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. Opportunity Conducts Path Planning Test And Gets Another Energy Boost

Making tracks.
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (SPX) May 08, 2007
Opportunity drove 224 meters (735 feet) this week. The sol 1160 checkout of the D-star hazard avoidance path planner (drive planning software) was a resounding success. In order to make the test as safe as possible, D-star was told that rocks in its path were hazards, when actually Opportunity is capable of safely driving over them.

The rover planners set a waypoint on the opposite side of "Granada" such that a straight path would have taken the rover directly over these non-hazardous hazards.

On sols 1162 and 1163 Opportunity drove towards the "Cape of Good Hope." On sol 1164 the rover will creep several meters closer to the edge of the crater to position itself for panoramic camera imaging of "Cape St. Vincent" over the weekend. Also this weekend Opportunity will perform another test of RAT grinding.

On sol 1159 Opportunity experienced yet another dust cleaning event. Solar array energy production is now over 800 watt-hours.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to Opportunity's daily science observations which include a panoramic camera tau measurement and miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground stares, the rover also did the following:

Sol 1157 (April 26, 2007): Opportunity took the panoramic camera right-eye side of a long baseline stereo imaging of Cape St. Vincent, stowed its robotic arm and drove 38 meters (125 feet) toward Granada. The rover then unstowed its arm, took post-drive navigation and panoramic camera images and conducted an overnight data relay with Mars Odyssey.

Sol 1158: On this sol, the rover's navigation camera looked for clouds and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and the panoramic camera studied the foreground.

Sol 1159: Opportunity used its panoramic camera to take thumbnail images of the sky and its panoramic camera to survey the horizon. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a 7-point sky and ground survey.

Sol 1160: On this sol, the rover used its panoramic camera to image the target Granada. Opportunity then stowed its arm and drove 15 meters (49 feet) around Granada for a D-star checkout. The rover then unstowed its arm and conducted post-drive imaging of the path it took to get there.

Sol 1161: On this sol, the rover used its panoramic camera to complete a foreground survey. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer had a look at the sky and then the target "Malaga." The panoramic camera imaged Granada and then the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer conducted an integration for the ongoing atmospheric Argon study.

Sol 1162: Opportunity's panoramic camera took a color mosaic of the Granada D-star drive. The rover then stowed its arm and drove 74 meters (243 feet) toward the Cape of Good Hope. Opportunity then unstowed its arm and used both its navigation and panoramic cameras to do more imaging. There was also an overnight data relay with Mars Odyssey.

Sol 1163: On this sol, Opportunity used its navigation camera to image its own tracks. The rover then stowed its arm and drove 97 meters (318 feet) towards the Cape of Good Hope. After the drive, the rover tool images with its navigation and panoramic cameras. The navigation camera also looked for clouds.

As of sol 1163, Opportunity's total odometry is 10,736.12 (6.67 miles).

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Mars Rover Spirit Finds Evidence Of Ancient Volcanic Explosion
Ithaca NY (SPX) May 04, 2007
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has discovered evidence of an ancient volcanic explosion at "Home Plate," a plateau of layered bedrock approximately 2 meters (6 feet) high within the "Inner Basin" of Columbia Hills, at the rover's landing site in Gusev Crater. This is the first explosive volcanic deposit identified with a high degree of confidence by Spirit or its twin, Opportunity.

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