by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jan 14, 2016
Opportunity is inside 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover is positioned on steep, north-facing slopes for improved solar array energy production.
The winter solstice occurred on Sol 4246 (Jan. 3, 2016), although solar insolation already started to improve. The near-term objective is to position the rover to be able to grind a high-value surface target with the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT). This target may hold some of the clues as to the origin of the clay spectral signature detected in Marathon Valley.
On Sol 4229 (Dec. 16, 2015), Opportunity bumped about 14 inches (35 centimeters) to set up for an extended in-situ (contact) science campaign through the holiday season. Over the holiday period, Opportunity proceeded to use the robotic arm to collect Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaics of the surface targets as well as place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for surface elemental analysis. Winter power levels and late Odyssey passes made planning difficult with some sols being used as recharge days.
On Sol 4234 (Dec. 22, 2015), Opportunity was able to use the RAT to brush the surface target 'Pvt. John Potts.' This was followed with more MI mosaics and APXS measurements. On Sol 4244 (Jan. 1, 2016), the RAT was used again, this time to grind (1 millimeter) into the surface target. More MI mosaics and APXS elemental analysis of the ground target followed.
As of Sol 4246 (Jan. 3, 2016), the solar array energy production was 449 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.414 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.658.
Total odometry is 26.50 miles (42.65 kilometers), more than a marathon.
Mars Rovers at NASA
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|