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Opportunity Hits The Road Again

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by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Mar 03, 2011
Opportunity is completing the exploration of Santa Maria crater before resuming the trek towards Endeavour crater.

One objective is to position the rover further counter-clockwise around the southeast region of Santa Maria to collect more wide-baseline stereo imaging of the crater interior.

On Sols 2512 and 2513 (Feb. 16 and Feb. 17, 2011), a rock abrasion tool (RAT) grind was performed on the surface target Luis de Torres. The rover collected a series of microscopic imager (MI) mosaics of the 3-millimeter (0.12 inch) deep grind hole before placing the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) on the target on Sol 2515 (Feb. 19, 2011).

With the in-situ investigation at Luis de Torres now complete, Opportunity began driving around the crater, first with a 7.4 meter (24 foot) move to the northeast on Sol 2518 (Feb. 22, 2011). Then, on Sol 2519 (Feb. 23, 2011), the rover approached the new imaging waypoint and more surface targets with a 15.3 meter (50 foot) drive.

The plan ahead is to complete the approach to the final targets and imaging waypoint. Then, perform the investigations there, and resume the path towards Endeavour crater, some 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) away.

As of Sol 2519 (Feb. 23, 2011), solar array energy production was 420 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.00 and a solar array dust factor of 0.624.

Total odometry is 26,681.38 meters (26.68 kilometers, or 16.58 miles).








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Opportunity emerged from the solar conjunction in good order. Solar conjunction is the period when communications between Earth and Mars are disrupted because the Sun is directly in between the two planets. Telemetry has been returned from the two-week solar conjunction period. With the known exception of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES), all systems are healthy. Exte ... read more

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