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Opportunity Rides Into History For Offworld Drive
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) May 21, 2013

File image.

Opportunity has set a new off-world driving record for a U.S. spacecraft having surpassed the record previously held by Apollo 17 in the Sol 3309 (May 15, 2013) drive.

Prior to that, Opportunity finished off analysis of the 'Esperance' rock target with a full overnight Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) integration of the rock abrasion tool (RAT) hole on Sol 3305 (May 11, 2013).

Early analysis seems to confirm that this is a clay that had been intensely altered by relatively neutral pH water - representing the most favorable conditions for biology that Opportunity has yet seen in the rock histories it has encountered.

A local dust storm had cause us some concern as we saw the atmospheric opacity (tau) increase to the neighborhood of 1.5 for several sols, but the storm seems to have dissipated and is no longer constraining activities to any great degree.

Solar array energy on Sol 3309 (May 15, 2013), was 431 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) measurement of 1.21, and a dust factor of 0.576. All systems are nominal.

Total odometry is 22.22 miles (35.76 kilometers).


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