by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) May 25, 2012
The rover drove on Sols 2949, 2951, 2953 and 2955 (May 10, 12, 14 and 17, 2012), totaling just over 46 feet (13.9 meters). The rover is positioning to reach a pristine patch of dust on the surface. The plan ahead is to use the robotic arm instruments to investigate the patch of dust. Dust covers much of Mars and this patch is an opportunity to perhaps determine the origin of the dust from its chemical signature.
As of Sol 2954 (May 16, 2012), solar array energy production was 359 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.423 and a solar array dust factor of 0.532.
Total odometry is 21.36 miles (34,380.58 meters).
Dark Shadows on Mars: Scene from Durable NASA Rover
The resulting view catches a shadow of the rover in the foreground and the giant basin in the distance. Opportunity is perched on the western rim of Endeavour Crater looking eastward. The crater spans about 14 miles (22 kilometers) in diameter.
Opportunity has been studying the edge of Endeavour Crater since arriving there in August 2011.
The scene is presented in false color to emphasize differences in materials such as dark dunes on the crater floor. This gives portions of the image an aqua tint.
Opportunity took most of the component images on March 9, 2012, while the solar-powered rover was spending several weeks at one location to preserve energy during the Martian winter.
It has since resumed driving and is currently investigating a patch of windblown Martian dust near its winter haven.
Opportunity and its rover twin, Spirit, completed their three-month prime missions on Mars in April 2004. Both rovers continued for years of bonus, extended missions.
Both have made important discoveries about wet environments on ancient Mars that may have been favorable for supporting microbial life.
Spirit stopped communicating in 2010. Since landing in the Meridiani region of Mars in January 2004, Opportunity has driven 21.4 miles (34.4 kilometers).
Mars Rovers at JPL
Mars Rovers at Cornell
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
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Dark Shadows on Mars
Pasadena CA (SPX) May 24, 2012
Like a tourist waiting for just the right lighting to snap a favorite shot during a stay at the Grand Canyon, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has used a low sun angle for a memorable view of a large Martian crater. The resulting view catches a shadow of the rover in the foreground and the giant basin in the distance. Opportunity is perched on the western rim of Endeavour Crater l ... read more
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