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Pasadena CA (JPL) May 13, 2013
Opportunity is feverishly working to complete analysis of 'Esperance,' believed to be a phyllosilicate-rich target, before departing for her winter haven at 'Solander Point' to the south.
On Sol 3296 (May 2, 2013), she attempted the smallest turn in her history (~0.5 degrees) to get a better position for the rock abrasion tool (RAT). The turn was successful and use of the RAT commenced on Sol 3301(May 7, 2013).
Complicating the satisfactory completion of the rock Esperance analysis was the growth of a regional dust storm nearby, which drove the atmospheric opacity or tau to 1.53 (also on Sol 3301).
The tau on Sol 3302 (May 8, 2013), slightly decreased to 1.45, but a close watch is being kept in case conditions worsen.
If atmospheric opacity stabilizes or continues to decrease, we hope to complete instrument deployment device (IDD) work and begin driving away by Sol 3309 (May 15, 2013).
Solar array energy on Sol 3302 (May 8, 2013), was 385 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) measurement of 1.45, and a dust factor of 0.584. All systems are nominal.
Total odometry is 22.15 miles (35.65 kilometers).
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