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MARSDAILY
New Year yields interesting bright soil for Opportunity rover
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jan 09, 2017


illustration only

Opportunity is located on the rim of Endeavour crater, heading south along the rim. The near-term plan is to reach a valley called "Willamette" where grooves are seen in orbital imagery.

Just before the holidays, the rover encountered some difficult, steep terrain. As the rover tried to advance up 20-degree slopes, the wheels began to dig up the soil and progress slowed to a near stop.

Sensing this, the rover stopped her drive and waited.

So, on Sol 4590 (Dec. 22, 2016), the team had Opportunity back down a short, 2-foot (70-cm) distance to put the rover on a more solid footing.

Before we could continue with rover activities through the holidays, Mars Odyssey went into "safe mode," an event that prevented relay data return from Opportunity. The rover was patient for several sols and in good health.

With Odyssey back, on Sol 4601 (January 2, 2017) Opportunity moved another 6.6 feet (2 meters) to get a good look of the terrain that was disturbed during the up-hill driving challenge.

The disturbed soil reveals brightly colored, unconsolidated material that is of great interest to the science team. So, the plan ahead is to use the rover's robotic arm instruments to investigate this bright soil.

As of Sol 4602, (January 3, 2017) the solar array energy production is 520 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.752 and a solar array dust factor of 0.683.

Total odometry is 27.17 miles (43.74 kilometers).


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Opportunity Archive at JPL
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Previous Report
MARSDAILY
Opportunity performs several drives to ancient gully
Pasadena CA (JPL) Dec 19, 2016
Opportunity is making progress towards the next science objective of the extended mission. The rover is headed toward an ancient water-carved gully about a kilometer south of the rover's current location on the rim of Endeavour Crater. The recent plans have emphasized driving. On Sol 4577 (Dec. 8, 2016), Opportunity intended a 59-feet (18-meter) drive to the southwest. However, the rover o ... read more


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