restored to normal operations. The rover is in good health with nominal science planning proceeding.

As of Sol 3294 (April 30, 2013), the solar array energy production was 506 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.672 and a solar array dust factor of 0.573.

Total odometry is unchanged at 22.15 miles (35.65 kilometers).


 Rover Telemetry Expected Today -- sols 3279-3290, April 14, 2013-April 26, 2013:

Opportunity is stationary for solar conjunction at "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Solar conjunction is when the Sun comes between Earth and Mars, which occurs about once every 26 months. During this time there will be diminished communications to Opportunity.

As of writing this report (April 26, 2013), the last telemetry received was before conjunction on Sol 3278 (April 13, 2013), and indicated a healthy rover at that time.

Rover telemetry is expected to resume later today.

Total odometry is unchanged at 22.15 miles (35.65 kilometers).


 Rover Quiet During Solar Conjunction -- sols 3275-3278, April 10, 2013-April 13, 2013:

Opportunity is stationary for solar conjunction at "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Telemetry is limited during conjunction with the last telemetry received on Sol 3278 (April 10, 2013).

Solar conjunction is when the Sun comes between Earth and Mars, which occurs about once every 26 months. During this time there will be diminished communications to Opportunity. The team will suspend sending the rover new commands between April 9 and April 26. The rover will continue science activities using a long-term set of commands to be sent beforehand. No new images are expected to be returned during this time. See solar conjunction video at: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/videos/index.cfm?v=122 .

As of Sol 3278 (April 10, 2013), the vehicle is healthy with positive energy margins.

Total odometry is unchanged at 22.15 miles (35.65 kilometers).


 Waiting Out Solar Event -- sols 3267-3274, April 2, 2013-April 9, 2013:

Opportunity is in position for solar conjunction at "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Solar conjunction is when the Sun comes between Earth and Mars, which occurs about once every 26 months. During this time there will be diminished communications to Opportunity. The team will suspend sending the rover new commands between April 9 and April 26. The rover will continue science activities using a long-term set of commands to be sent beforehand. No new images are expected to be returned during this time. See solar conjunction video at: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/videos/index.cfm?v=122 .

On Sol 3267 (April 2, 2013), the rover performed the last robotic arm movement prior to the solar conjunction quiet period, using the Microscopic Imager (MI) to collect additional portions of a large mosaic of the target "Esperance," followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) down on the surface target "Esperance3," for the remainder of solar conjunction.

As of Sol 3274 (April 9, 2013), the solar array energy production was 557 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.677 and a solar array dust factor of 0.617.

Total odometry is 22.15 miles (35.65 kilometers).


 Quiet Period for Next Three Weeks -- sols 3261-3266, March 27, 2013-April 1, 2013:

Opportunity is in position for the coming three-week solar conjunction period at "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

This location is the last in-situ (contact) target before the rover departs from Cape York once solar conjunction is concluded.

Solar conjunction is when the Sun comes between Earth and Mars, which occurs about once every 26 months. During this time there will be diminished communications to Opportunity. The team will suspend sending the rover new commands between April 9 and April 26. The rover will continue science activities using a long-term set of commands to be sent beforehand. No new images are expected to be returned during this time.

On Sol 3262 (March 28, 2013), Opportunity raised the robotic arm out of the way so the mast-mounted Panoramic Camera (Pancam) could collect a 13-filter image of the surface location, called "Esperance." Then, the rover repositioned the arm to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same target. On Sol 3264 (March 30, 2013), Opportunity continued collecting more MI images, covering the complete extent of the target before placing the APXS down on the target "Esperance2."

As of Sol 3266 (April 1, 2013), the solar array energy production was 559 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.741 and a solar array dust factor of 0.636.

Total odometry is 22.15 miles (35.65 kilometers).


 Opportunity Moves Into Place for Quiet Period of Operations - sols 3255-3260, March 21, 2013-March 26, 2013:

Opportunity has moved into position for the coming three-week solar conjunction period at "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

This location, called "Big Nickel," is the last in-situ (contact) target before the rover departs from Cape York, once solar conjunction is concluded.

Solar conjunction is when the Sun comes between Earth and Mars, which occurs about once every 26 months. During this time there will be diminished communications to Opportunity. The team will suspend sending the rover new commands between April 9 and April 26. The rover will continue science activities using a long-term set of commands to be sent beforehand. No new images are expected to be returned during this time.

On Sol 3255 (March 21, 2013), after completing the investigation of the "Newberries" at the location called "Kirkwood," Opportunity drove over 82 feet (25 meters) straight north toward the location called "Big Nickel." On Sol 3257 (March 23, 2013), the rover completed the approach to "Big Nickel" with a 13-foot (4-meter) drive. In order to reach a specific surface target, Opportunity performed a modest, 0.8 inch (2-centimeter) bump on Sol 3260 (March 26, 2013).

With the rover precisely positioned, the plan ahead is to sequence the robotic arm to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the target, called "Esperance" and place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration.

On Sols 3255, 3256 and 3257 (March 21, 22 and 23, 2013), Opportunity benefitted from some dust cleaning of the solar arrays, improving energy production.

As of Sol 3260 (March 26, 2013), the solar array energy production was 590 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.760 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.654.

Total odometry is 22.15 miles (35.65 kilometers).




Opportunity Heads to Matijevic Hill - Sols 3248 to 3254, March 13-March 20, 2013:

After returning to the location called "Kirkwood," Opportunity completed a busy contact investigation of the mysterious "newberry" spherules seen there. On Sol 3248 (March 13, 2013), using the robotic arm, the rover collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) finder frame image before placing the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration on the "newberry"-rich surface target, called "Sturgeon River 2."

On the next sol, Opportunity repositioned the robotic arm, collecting another MI finder frame before placing the APXS on the offset target "Sturgeon River 1a." On Sol 3250 (March 15, 2013) the rover continued the in-situ investigation with examination of nearby targets, collecting MI mosaics of targets "Lake Laurentian" and "South Range" before placing the APXS back on "Sturgeon River 1a" for further integration.

On Sol 3251 (March 15, 2013), Opportunity performed the first of two geology "streak" tests with a grind by the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) on target "Sturgeon River 3." The grind did not generate sufficient rock dust, so it was repeated again on Sol 3253 (March 19, 2013). Each grind was followed by an MI mosaic and an overnight APXS integration. A 13-filter Panoramic Camera (Pancam) image was collected on the RAT dust.

With the "streak" test complete, Opportunity was commanded on Sol 3255 (March 21, 2013) to drive away from this location towards the final in-situ investigation at Matijevic Hill.

As of Sol 3253 (March 19, 2013), the solar array energy production was 490 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.771 and a solar array dust factor of 0.590.

Total odometry: 22.14 miles (35625.03 meters)




Opportunity Departing South Soon - sols 3241-3247, March 6, 2013-March 12, 2013:

Opportunity is completing the in-situ (contact) investigation of the terrain on the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of "Endeavour Crater" before departing to the south.

Flash memory issues appeared again on Sol 3244 (March 9, 2013), but were minor. Although, this time the symptoms were different from earlier incidents. The project continues to investigate this.

On Sol 3246 (March 11, 2013), Opportunity approached the Kirkwood outcrop with a 30 foot (9.2 meter) drive. The rover visited this site before the start of the regional "walkabout" and has now returned for detailed investigation of the "newberries" seen at this location.

As of Sol 3247 (March 12, 2013), the solar array energy production was 483 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.863 and a solar array dust factor of 0.598.

Total odometry is 22.14 miles (35625.03 meters).




Opportunity Examining Rock Surfaces After Reset - sols 3234-3240, Feb. 27, 2013-March 5, 2013:

Opportunity is exploring different locations around the inboard edge of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 3235 (Feb. 28, 2013), the rover experienced a warm reset triggered by the flight software when the rover attempted to write into the Flash file system. This behavior is similar to what was seen with Spirit as the Flash file system control block becomes corrupted with extended use. As a result of the reset, the rover stops all active sequences and operates in a state called Automode. Automode is a stable and safe state for the rover with daily wake ups and communication sessions with both X-band and Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) relay, but no active science sequences.

On Sol 3236 (March 1, 2013), as a result of the reset, an X-band fault with the high-gain antenna occurred, but this was expected from the reset. The project team sent real-time commands to the rover on Sol 3237 (March 2, 2013), to clear the faults, upload new sequences and activate those new sequences. The commanding worked as expected and Opportunity is operating nominally under master sequence control. The project is continuing its vigilance of the Flash memory situation. If the Flash situation deteriorates further, reformatting the Flash file system, as what was done with Spirit, is an option for full recovery.

Opportunity returned to science activity with some robotic arm work on Sol 3239 (March 4, 2013). The rover first placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on the surface target "Lihir" for a short integration, then collected a Microscopic Imager mosaic of the same target, followed again by another placement of the APXS for a longer integration. With that science done, Opportunity drove over 108 feet (33 meters) due south on Sol 3240 (March 5, 2013), returning to a location called "Kirkwood." The plan ahead is to conduct some in-situ (contact) science on the "newberries" seen before in this location.

As of Sol 3240 (March 5, 2013), the solar array energy production was 498 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.798 and a solar array dust factor of 0.580.

Total odometry is 22.13 miles (35615.79 meters).




Short Bump Gets Robotic Arm Closer to Rock Target - sols 3228-3233, Feb. 21, 2013-Feb. 26, 2013:

Opportunity is conducting the post-walkabout in-situ (contact) science campaign at different locations around the inboard edge of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 3230 (Feb. 23, 2013), with approximately 16 feet (5 meters) of motion the rover attempted to scuff (drive over) the surface target, named "Boxwork." However, due to high slip the rover missed scuffing the intended target.

On Sol 3233 (Feb. 26, 2013), Opportunity performed a 4 foot (1.3 meter) bump to set up for some in-situ work with a target called "Lihir" in the area that was to be scuffed. In-situ measurements are planned with the instruments on the end of the robotic arm. No "amnesia" events with the Flash file system have occurred since Sol 3183 (Jan. 6, 2013), and the rover is otherwise in good health.

As of Sol 3233 (Feb. 26, 2013), the solar array energy production was 510 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.817 and a solar array dust factor of 0.594.

Total odometry as is 21.11 miles (35582.33 meters).




'Big Nickel' Rock Target Ahead - sols 3220-3227, Feb. 13, 2013-Feb. 20, 2013:

Opportunity is conducting the post-walkabout in-situ (contact) science campaign at different locations around the inboard edge of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 3221 (Feb. 14, 2013), it was planned to have the rover perform a very small turn to position the robotic arm for an acceptable surface target, but a Deep Space Network issue prevented the command sequences from reaching the rover. With imagery subsequently returned from Opportunity, an acceptable target was found within reach of the arm, negating the need for a turn.

On Sol 3224 (Feb. 17, 2013), Opportunity used the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to brush the surface target "Maley," which was then followed by a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and a placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration. With work complete at this location, on Sol 3227 (Feb. 20, 2013), the rover drove approximately 120 feet (36.5 meters) to the southeast towards the rock target "Big Nickel" to begin an in-situ investigation there. No "amnesia" events with the Flash file system have occurred since Sol 3183 (Jan. 6, 2013), and the rover is otherwise in good health.

As of Sol 3226 (Feb. 19, 2013), the solar array energy production was 521 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.829 and an estimated solar array dust factor of 0.618.

Total odometry is 22.11 miles (35576.09 meters).




Opportunity is on a Rock Hunt - sols 3214-3219, Feb. 6, 2013-Feb. 12, 2013:

Opportunity is conducting the post-walkabout in-situ (contact) science campaign at different locations around the inboard edge of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 3214 (Feb. 6, 2013), the rover completed the investigation of the target "Fecunis Lake" with a Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) brush of the target followed by a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) placement. On Sol 3216 (Feb. 9, 2013), Opportunity bumped back to image the brushed target with Panoramic Camera (Pancam) image, then drove about 52 feet (16 meters) to the west towards a new target of interest. On Sol 3219 (Feb. 12, 2013), the rover bumped about 5.9 feet (1.8 meters) towards the new target "Maley." No "amnesia" events with the Flash file system have occurred since Sol 3183 (Jan. 6, 2013), and the rover is otherwise in good health.

As of Sol 3219 (Feb. 12, 2013), the solar array energy production was 490 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.891 and a solar array dust factor of 0.626.

Total odometry is 22.08 miles (35539.61 meters).




Rover 'Walkabout' Continues at Cape York - sols 3208-3213, Jan. 31, 2013-Feb. 5, 2013:

Opportunity is conducting the post-walkabout in-situ (contact) science campaign on the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 3208 (Jan. 31, 2013), the rover collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the target "Fullerton2," which was then followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration. On the next sol, the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) was used the brush the same target and collect another MI mosaic and overnight APXS integration.

With work complete at this target location, Opportunity drove north on Sol 3212 (Feb. 4, 2013), with an approximate 116 foot (35.5-meter) drive. On the following sol, the rover bumped into position with a 15 foot (4.5-meter) move for some new in-situ work. No "amnesia" events with the Flash file system have occurred since Sol 3183 (Jan. 6, 2013), and the rover is otherwise in good health.

As of Sol 3212 (Feb. 4, 2013), the solar array energy production was 554 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.926 and a solar array dust factor of 0.643.

Total odometry is 22.07 miles (35521.75 meters).




Sampling Several Rock Targets - sols 3200-3207, Jan. 23, 2013-Jan. 30, 2013:

Opportunity is moving around the inboard edge of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater, performing in-situ (contact) science investigations.

On Sol 3200 (Jan. 23, 2013), the rover completed its study of the "Whitewater Lake" outcrop with a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of target "Ortiz2b" and a subsequent Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) placement on the same for an overnight integration. On Sol 3203 (Jan. 26, 2013), Opportunity left the Whitewater outcrop and headed for the "Flack Lake" area with a 71 feet (21.5-meter) drive to the north. On Sol 3205 (Jan. 28, 2013), the rover performed a slight turn for communications to improve relay downlink and performed a Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) bit imaging survey to assess the bit usage. On Sol 3206 (Jan. 29, 2013), Opportunity approached a "Newberry"-rich target to the west with a 16 feet (4.8-meter) bump, to investigate the small spherules. On the next sol, a MI mosaic was performed on the Newberry-rich target, named "Fullerton1," followed by an overnight APXS placement. No "amnesia" events with the Flash file system have occurred since Sol 3183 (Jan. 6, 2013) and the rover is otherwise in good health.

As of Sol 3206 (Jan. 29, 2013), the solar array energy production was 534 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.974 and a solar array dust factor of 0.644.

Total odometry is 22.05 miles (35481.74 meters).




Opportunity at Work at 'Whitewater Lake' - sols 3194-3199, Jan. 17, 2013-Jan. 22, 2013:

Opportunity is on the inboard edge of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater, performing an in-situ (contact) science investigation of veins in the light-toned outcrop "Whitewater Lake."

On Sol 3194 (Jan. 17, 2013), the rover collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the target "Ortiz3," then placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the target for an overnight integration. On Sol 3197 (Jan. 20, 2013), during an attempt to brush the vein surface target with the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT), a stall in Joint 2 (shoulder elevation) of the robotic arm occurred. The stall occurred during a very slow upward movement of the arm. This kind of stall has been experienced before by the rover. The leading theory is that with such slow motion of the arm against gravity, the joint motor does not have sufficient momentum to overcome the magnetic detents within the joint actuator. Initial assessment indicates no degradation in the joint, but the project is continuing to investigate this. No "amnesia" events with the Flash file system have occurred since Sol 3183 (Jan. 6, 2013), and the rover is otherwise in good health. On Sol 3195 (Jan. 18, 2013), a small dust-clearing event occurred, improving solar array energy production slightly.

As of Sol 3199 (Jan. 22, 2013), the solar array energy production was 540 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.11 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.651.

Total odometry is 22.03 miles (35455.34 meters).




Investigating Light-toned Veins in Rock Outcrop - sols 3187-3193, Jan. 10, 2013-Jan. 16, 2013:

Opportunity is on the inboard edge of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater, now engaged in in-situ (contact) science investigation of veins in the light-toned outcrop "Whitewater Lake," a place the rover visited previously.

On Sol 3187 (Jan. 10, 2013), the rover bumped a little over a meter to reach the vein targets in the outcrop, named "Ortiz." On Sol 3189 (Jan. 12, 2013), Opportunity, using her robotic arm, collected a large Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the vein targets. This was followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration. On Sol 3191 (Jan. 14, 2013), the rover collected more MI mosaics of a target offset from the first and completed this with placing the APXS on the new target.

Opportunity started exhibiting memory symptoms this month similar to events seen with Spirit in 2009. This is not a health and safety concern, but can cause loss of some data intended for downlink. It can be avoided for more important data by downlinking before any rover nap. The suspect cause is corruption in the flash file system used by the rover for non-volatile telemetry storage. The project implemented a detection diagnostic on Sol 3189 (Jan. 12, 2013) to flag the occurrence of these events in separate non-volatile memory. No events have occurred since Sol 3183 (Jan. 6, 2013), and the rover remains in good health.

As of Sol 3193 (Jan. 16, 2013), the solar array energy production was 498 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.08 and a solar array dust factor of 0.623.

Total odometry is 22.03 miles (35455.34 meters).




Heading Toward Light-Toned Veins - sols 3181-3186, Jan. 4, 2013-Jan. 9, 2013:

Opportunity is on the inboard edge of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater at the local region called "Matijevic Hill." The rover completed the in-situ (contact) analysis at the location called "Copper Cliff."

On Sol 3182 (Jan. 5, 2013), the rover departed Copper Cliff and drove approximately 43 feet (13 meters) towards a location near "Whitewater Lake." The intention is to position the rover near a previously seen light-toned vein for in-situ analysis. On Sol 3185 (Jan. 8, 2013), Opportunity bumped closer to the intended target with a small 8.5 feet (2.6-meter) move. A final bump into position for the vein investigation is planned for Sol 3187 (Jan. 10, 2013).

As of Sol 3186 (Jan. 9, 2013), the solar array energy production was 509 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.01 and a solar array dust factor of 0.620.

Total odometry is 22.03 miles (35454.23 meters).




Dust Cleaning at 'Vermillion' Targets - sols 3174-3180, Dec. 27, 2012-Jan. 3, 2013:

Opportunity is on the inboard edge of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour crater. The rover has been conducting in-situ (contact) science investigations with the robotic arm instruments at a location called "Copper Cliff."

On Sol 3174 (Dec. 27, 2012), the robotic arm was used to reposition the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on a target called "Vermilion Lake 1" for a multi-sol integration. On Sol 3177 (Dec. 31, 2012), the Microscopic Imager (MI) was used to collect images of a new target, "Vermilion Lake 2." This was followed by a placement of the APXS for another integration. On Sol 3179 (Jan. 2, 2013), the rover's robotic arm repositioned the APXS on yet another target, "Vermilion Cliffs 2," for further integration measurements.

A small dust cleaning event occurred on Sol 3175 (Dec. 29, 2012), improving the energy production by about 40 watt-hours per sol. As of Sol 3180 (Jan. 3, 2013), the solar array energy production was 542 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.961 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.633.

Total odometry remains at 22.02 miles (35438.37 meters)




Working Through the Holidays - sols 3166-3173, Dec. 19, 2012-Dec. 26, 2012:

Opportunity is on the inboard edge of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater, positioned at a location called "Copper Cliff."

Over the long holiday period, the rover has been stationary and conducting in-situ (contact) science investigations with the robotic arm instruments, including the Microscopic Imager (MI) and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). Assessments of atmospheric opacity and measurements of atmospheric argon are also being performed.

As of Sol 3173 (Dec. 19, 2012), the solar array energy production was down to 485 watt-hours, with an increased atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.02 and a solar array dust factor of 0.594.

Total odometry is 22.02 miles (35438.37 meters)




Shoulder Work at 'Copper Cliff' - sols 3159-3165, Dec. 12, 2012-Dec. 18, 2012:

Opportunity is working at "Matijevic Hill" (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater. There, the rover has been conducting in-situ (contact) science measurements at a location called "Copper Cliff."

On Sol 3160 (Dec. 13, 2012), Opportunity began taking images with its Microscopic Imager (MI) for a mosaic of a surface target. Partway through the activity, the rover's robotic arm experienced a stall in the shoulder azimuth joint. This has been seen a few times before when the arm is commanded to move at a slow rate, but not the slowest rate. Magnetic detents normally hold the motor armature when unpowered, and under certain slow-rate conditions they are able to restrain the armature from spinning. At higher rates, the armature has enough momentum to keep spinning, while at the slowest rates a higher stall threshold is used. Activities on Sol 3162 (Dec. 15, 2012) confirmed the joint is OK, and an offset placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was completed.

On Sol 3165 (Dec. 18, 2012), Opportunity bumped about 18 feet (5.5 meters) to the west to reach a new set of surface targets in this Copper Cliff area. The rover will likely continue in-situ investigations in the area through the coming holiday.

As of Sol 3165, the solar array energy production was 533 watt-hours with an increased atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.955 and a solar array dust factor of 0.607.

Total odometry is 22.02 miles (35438.37 meters)




Checking Out Rocks - sols 3152-3158, Dec. 5, 2012-Dec. 11, 2012:

Opportunity is located at a place named "Matijevic Hill" (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 3153 (Dec. 6, 2012), the rover moved 7 feet (2.2 meters) to the west approaching an outcrop, called "Copper Cliff." This outcrop shows a distinct contact between two geologic units. On Sol 3155 (Dec. 8, 2012), Opportunity bumped 3 feet (1 meter) closer to a candidate surface target on Copper Cliff.

With surface targets now within reach of the robotic arm, the rover collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target called "Onaping." This was then followed by an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) overnight integration. The plan ahead is to perform more in-situ (contact) science on surface targets within reach of the rover's robotic arm before moving to other locations.

As of Sol 3158 (Dec. 11, 2012), the solar array energy production was 524 watt-hours with an increased atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.923 and a solar array dust factor of 0.590.

Total odometry is 22.02 miles (35,432.84 meters).




Opportunity Collects a Color Panorama and Continues Rock Studies - sols 3146-3151, Nov. 29, 2012-Dec. 4, 2012:

Opportunity is located at a place named "Matijevic Hill" (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover just finished collecting an extensive color Pancam panorama, called the "Matijevic pan" and is now conducting extensive in-situ (contact) investigations. On Sol 3146 (Nov. 29, 2012), Opportunity using the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) performed a grind of the surface target "Sandcherry." This was followed with an image mosaic collected by the Microscopic Imager (MI) and then a placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration. On Sol 3151 (Dec. 4, 2012), the rover moved just 9 inches (23 centimeters) to reach some new surface targets.

As of Sol 3151 (Dec. 4, 2012), the solar array energy production was 536 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.866 and a solar array dust factor of 0.599.

Total odometry is 22.02 miles (35,429.86 meters).




Opportunity Gets to Work on Interesting Rock Targets - sols 3137-3145, Nov. 19, 2012-Nov. 28, 2012:

Opportunity, after completing the local area survey around the location called "Matijevic Hill" (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater, has started conducting an in-situ (contact) science campaign on some high-value surface targets.

On Sol 3137 (Nov. 19, 2012), Opportunity began her in-situ investigation on the surface target, called "Sandcherry" with a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic, followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS).

The plan on Sol 3139 (Nov. 22, 2012), was the use the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to brush the target. However, the robotic arm experienced a stall in the shoulder elevation joint and stopped all further robotic arm activity. The sequenced APXS measurement on Sol 3140 (Nov. 23, 2012), then fortuitously became an atmospheric argon measurement. The joint stall had been experienced before with Opportunity when slow moves are commanded as in this instance. However, the engineering team did review all the associated telemetry and found no indication of any change in the health of the joint.

As a further step, a diagnostic move was included at the start of the plan on Sol 3144 (Nov. 27, 2012). That diagnostic showed a nominally functioning joint. The subsequent activity on Sol 3144 (Nov. 27, 2012), included a successful RAT brushing of the target followed by a MI mosaic and placement of the APXS. Also, over the last several sols, the rover has been collecting an extensive color panorama (Pancam), called the "Matijevic pan."

As of Sol 3145 (Nov. 28, 2012), the solar array energy production was 559 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.793 and a solar array dust factor of 0.608.

Total odometry is 22.01 miles (35,429.63 meters).




'Matijevic Hill' Survey Complete and Rover Passes 22 Miles of Driving! - sols 3133-3136, Nov. 15, 2012-Nov. 19, 2012:

Opportunity has completed the local area survey around the location called "Matijevic Hill" (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Now, the rover is focusing on conducting an in-situ (contact) science campaign on some high-value surface targets. The rover drove 81 feet (24.6 meters) on Sol 3133 (Nov. 15, 2012), approaching a candidate surface target. Opportunity bumped into position for some robotic arm work with a 31-inch (80-centimeter) forward move on Sol 3135 (Nov. 18. 2012).

On Sol 3133 (Nov. 15, 2012), the rover began to detect an increase in atmospheric opacity (Tau). Coincident with that the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) team on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) observed a large regional dust storm, with high atmospheric opacity in the center of the storm, heading in the direction of the rover. The project remained vigilant over the weekend. Fortunately, the storm passed to the south of the rover, but Opportunity continues to see an increase in atmospheric dust.

As of Sol 3136 (Nov. 19, 2012), the solar array energy production was 539 watt-hours with an increased atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.897 and a solar array dust factor of 0.612.

Total odometry is 22 miles (35,429.63 meters).




Survey at 'Matijevic Hill' Wrapping Up - sols 3125-3132, Nov. 7, 2012-Nov. 14, 2012:

Opportunity is nearing the completion of the local area survey around the location called "Matijevic Hill" (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover performed three survey drives on Sols 3128, 3131 and 3132 (Nov. 10, 13 and 14, 2012), driving 113 feet (34.5 meters), 52 feet (16 meters), and 28 feet (8.5 meters), respectively. Each drive was preceded by the collection of targeted imagery, and then followed by taking a 360-degree Navigation camera (Navcam) panorama.

On Sol 3126 (Nov. 8, 2012), the rover used the robotic arm to image the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) bit and to collect a set of Microscopic Imager (MI) "sky flat" calibration images. An atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was performed on Sol 3129 (Nov. 11, 2012). The Mars Odyssey avionics side-swap was successful with the first relay pass with Opportunity on Sol 3129 (Nov. 11, 2012). The relay pass using the new Side-B transceiver on Odyssey was nominal.

As of Sol 3131 (Nov. 13, 2012), the solar array energy production was 596 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.589 and a solar array dust factor of 0.606.

Total odometry is 22 miles (35,404.20 meters).




More Driving And Imaging at 'Matijevic Hill' - sols 3118-3124, Oct. 31, 2012-Nov. 6, 2012:

Opportunity is continuing the local area survey around the location called Matijevic Hill (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover performed three survey drives on Sols 3119, 3121 and 3124 (Nov. 1, 3 and 6, 2012), driving 125 feet (38 meters) south-southeast, 82 feet (25 meters) south-southeast, and 98 feet (30 meters) south, respectively.

Each drive was preceded by the collection of targeted imagery and then followed by taking a 360-degree Navigation camera (Navcam) panorama. Two direct-to-earth (DTE) X-band sessions where supported on Sols 3120 and 3122 (Nov. 2 and 4, 2012), and an atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was performed on Sol 3122 (Nov. 4, 2012).

The project also implemented a new daily nadir check sequence. This new sequence significantly reduces the number of power cycles on the rover's inertial measurement unit (IMU). For the next week the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will be providing exclusive Ultra High Frequency relay support during the Mars Odyssey side-swap campaign.

As of Sol 3124 (Nov. 6, 2012), the solar array energy production was 586 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.605 and a solar array dust factor of 0.604.

Total odometry is 21.96 miles (35,345.23 meters).




Survey of 'Matijevic Hill' Continues - sols 3111-3117, Oct. 24, 2012-Oct. 30, 2012:

Opportunity has completed approximately half of the local area survey around the location called Matijevic Hill (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover performed three survey drives on Sols 3112, 3114 and 3117 (Oct. 25, 27 and 30, 2012), driving 98 feet (30 meters) west, 30 feet (9 meters) north, and 108 feet (33 meters) south, respectively. Each drive was preceded by the collection of targeted imagery and then followed by taking a 360-degree Navigation camera (Navcam) panorama.

The plan ahead is to conduct more survey drives around this location.

As of Sol 3116 (Oct. 29, 2012), the solar array energy production was 549 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.649 and a solar array dust factor of 0.601.

Total odometry is 21.90 miles (35,261.66 meters).




Survey Drives of Local Area - sols 3105-3110, Oct. 18, 2012-Oct. 23, 2012:

Opportunity is continuing a local area survey around the location called "Matijevic Hill" (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover performed three survey drives on Sols 3105, 3107 and 3110 (Oct. 18, 20, and 23, 2012), driving first west, then southwest, and then southeast, totaling 226 feet (69 meters). Each drive was preceded by the collection of targeted imagery and then followed by taking a 360-degree Navigation camera (Navcam) panorama. On Sol 3109 (Oct. 22, 2012), an atmospheric argon measurement was collected by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). The plan ahead is to conduct more survey drives around this location.

As of Sol 3110 (Oct. 23, 2012), the solar array energy production was 575 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.654 and a solar array dust factor of 0.619.

Total odometry is 21.87 miles (35,189.68 meters).




Opportunity is on the Move Around 'Matijevic Hill' - sols 3098-3104, Oct. 10, 2012-Oct. 17, 2012:

Opportunity is conducting a local area survey around the location where orbital observations show the presence of clay minerals at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is driving around the area called Matijevic Hill (named in honor of Jake Matijevic). Opportunity performed four survey drives on Sols 3098, 3101, 3103 and 3104 (Oct. 10, 14, 16 and 17, 2012), totaling over 230 feet (70 meters). Each drive was preceded by targeted imagery and followed by 360-degree Navigation camera (Navcam) panoramas. On Sol 3099 (Oct. 11, 2012), an atmospheric argon measurement was collected by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). The plan ahead is to conduct more survey drives around this location.

As of Sol 3104 (Oct. 17, 2012), the solar array energy production was 579 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.604 and a solar array dust factor of 0.624.

Total odometry is (21.82 miles) 35,120.59 meters.




Rock Grinding Action - sols 3077-3084, Sept. 19, 2012-Sept. 26, 2012:

Opportunity is conducting an in-situ (contact) science campaign at a putative location of clay minerals at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned next to a large light-toned block of exposed outcrop. Earlier Panoramic (Pancam) imagery indicates mineral hydration in this block. Opportunity began back on Sol 3076 (Sept. 18, 2012), using the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to brush the surface at a target location called "Azilda1." On Sol 3078 (Sept. 20, 2012), the rover continued brushing the surface, now at an adjacent target called "Azlida2." The brushing was followed by a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) placement on the same. On Sol 3080 (Sept. 22, 2012), Opportunity continued this brushing campaign with another surface target, slightly offset from the previous, called (you guessed it) "Azilda3."

Again, the brushing was followed by a MI mosaic and an APXS integration. With an extended target region brushed and surveyed, on Sol 3083 (Sept. 25, 2012), Opportunity performed a RAT grind on the location Azilad2. Initial telemetry indicates the grind performed to a depth of about 0.03 inches (0.8 mm). The plan ahead is to either, grind deeper or retract the RAT and survey the grind hole.

As of Sol 3084 (Sept. 26 2012), the solar array energy production was 553 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.658 and a solar array dust factor of 0.657.

Total odometry is 21.78 miles (35,047.47 meters).




Robotic Arm Tools Get to Work - sols 3071-3076, Sept. 13, 2012-Sept. 18, 2012:

Opportunity is continuing the in-situ (contact) science campaign at a putative location of clay minerals at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned next to a large light-toned block of exposed outcrop. Previous Panoramic Camera (Pancam) imagery indicates mineral hydration in this block. On 3071 (Sept. 13, 2012), Opportunity performed a very small turn-in-place to position a high-valued target within reach of the robotic arm. Then on Sol 3073 (Sept. 15, 2012), the rover collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target "Azilda," followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same for a multi-sol integration. On Sol 3076 (Sept. 18, 2012), Opportunity used the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to brush the same target and then used the Microscopic Imager to collect another mosaic, followed again by another placement of the APXS.

As of Sol 3076 (Sept. 18, 2012), the solar array energy production was 564 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.560 and a solar array dust factor of 0.648.

Total odometry is 21.78 miles (35,047.47 meters).




Robotic Arm Goes to Work - sols 3064-3070, Sept. 6, 2012-Sept. 12, 2012:

Opportunity is continuing the in-situ (contact) science campaign at a putative location of clay minerals at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 3064 (Sept. 6, 2012), the rover collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the target outcrop Kirkwood, followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for integration. On Sol 3066 (Sept. 8, 2012), the rover experienced an X-band fault as Earth was below the deck of the rover. Due to seasonal geometry, time of day and rover tilt, there was a known risk that Earth might be too low on the horizon for the high-gain antenna to track. A small error in the rover's tilt knowledge resulted in the track of the Earth dropping too low at the end of the X-band pass. The rover sequences transmitted during that pass were successfully received by the rover and executed as planned. The X-band fault was cleared by real-time commands sent later on Sol 3069 (Sept. 11, 2012).

On Sol 3066 (Sept. 8, 2012), Opportunity raised her robotic arm for a clear camera shot of the targets in front of the rover. Then on the next sol, the rover performed a brushing with the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT). This was followed with another MI mosaic and then the placement of the APXS on the brushed surface.

On Sol 3070 (Sept. 12, 2012), the rover then performed a 3-sided drive around the exposed fin-like outcrop to reach light-toned blocky outcrop for further in-situ investigation for putative clay minerals.

As of Sol 3070 (Sept. 12, 2012), the solar array energy production was 569 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.689 and a solar array dust factor of 0.672.

Total odometry is 21.78 miles (35,047.47 meters).




Opportunity Begins Examining Clay Minerals - sols 3057-3063, Aug. 29, 2012-Sept. 4, 2012:

Opportunity has begun the in-situ (contact) science campaign at a putative location of clay minerals at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Earlier, Opportunity had driven south along the in board edge of Cape York, surveying the exposed outcrop with both Navigation Camera (Navcam) and detailed Panoramic Camera (Pancam images).

On Sol 3056 (Aug. 28, 2012), it was decided to begin the direct approach to the outcrop. Opportunity, on Sol 3057 (Aug. 29, 2012), continued the approach to the outcrop with a 39-feet (12-meter) drive to the west, followed by surveying imagery. From the imagery, a target location was selected. On Sol 3060 (Sept. 1, 2012), the rover began the careful approach with a 20-feet (6-meter drive), followed on the next sol with a salute of the robotic arm to provide an unobstructed view for the mast cameras of potential in-situ targets. Then, on Sol 3063 (Sept. 4, 2012), Opportunity bumped into place with a short 5.6 feet (1.7-meter) move. This move has now positioned the rover so that the robotic arm can reach surface targets. The plan ahead is for a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of a surface target and an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) placement on the same for a long integration.

As of Sol 3063 (Sept. 4, 2012), the solar array energy production was 543 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.658 and a solar array dust factor of 0.667.

Total odometry is 21.77 miles (35,037.19 meters).




Opportunity Exceeds 35 Kilometers of Driving! - sols 3051-3056, Aug. 23, 2012-Aug. 28, 2012:

Opportunity has exceeded over 35 kilometers (21.75 miles) of odometry!

The rover is moving south along the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater surveying exposed outcrop in search of phyllosilicate clay minerals that have been detected from orbit.

On Sol 3051 (Aug. 23, 2012), Opportunity continued to move about 98 feet (30 meters) south along the inboard edge of Cape York, imaging the outcrop to the west with both Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam). On Sol 3053 (Aug. 25, 2012), the rover drove further south with more of an inboard bias to be closer to the outcrop. Again, more detailed Pancam and Navcam surveys were performed. On Sol 3055 (Aug. 27, 2012), the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) on the end of the robotic arm was imaged to re-confirm the available bit for future grinding and the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) collected a measurement of atmospheric argon.

On Sol 3056 (Aug. 28, 2012), Opportunity headed almost due west in a direct approach to some exciting outcrop units. With that drive, the rover passed 35 kilometers of odometry. Not bad for a vehicle designed for only about 1 mile (1 kilometer) of distance and 90 sols (days) of lifetime.

As of Sol 3056 (Aug. 28, 2012), the solar array energy production was 568 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.570 and a solar array dust factor of 0.684.

Total odometry is 21.76 miles (35,017.33 meters).




Opportunity Drives and Images Rock Outcrop - sols 3043-3050, Aug. 15, 2012-Aug. 22, 2012:

Opportunity is moving south along the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 3044 (Aug. 16, 2012), the rover drove just over 131 feet (40 meters) staying close to the outcrop terrain along Cape York. As Opportunity drives she has been heavily documenting the exposed outcrop with both Navigation Camera and Panoramic Camera color imagery.

On Sol 3046 (Aug. 18, 2012), the rover completed a drive of over 328 feet (100 meters), again collecting outcrop imagery along the way. Sol 3049 (Aug. 21, 2012), saw another 131 feet (40 meter) drive, assembling an extensive image set of the outcrop.

It is in this region of Cape York where orbital data indicate the presence of phyllosilicate clay minerals. Opportunity is documenting this area in order to allow the science team to select the best region for an extensive in-situ (contact) investigation for these clay minerals.

As of Sol 3050 (Aug. 22, 2012), the solar array energy production was 530 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.696 and a solar array dust factor of 0.683.

Total odometry is 21.65 miles (34,846.61 meters).




Opportunity is on the Move Again! - sols 3036-3042, Aug. 8, 2012-Aug. 14, 2012:

Opportunity is on the move again at the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sols 3036 and 3037 (Aug. 8 and 9, 2012), the rover completed a set of Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurements on a surface target, called "Rushall_1." With the APXS integrations done, Opportunity swung the robotic arm out of the way so detailed Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images could be taken on Sol 3039 (Aug. 11, 2012). On the next sol, the rover drove south with a 90-feet (27.5-meter) drive toward the small impact crater, called "Sao Rafael." With "drive-by" imaging of the crater complete, Opportunity drove again on Sol 3042 (Aug. 14, 2012), with a 128-feet (39-meter) drive toward another small impact crater, called "Berrio." The rover also had enough energy on that sol to collect an atmospheric argon measurement with the APXS.

As of Sol 3042 (Aug. 14, 2012), the solar array energy production was 545 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.564 and a solar array dust factor of 0.688.

Total odometry is 21.57 miles (34,705.88 meters).




With Curiosity on the Surface Opportunity Will Resume Driving Soon - sols 3030-3035, August 2, 2012 - August 7, 2012:

Activity has been constrained for the period around the arrival of Curiosity. The project pre-planned 9 sols of activity so as not to require Deep Space Network tracking coverage during the Mars Science Laboratory's Entry, Descent and Landing. Opportunity performed Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer overnight integrations on Sols 3030, 3031, 3033 and 3034 (Aug. 2, Aug. 3, Aug. 5 and Aug. 6, 2012) on the surface target "Rushall1." Multi-filter Panoramic Camera images were collected of "Whim Creek" on Sols 3031 and 3032 (Aug. 3, and Aug. 4, 2012). Daily atmospheric opacity measurements were also performed. With Curiosity safely on the surface, the plan ahead for Opportunity is to resume driving.

As of Sol 3035 (Aug. 7, 2012), the solar array energy production was 531 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.715 and a solar array dust factor of 0.707.

Total odometry is 21.52 (34,639.45 meters).




Opportunity Prepares for Curiosity's Arrival! - sols 3023-3029, July 25, 2012 - August 1, 2012:

Opportunity has been roving at the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater. However, activity will be constrained for the period ahead as Opportunity prepares for the arrival of Curiosity.

The project is preplanning nine day or sols of activity around the landing time of Curiosity, so as not to require Deep Space Network tracking antenna coverage. On Sol 3024 (July 26, 2012), Opportunity drove just over 20 feet (6 meters) to position for some surface targets at the feature called "Whim Creek." On Sol 3025 (July 27, 2012), the rover collected an atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). On Sol 3027 (July 29, 2012), the robotic arm was used to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target, called "Rushall," followed by the placement of the APXS for a multi-sol surface integration.

On Sol 3028 (July 31, 2012), Opportunity served as a trial horse for possible direct detection at Earth of Curiosity's Ultra High Frequency (UHF) signal during landing with the Parkes Radio Observatory in Australia. Opportunity transmitted a UHF signal configured as Curiosity's UHF will be at landing. The Parkes antenna was able to detect the Opportunity test signal and will be now be listening during Curiosity's landing.

As of Sol 3022 (July 24, 2012), the solar array energy production was 547 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.642 and a solar array dust factor of 0.720.

Total odometry is 21.52 miles (34,639.45 meters).




Opportunity Picks Up the Pace With Several Drives This Week - sols 3017-3022, July 19, 2012 - July 24, 2012:

Opportunity is roving at the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Progress was again impacted by a second safe mode entry by the Mars Odyssey orbiter. With normal Ultra-High Frequency relay with Odyssey restored, Opportunity was able to drive on Sol 3019 (July 21, 2012).

That drive, of over 138 feet (42 meters), was a "V" trajectory with the rover first driving toward the small impact crater named "Sao Gabriel" for mid-drive imaging, then a near reverse drive away toward the geologic cut called "Whim Creek."

On Sol 3021 (July 23, 2012), Opportunity drove across Whim Creek with a 33 foot (10 meter) drive toward some surface targets. On the next Sol, the rover collected a Microscopic Imager mosaic of the target "Mons Cupri" before placing the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer down on the same. The plan ahead is some more driving before the operational stand-down around the time of the landing for Curiosity.

As of Sol 3022 (July 24, 2012), the solar array energy production was 507 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.772 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.727.

Total odometry is 21.52 miles (34,633.40 meters).




Slow-Going for Opportunity This Week - sols 3009-3016, July 11, 2012 - July 18, 2012:

Opportunity is roving at the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater. However, her progress has been impacted by the recent safe mode entry by the relay orbiter, Mars Odyssey.

On Sol 3010 (July 12, 2012), Opportunity drove just over 180 feet (55 meters) south towards a small impact crater, named "Sao Gabriel," for investigation. On Sol 3011 (July 13, 2012), the rover's Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer collected a measurement of atmospheric argon. But subsequent to the Sol 3010 (July 12, 2012), drive, Odyssey went into safe mode. In response to the absence of relay support from the orbiter, several rover X-band sessions with the Deep Space Network were converted to Direct-to-Earth passes to receive a small amount of telemetry to assess the health of the rover. Until the return of relay support from Odyssey, the plans for Opportunity were kept simple with a modest photometry campaign, daily observations of atmospheric opacity (tau) and other low-data volume remote sensing.

The Mars Color Imager on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been observing a local Martian dust storm near Endeavour Crater. The local storm has elevated the atmospheric opacity over the rover site. Water ice cloud cover seen around the rover site is both an indication that the dust storm had abated but there were still elevated levels of atmospheric dust in the region as a result of the storm. (water-ice is nucleating on the suspended dust particles.)

From Sol 3010 (July 12, 2012), the solar array energy production was 523 watt-hours with a solar array dust factor of 0.707. As of Sol 3016 (July 18, 2012), the atmospheric opacity (Tau) is elevated at 0.571.

Total odometry is 21.49 miles (34,580.05 meters).




Opportunity Continues to Explore Rocks on the Rim of Endeavour Crater - sols 3002-3008, July 4, 2012-July 10, 2012:

Opportunity is still exploring the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Most of this period focused on analyzing the rock target "Grasberg" with the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) tool, which ground and brushed the rock. This was done using the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) on Sols 3002, 3003, 3004, 3006, and 3007 (July 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9, 2012), and additional Microscopic Imager (MI) imaging on Sol 3006 (July 8, 2012).

After wrapping up the in-situ analysis of Grasberg, the rover drove east about 105 feet (32 meters) on Sol 3008 (July 10, 2012), in search of more gypsum veins. Opportunity continues to benefit from previous solar array dust cleaning events which have increased the daily energy production.

As of Sol 3008 (July 10, 2012), solar array energy production was 559 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.443 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.716.

Total odometry is 21.45 miles (34,524.96 meters).




Opportunity Celebratres 3,000 Martian Days Of Operation on the Surface of Mars! - sols 2997-3001, June 29, 2012-July 3, 2012:

Opportunity has now exceeded 3,000 sols, or Martian days, of operation on the surface of Mars! The rover is still exploring the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 2997 (June 29, 2012), Opportunity completed an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the previously brushed target, called "Grasberg." On Sol 2998 (June 30, 2012), a 13-filter Panoramic Camera (Pancam) image was taken of the target, followed by a Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) seek/scan and grind. The plan was to grind Grasberg to a depth of 1.5 mm, followed by a documentary Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic. On Sol 2999 (July 1, 2012), the rover performed an atmospheric argon measurement with the APXS. On Sol 3000 (July 2, 2012), the rover collected only remote sensing science. On Sol 3001 (July 3, 2012), the RAT was used to brush the RAT grind tailings from the target Grasberg followed by more MI imaging and the placement of the APXS for a long integration. Opportunity continues to benefit from solar array dust cleaning events, which increase the daily energy production.

As of Sol 3001 (July 3, 2012), solar array energy production was 577 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.346 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.705.

Total odometry is 21.43 miles (34,491.99 meters).




Opportunity Uses Robotic Arm Tools on Rock - sols 2990-2996, June 21, 2012-June 28, 2012:

Opportunity continues to explore the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater, specifically the transition layer between Cape York and Meridiani Planum.

Mars Odyssey has returned to service and supported downlinks on both Sols 2995 and 2996 (June 27 and 28, 2012). Previously Ultra High Frequency relay for the rover had been limited to just two relay passes per week from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

On Sol 2990 (June 21, 2012), in-situ measurements including the Microscopic Imager (MI) and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) began on the rock target "Grasberg." On Sol 2992 (June 24, 2012), a slightly offset target, "Grasberg 2," was similarly analyzed. And finally, on sol 2995 (June 27, 2012), the original Grasberg target was brushed using the Rock Abrasion Tool in preparation for further MI and APXS analysis. Though no new cleaning events appear to have occurred, the rover continues to benefit from previous solar array dust cleaning events and a slightly improved tilt.

As of Sol 2995 (June 27, 2012), solar array energy production was 559 watt-hours with a lower atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.330 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.698.

Total odometry is 21.43 miles (34,491.99 meters).




Opportunity Drives a Little - sols 2981-2989, June 12, 2012-June 20, 2012:

Opportunity has been exploring the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

With Mars Odyssey still working to recover from their safe mode event, Ultra High Frequency (UHF) relay for the rover has been limited to just two UHF relay passes per week from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. From a combination of the limited MRO relay and the use of Direct-to-Earth X-band passes on the rover, Opportunity was able to perform some driving.

On Sol 2981 (June 12, 2012), the rover drove a little over 56 feet (17 meters) to the north, approaching the boundary between the Cape York geologic unit and the Meridiani plains. On Sol 2989 (June 20, 2012), Opportunity bumped just over 16 feet (5 meters) north to straddle the contact unit between Cape York and Meridiani, and position a candidate target within the work volume of the robotic arm. Opportunity also performed two atmospheric argon measurements on Sols 2982 and 2987 (June 13 and June 18, 2012), using the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer.

The rover continues to benefit from solar array dust cleaning events, which have greatly increased the daily energy production. As of Sol 2989 (June 20, 2012), solar array energy production was 526 watt-hours with a lower atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.229 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.684.

Total odometry is 21.43 miles (34,491.99 meters).




Slow Going Due to Communication Issues - sols 2975-2980, June 6, 2012-June 11, 2012:

Opportunity has been investigating light-toned veins around the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Recently, things became complicated, first by Mars Odyssey orbiter going into safe mode, leaving Opportunity without timely relay support, and then by a missed Ultra High Frequency (UHF) relay pass with Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Sol 2976 (June 7, 2012). The project responded to the missed UHF pass by sending real-time commands to the rover on Sol 2977 (June 8, 2012), to elicit a response to make sure Opportunity was okay.

Further, the project asked MRO to change the data rate on the next relay pass to ensure lock-up under poor Signal to Noise Ratio conditions. The missed relay pass was likely the result of poor relay geometry between the orbiter and rover. With Odyssey unavailable for relay support for a number of days, the MER project converted several future rover Deep Space Network tracking passes from "Direct from Earth" to "Direct to Earth" to return some telemetry directly over the rover's X-band system.

The plans forward for Opportunity have been modest, mostly remote sensing, owing to the lack of relay support from Odyssey. A bump of the rover was sequenced for Sol 2981 (June 12, 2012). This will be followed by a MRO UHF relay pass to return the drive results.

As of Sol 2977 (June 8, 2012), solar array energy production was 388 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.338 and a solar array dust factor of 0.567.

Total odometry is 21.42 (34,469.86 meters).




Robotic Arm Gets to Work on Veins Of Gypsum - sols 2969-2974, May 31, 2012-June 5, 2012:

Opportunity is investigating light-toned veins around the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 2969 (May 31, 2012), the rover drove 36 feet (11 meters) to the northeast to approach one of these putative gypsum veins. On Sol 2971 (June 2, 2012), Opportunity bumped about 8 feet (2.3 meters) to place the vein, now called "Monte Cristo," within the work volume of the robotic arm. Taking advantage of the 3-sol weekend plan, the rover included an atmospheric argon measurement by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on Sol 2972 (June 3, 2012). On Sol 2974 (June 5, 2012), Opportunity began the in-situ (contact) investigation of the vein Monte Cristo with a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of an exposed portion of the vein, followed by the placement of the APXS for a multi-sol integration.

As of Sol 2974 (June 5, 2012), solar array energy production was 369 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.364 and a slightly improved solar array dust factor of 0.562.

Total odometry is 21.42 miles (34,469.86 meters).




On the Hunt for Light-Toned Veins of Gypsum - sols 2962-2968, May 24, 2012-May 30, 2012:

Opportunity completed her in-situ (contact) investigation of a dust patch on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover is now on the hunt for more light-toned veins of gypsum.

On Sol 2963 (May 25, 2012), Opportunity headed north with an approximately 82-foot (25-meter) drive, keeping a careful watch on the terrain. With the season still early spring, the rover must keep a small bias towards northerly tilts in order to generate healthy energy margins. On Sol 2965 (May 27, 2012), Opportunity headed further to the north end of Cape York, in an area referred to as "the bench," a flat curb-like unit that forms the perimeter of Cape York. With the arrival in the bench area, Opportunity is spying several vein candidates, looking for one that is wide enough to grind with the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) and sample with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS).

The plan ahead is to approach some of these vein candidates for closer inspection. The recent driving has shallowed out the northerly tilt somewhat, so energy levels have moderated a bit.

As of Sol 2968 (May 30, 2012), solar array energy production was 345 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.413 and a solar array dust factor of 0.538.

Total odometry is 21.41 miles (34,456.53 meters).




Opportunity on the Road Again! - sols 2941-2947, May 2, 2012-May 8, 2012:

After being stationary for 130 sols during the winter, Opportunity has resumed driving again.

On Sol 2947 (May 8, 2012), the rover performed a 12-foot (3.7-meter) drive down from her winter perch, called "Greeley Haven." As expected, the rover's northerly tilt decrease from around 15 degrees down to about 8 degrees. All wheel currents, including the right-front wheel, were nominal. With this drive, Opportunity has concluded the radio Doppler geo-dynamics campaign with 60 radio Doppler tracking passes successfully accomplished over the winter.

The plan ahead is first to drive toward a nearby putative dusty target to examine the nature and origin of Martian dust, then locate a wider, light-toned vein around the north end of Cape York for further in-situ investigation, among other objectives.

As of Sol 2947 (May 8, 2012), solar array energy production was 357 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.476 and a solar array dust factor of 0.526.

Total odometry is 21.35 miles (34,365.04 meters).




Opportunity Getting Ready to Leave her Winter Perch - sols 2935-2940, April 26, 2012-May 1, 2012:

Opportunity is still positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt, but not for much longer.

With the improvement in solar insolation and the recent modest dust cleaning events on the solar arrays, the project has determined that the rover has sufficient energy resources to begin moving again on level terrain. Therefore, Opportunity will soon be backing down off her winter perch and resume driving on the near-level terrain around the north end of Cape York.

Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigation are continuing for now with passes performed on Sols 2935, 2936, 2937 and 2940 (April 26, 27, 28 and May 1, 2012). The project is also finishing the campaign of Microscopic Imager mosaics and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer measurements of the extended region around the surface rock target "Amboy." These measurements were performed on Sols 2935, 2937 and 2940 (April 26, 28 and May 1, 2012). An extended thermal behavior test of the inertial measurement unit on the rover was performed on Sol 2938 (April 29, 2012), and found to be in good order.

As of Sol 2940 (May 1, 2012), solar array energy production was 365 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.480 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.534.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Studies of 'Amboy' Rock Continue as Solar Energy Improves - sols 2927-2934, April 18, 2012-April 25, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

The solar insolation is improving and the rover has benefitted from some small, dust cleaning events. Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigation were performed on Sols 2927, 2931 and 2933 (April 18, 22 and 24, 2012).

The project is also continuing the regular campaign of Microscopic Imager mosaics of the extended region of the rock target "Amboy," followed by Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer measurements of the imaged area. These measurements were performed on Sols 2929, 2931 and 2933 (April 20, 22 and 24, 2012). More dust cleaning events have occurred, improving the solar array dust factor by small amounts.

As of Sol 2934 (April 25, 2012), solar array energy production was 366 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.521 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.546.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Opportunity Benefits From Brighter Skies and Small Dust Cleaning of Solar Panels - sols 2922-2926, April 13, 2012-April 17, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

The solar insolation has been improving and the rover has benefitted from some small dust cleaning events. Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigation were performed on Sols 2922, 2924, and 2925 (April 13, 15 and 16, 2012).

Since resuming in-situ (contact) science with the robotic arm instruments, the team has continued work on the Microscopic Imager mosaic they have been building over the winter, with additional pieces acquired on Sols 2924 and 2926 (April 15 and 17, 2012). Each of these was followed by a placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration on the rock target "Amboy".

As of Sol 2926 (April 17, 2012), solar array energy production was 342 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.504 and a solar array dust factor of 0.525.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Left-Front Wheel Stabilized - sols 2914-2921, April 4, 2012-April 12, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

The solar insolation has been improving and the rover has benefitted from some small dust cleaning events. Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigation were performed on Sols 2916 and 2918 (April 6 and April 9, 2012). An atmospheric argon measurement was collected by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on Sol 2915 (April 5, 2012). On Sol 2914 (April 4, 2012), the left-front wheel of the rover was stabilized by performing two wheel motions with steering wiggles in between. Subsequence diagnostic imaging has shown the rover to be stable with no detected motion. A Microscopic Imager (MI) image of the left-front wheel was taken from the modified stow position of the robotic arm. Although the image is out of focus (expected), it does show good contact between the left-front wheel and the terrain. Other imagery also confirms this. The project has thus resumed in-situ (contact) science with the robotic arm instruments.

On Sols 2919 and 2920 (April 10 and April 11, 2012), a suite of MI mosaics were collected of surface targets each followed by a placement of the APXS for an overnight integration. More dust cleaning events have occurred, improving the solar array dust factor by a small amount.

As of Sol 2921 (April 12, 2012), solar array energy production was 336 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.526 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.535.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Small Wheel Spin and Steering Wiggle to Stabilize Left-Front Wheel - sols 2907-2913, March 28, 2012-April 3, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production. The winter solstice (March 30, 2012) has now passed for the rover.

Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigation were performed on Sols 2909 and 2912 (March 30 and April 2, 2012). Atmospheric argon measurements were performed with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on Sols 2907 and 2909 (March 28 and March 30, 2012). Additional Panoramic camera (Pancam) images were taken on several sols, along with a 360-degree Navigation camera (Navcam) panorama to be used to refine knowledge of the rover's attitude.

The project is continuing to investigate the anomalies from Sol 2899 (March 20, 2012), that indicate apparent downward motion (of a few millimeters) of the left-front wheel and a stall in the robotic arm (Instrument Deployment Device, IDD). On Sol 2910 (March 31, 2012), a Quick Fine Attitude (QFA) was performed to establish the rover's attitude using the Sun along with the collection of additional Hazardous camera (Hazcam) imagery. No motion in the rover was observed when comparing these images to ones collected just after the anomalous wheel motion. However, the project is planning to stabilize the left-front wheel by performing a small wheel spin and a steering wiggle. These actions should remove any loose material under the wheel and relax any tension in the rover's suspension. A small dust cleaning event around Sol 2911 (April 1, 2012), improved the solar array dust factor by a few percent.

As of Sol 2913 (April 3, 2012), solar array energy production was 321 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.521 and a solar array dust factor of 0.506.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Slight Drop of Left-Front Wheel - sols 2901-2906, March 22, 2012-March 27, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigation were performed on Sols 2903 and 2904 (March 24 and 25, 2012). Atmospheric argon measurements were performed with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on Sols 2904 and 2905 (March 25 and 26, 2012). Additional Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images were taken on several sols.

The project is continuing to investigate the anomalies from Sol 2899 (March 20, 2012), that indicates apparent downward motion of the left-front wheel and a stall in the robotic arm (Instrument Deployment Device, or IDD). On Sols 2901, 2904 and 2906 (March 22, 25 and 27, 2012), further imaging of the rover's position and detail imaging of the Moessbauer (MB) spectrometer on the end of the IDD were performed along with a series of diagnostic robotic arm motions. The IDD moved without any problems. Motor currents and actuator motion were all nominal. Detailed images of the Moessbauer spectrometer showed no evidence of any off-nominal contact with the ground. Careful review of the left-front wheel suggests that the wheel might have moved more than one time, although these are very small motions (a few millimeters). No other wheel has shown any indication of motion. The project continues to assess the left-front wheel stability.

As of Sol 2906 (March 27, 2012), solar array energy production was 306 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.521 and a solar array dust factor of 0.488.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Slight Drop of Left-Front Wheel - sols 2894-2900, March 15, 2012-March 21, 2012:

Opportunity remains positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximately 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigation were performed on sols 2895, 2897 and 2899 (March 16, 18 and 20, 2012). The Microscopic Imager (MI) collected images on sols 2894 and 2899 (March 15 and 20, 2012) as part of a large mosaic. On Sol 2894, the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer was placed on target "Amboy3" for a multi-sol integration.

On Sol 2899, the robotic arm (Instrument Deployment Device, or IDD) experienced a safety stall in preparation for the MI mosaic imaging. The imaging executed successfully, and the Moessbauer spectrometer was subsequently placed on the target "Amboy," as planned. Imagery from the front hazard-avoidance camera showed that the left-front wheel apparently dropped by a small amount, roughly half an inch (1 centimeter), sometime between Sol 2894 and Sol 2899. The rover is safe, healthy and stable. There is no indication of risk to Opportunity. But the small drop in the left-front wheel is curious. The IDD safety stall may be related. The project is investigating this. Diagnostic activities have been sequenced for Sol 2901 (March 22, 2012).

As of Sol 2900 (March 21, 2012), solar array energy production was 311 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.508 and a solar array dust factor of 0.498. Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Energy Levels Expected to Rise - sols 2887-2893, March 8, 2012-March 14, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

Opportunity is passing through the period of minimum solar insolation. Although the winter solstice is still some weeks away, it is expected that energy levels will start to rise. Further, there has been some very small dust cleaning, slightly improving the dust factor of the solar arrays.

Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigations were performed on Sols 2890 and 2893 (March 11 and 14, 2012). Microscopic Imager mosaics were collected on Sol 2887 and 2889 (March 8 and 10, 2012). An atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was taken on Sol 2888 (March 9, 2012). A low-light Panoramic Camera (Pancam) image was also collected this Sol and Panoramic Camera images of "Morris Hill" were taken on Sol 2892 (March 13, 2012). The Moessbauer spectrometer was otherwise placed down on the surface target Amboy collecting further integration time.

As of Sol 2893 (March 14, 2012), solar array energy production was 301 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.542 and a solar array dust factor of 0.489.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Winter Studies of 'Amboy' Rock Continue - sols 2880-2886, Feb. 29, 2012-March 7, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

While positioned for the winter, Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements to support geo-dynamic investigations of the planet, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the rock target, "Amboy," including Microscopic Imager mosaics and long Moessbauer spectrometer integrations, and continued collection of Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images.

Radio Doppler tracking passes were performed on Sols 2882, 2883, 2885 and 2886 (March 2, 4, 6 and 7, 2012). A Microscopic Imager mosaic was collected on Sol 2882 (March 2, 2012). The Moessbauer was otherwise placed down on Amboy collecting further integration time after each Microscopic Imager mosaic. Additional 13-filter Pancam images of foreground targets were taken.

As of Sol 2886 (March 7, 2012), solar array energy production was 298 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.557 and a solar array dust factor of 0.487.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Slight Cleaning of Solar Panels - sols 2873-2879, Feb. 22, 2012-Feb. 28, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

While positioned for the winter, Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements to support geo-dynamic investigations of the planet, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the rock target, "Amboy," including Microscopic Imager mosaics and long Moessbauer spectrometer integrations, and continued collection of Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images.

Radio Doppler tracking passes were performed on Sols 2873, 2875, 2877 and 2878 (Feb. 22, 24, 26 and 27). Microscopic Imager mosaics were performed on Sols 2873, 2874 and 2879 (Feb. 22, 23 and 28). The Moessbauer spectrometer was placed down again on Amboy for further integration time after each Microscopic Imager mosaic. Additional 13-filter Pancam images of foreground targets were taken. In the last few sols, there has been a small amount of solar array cleaning (dust factor improvement).

As of Sol 2879 (Feb. 28, 2012), solar array energy production was 305 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.520 and a modestly improved solar array dust factor of 0.489. A recent recalibration of atmospheric opacity resulted in a re-baseline of dust factor numbers.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




More Doppler Tracking and Imaging - sols 2866-2872, Feb. 15, 2012-Feb. 21, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

While positioned for the winter, Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements to support geo-dynamic investigations of the planet, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the rock target, "Amboy," and continued collection of Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images. The Moessbauer spectrometer is currently on the surface target Amboy and is collecting a very long (multi-sol) integration. Radio Doppler tracking passes were performed on Sols 2866 (Feb. 15, 2012), and 2870 (Feb. 19, 2012). Additional 13-filter Pancam images of foreground targets were taken.

As of Sol 2872 (Feb. 21, 2012), solar array energy production was 277 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.684 and a solar array dust factor of 0.476.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Rock Studies Continue For Opportunity - sols 2860-2865, Feb. 9, 2012-Feb. 14, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

While positioned for the winter, Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements to support geo-dynamic investigations of the planet, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the rock target, "Amboy," including an extended Microscopic Imager mosaic, and continued collection of the 13-filter (stereo) 360-degree "Greeley" panorama. The Moessbauer spectrometer is currently on the surface target Amboy and is collecting a very long, (multi-sol) integration. Radio Doppler tracking passes were performed on Sols 2861 (Feb. 10, 2012) and 2863 (Feb. 12, 2012). More segments of the Greeley panorama were collected.

As of Sol 2865 (Feb. 14, 2012), solar array energy production was 274 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.678 and a solar array dust factor of 0.467.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Energy Levels Decreasing - sols 2853-2859, Feb. 2, 2012-Feb. 8, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

While positioned for the winter, Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements to support geo-dynamic investigations of the planet, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the rock target, "Amboy," including an extended Microscopic Imager mosaic, and continued collection of the 13-filter 360-degree "Greeley" panorama.

Additionally, during the late afternoon radio Doppler tracking passes, the rover is collecting spectacular low-light (low sun elevation) images. Decreasing energy levels with the approach to the winter solstice has constrained conducting both a radio Doppler tracking pass and an afternoon Ultra High Frequency relay pass on the same sol. The operations team performs energy trades on the tactical timeline as to which, if not both, of these communication passes are performed on a given sol.

On Sol 2852 (Feb. 1, 2012), the Moessbauer Spectrometer was placed on Amboy for a multi-sol integration and subsequently 24 hours of integration has occurred. Also, there were three radio Doppler tracking passes during this time on Sols 2853, 2855, and 2856 (Feb. 2, 4 and 5). And finally, on Sol 2858 (Feb. 7, 2012), the robotic arm continued its extended Microscopic Imager mosaic campaign of the surface area that includes the target Amboy.

As of Sol 2859 (Feb. 8, 2012), solar array energy production was 283 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.648 and a solar array dust factor of 0.478.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Radio Doppler Tracking Continues at Cape York - sols 2846-2852, Jan. 25, 2012-Feb. 1, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

While positioned for the winter, Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements to support geo-dynamic investigations of the planet, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the rock target, "Amboy," including an extended Microscopic Imager mosaic, and continued collection of the 13-filter 360-degree "Greeley" panorama.

Additionally, during the late afternoon radio Doppler tracking passes, the rover is collecting spectacular low-light (low sun elevation) images. Decreasing energy levels with the approach to the winter solstice has constrained conducting both a radio Doppler tracking pass and an afternoon Ultra High Frequency relay pass on the same sol. The operations team performs energy trades on the tactical timeline as to which, if not both, of these communication passes are performed on a given sol. On Sol 2846 (Jan. 25, 2012), a low-light Panoramic Camera (Pancam) image was collected during the late afternoon radio Doppler tracking pass. On the next sol, the robotic arm was used to re-place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on the target Amboy for multi-sol integration. More radio Doppler tracking passes with Pancam low-light imagery were performed over the next sols.

On Sol 2852 (Feb. 1, 2012), the robotic arm collected a Microscopic Imager mosaic, part of an extended mosaic campaign, of the surface area that includes the target Amboy. The Moessbauer spectrometer was then placed on Amboy for a multi-sol integration. New parameters are being used to optimize the Moessbauer spectrometer performance.

As of Sol 2852 (Feb. 1, 2012), solar array energy production was 270 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.679 and a solar array dust factor of 0.469.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Science Investigations Continue as Solar Energy Levels Drop - sols 2839-2845, Jan. 18, 2012-Jan. 24, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production during the winter.

Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements to support geo-dynamic investigations of the planet, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the target, "Amboy" including an extended Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic, and continued collection of the 13-filter, 360-degree "Greeley" panorama.

Decreasing energy levels with the approach to the winter solstice has constrained Opportunity for conducting both a radio Doppler tracking pass and an afternoon Ultra High Frequency (UHF) relay pass on the same sol. The operations team performs energy trades on the tactical timeline as to which, if not both, of these communication passes are performed on a given sol. On Sol 2839 (Jan. 18, 2012), the first portion of the extended Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic was collected, followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). The next sol supported continued temperature diagnostics for the Moessbauer (MB) spectrometer and conducted a radio Doppler tracking pass. On Sol 2841 (Jan. 20, 2012), the APXS was retracted and rotated to perform a periodic atmospheric argon measurement. On Sol 2844 (Jan. 23, 2012), the robotic arm was repositioned to collect a set of Microscopic Imager sky-flat calibration images and another radio Doppler tracking pass was performed.

As of Sol 2845 (Jan. 24, 2012), solar array energy production was 279 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.693 and a solar array dust factor of 0.473.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Adjusting Robotic Arm on 'Amboy' Rock - sols 2833-2838, Jan. 12, 2012-Jan. 17, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the target, "Amboy" and continues to collect the 13-filter, 360-degree "Greeley" panorama.

On Sol 2833 (Jan. 12, 2012), the robotic arm performed a tool change to place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on a repositioned Amboy target. With multi-sol APXS integration ongoing, several opportunities were used to perform Moessbauer spectrometer temperature diagnostics. The diagnostic tests help to establish the best temperature range of operation for the Moessbauer, which exhibits some temperature-related anomalous behavior. In addition to the continued radio Doppler tracking, panorama collection and in-situ science, in the plan ahead regular Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaics will be collected of an extended area around the in-situ targets.

As of Sol 2838 (Jan. 17, 2012), solar array energy production was 276 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.602 and a solar array dust factor of 0.447.

Total odometry is 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Studying Rock Target 'Amboy' - sols 2825-2832, Jan. 4, 2012-Jan. 11, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned for winter on the north end of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is tilted about 15 degrees to the north for favorable solar energy production. Opportunity is conducting in-situ (contact) science investigations of the rock target, "Amboy." The Moessbauer spectrometer has been in place for several sols on Amboy. On Sol 2829 (Jan. 8, 2012), the Microscopic Imager was used to make additional surveys of the target with the Moessbauer being placed again on the same point. After some image assessments, the robotic arm was used on Sol 2831 (Jan. 10, 2012), to slightly reposition the Moessbauer.

Ongoing with the long Moessbauer integrations, Opportunity has been conducting regular radio Doppler X-band tracking passes in support of an experiment to measure the precession and nutation of the planet. Opportunity has also been collecting color Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images of the full 360-degree "Greeley" panorama from this site. The plan ahead is more Moessbauer, more Pancam and more radio Doppler tracking.

As of Sol 2832 (Jan. 11, 2012), solar array energy production was 281 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.697 and a solar array dust factor of 0.471.

Total odometry is 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Positioned at Candidate Site for Winter - sols 2818-2824, Dec. 28, 2011-Jan. 3, 2012:

Opportunity is positioned for winter on the north end of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover is tilted about 15 degrees to the north for favorable solar energy production. Opportunity is in position to conduct contact science investigations of surface targets reachable by the instruments on the robotic arm.

On Sol 2819 (Dec. 29, 2011), the robotic arm was used to collect a set of Microscopic Imager mosaics of a target called "Amboy." This was followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer for a multi-sol integration. On Sol 2822 (Jan. 1, 2012), the rover's robotic arm placed the Moessbauer Spectrometer on the target Amboy for an extended integration.

Sol 2822 also saw the first of a planned series of special X-band passes to support a radio Doppler tracking experiment to measure the precession and nutation of the planet. Those first data have been assessed as good quality. The plan ahead is for continued Moessbauer integration on Amboy and more radio Doppler tracking.

As of Sol 2824 (Jan. 3, 2012), solar array energy production was 287 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.735 and a solar array dust factor of 0.481. Total odometry as of Sol 2823 (Jan. 2, 2012) is 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Positioned at Candidate Site for Winter - sols 2813-2817, Dec. 23-Dec. 27, 2011:

Opportunity is positioned at a candidate site for Mars' southern hemisphere winter. The rover is at the north end of 'Cape York' on the rim of Endeavour Crater, tilted about 15 degrees to the north for favorable solar energy production.

Opportunity experienced anomalously high current in the right-front wheel on Sol 2808 (Dec. 17, 2011). Diagnostics on Sols 2810 and 2812 (Dec. 20 and 22, 2011) indicated a nominal wheel and drive actuator with the terrain being the indicated explanation for the high current. On Sol 2816 (Dec. 26, 2011), the rover performed an 8-inch (0.2-meter) diagnostic backward drive. The drive completed successfully with Opportunity maintaining its 15-degree northerly tilt, sufficient for the winter period.

The plan ahead is to conduct some contact measurements with the instruments on the robotic arm to see if this location offers substantive in-situ science opportunities during the winter months. Opportunity will also begin a radio Doppler tracking campaign at the start of the new year.

As of Sol 2817 (Dec. 27, 2011), solar array energy production was 290 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.685 and a solar array dust factor of 0.475. Total odometry as of Sol 2816 (Dec. 26, 2011) is 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).




Wheel Passes Checkup After Stalled Drive - sols 2805-2812, Dec. 14-Dec. 22, 2011:

This period began with a campaign of using the Microscopic Imager (MI) and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) to examine a target called "Komati" on the "Saddleback" outcrop.

After two days of collecting APXS data, a drive was planned for Sol 2808 (Dec. 17, 2011) to rotate the rover in a way that would bring a different target into range of the robotic arm (instrument deployment device, or IDD). During this turning maneuver the right-front wheel experienced elevated electrical currents, which tripped a fault response and stopped the drive. Telemetry suggested that the elevated current was due to the wheel's orientation with respect to the terrain (causing it to work harder than expected) and not an actuator failure. To verify this, diagnostics were performed on Sol 2810 (Dec. 20, 2011). The diagnostic tests confirmed the actuator's continued good health.

A small drive of about 1.2 inches (3 centimeters) in the opposite direction was planned for Sol 2812 (Dec. 22, 2011) to clear the wheel from obstacles, if any existed, that may have hooked the wheel. This drive was also successful, further confirming the health of the actuator. With the success of this smaller drive, we are now comfortable proceeding with a larger arc that should give us additional wheel-current data and allow us to image the Sol 2808 stall point. This drive is likely to be of the magnitude of 6 inches (15 centimeters) and occur on Sol 2816 (Dec. 26, 2011).

As of Sol 2812 (Dec. 22, 2011), solar array energy production is 297 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.645 and a solar array dust factor of 0.469. Total odometry is 21.35 miles (34,361.13 meters, or 34.36 kilometers).




Opportunity at One of its Two Winter Spots - sols 2798-2804, Dec. 7-Dec. 13, 2011:

Opportunity is positioned at one of the candidate sites for winter, on the north end of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater. There are two candidate sites for winter havens that indicate sufficient northerly tilt. Opportunity is at one of those spots. The rover is tilted about 16 degrees to the north for favorable solar energy production. Opportunity is continuing the in-situ (contact) investigation of the outcrop at this location. On Sols 2798 (Dec. 7, 2011), and 2800 (Dec. 9, 2011), Opportunity conducted a set of investigations using the instruments on the end of the robotic arm on the surface target called "Boesmankop." Each involved collecting Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaics followed by an overnight placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). On Sol 2801 (Dec. 10, 2011), the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) was used to brush the surface target and collect another MI mosaic. The rover also took a panoramic camera (Pancam) image, followed by the placement of the APXS for an overnight integration.

Wanting to investigate a rock clast on the outcrop, the rover performed a small 9-degree counter-clockwise turn on Sol 2803 (Dec. 12, 2011). This positions that rock clast within reach of Opportunity's robotic arm. The plan ahead is an in-situ investigation of the rock clast with the instruments on the end of the robotic arm.

As of Sol 2804 (Dec. 13, 2011), solar array energy production was 302 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.714 and a solar array dust factor of 0.486.

Total odometry is 21.35 miles (34,360.78 meters, or 34.36 kilometers).




Opportunity to Stop and Study Rocks - sols 2791-2797, Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2011:

Opportunity is currently exploring one of the candidate sites for winter, on the north end of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 2792 (Dec. 1, 2011), the rover bumped backwards about 9 feet (2.7 meters) to better view a rock outcrop and to increase the rover tilt toward the Sun. The northerly tilt, favorable for energy production, increased from 6 degrees to 9 degrees.

On Sol 2795 (Dec. 4, 2011), Opportunity bumped further to approach some in-situ (contact) science targets on the rock outcrop, called "Saddleback." The plan ahead is to perform some in-situ science on the rock outcrop with the instruments on the end of the robotic arm.

As of Sol 2797 (Dec. 6, 2011), solar array energy production was 305 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.755 and a solar array dust factor of 0.487.

Total odometry is 21.35 miles (34,360.76 meters, or 34.36 kilometers).





 

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