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Opportunity Making Progress Toward Solander Point
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jul 12, 2013

File image.

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).


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