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Opportunity Waiting For Dust To Settle

Opportunity is experiencing low power levels due to dust storm activity on Mars.
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jul 17, 2007
Due to extensive dust storms in Mars' southern hemisphere causing record atmospheric opacity levels, Opportunity is currently experiencing its lowest power levels to date. The tau measurement as of sol 1225 is 4.12, resulting in a mere 280 watt-hours of array energy. A tau measurement of 5.0 would result in approximately 150 watt-hours. If tau begins to approach 5.0, the team will have to begin deleting communications windows in order to conserve energy and keep from draining the batteries.

On sol 1223 Opportunity successfully recovered from the robotic arm joint stall that occurred on sol 1217.

When the dust settles, Opportunity will drive approximately 30 meters (98.4 feet) south along the edge of "Duck Bay" to position itself at its "Victoria Crater" entry point!

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to Opportunity's daily communications activities, the rover conducts: morning direct-from-Earth uplink over high-gain antenna, evening downlink relay with Mars Odyssey over UHF...

Sol 1220: The rover conducted atmospheric dust monitoring observations with the panoramic camera and then conserved power.

Sol 1221: The rover conducted atmospheric dust monitoring observations with the panoramic camera and then conserved power.

Sol 1222: The rover conducted atmospheric dust monitoring observations with the panoramic camera and then conserved power.

Sol 1223: On this sol, Opportunity used its microscopic imager, then retracted its robotic arm. This action was confirmed with the rover's navigation camera. The rover then closed the microscopic imager dust cover and confirmed this step with the navigation camera. Diagnostic testing on the arm stall was conducted.

Sol 1224: The rover conducted atmospheric dust monitoring observations with the panoramic camera and then conserved power.

Sol 1225: The rover conducted atmospheric dust monitoring observations with the panoramic camera and then conserved power.

Opportunity's total odometry is 11,424.67 meters (7.1 miles) as of sol 1225.

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Hunt For Life On Mars Goes Underground In New NASA Mission
Washington (AFP) Jul 17, 2007
The hunt for evidence of life on Mars will go underground next year when a NASA probe digs beneath the surface of the red planet's arctic northern plains, US scientists revealed Monday. In a departure from previous missions -- which have seen robotic vehicles explore the planet's hills and craters -- NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander will instead dig into Martian soil for conditions favorable to past or present life.









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