by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Aug 01, 2017
Opportunity is in Perseverance Valley on the west rim of Endeavour Crater and the mission is now in its solar conjunction communications blackout period. The position of Mars as viewed from Earth will remain very close to the sun until early August. In this geometry, the solar corona degrades radio communications between the two planets and restricts spacecraft communication.
In advance of solar conjunction, we prepared two weeks of command sequences and stored them on Opportunity to keep the rover busy during the communication blackout. Although we are now in a moratorium on sending commands, we did receive a tiny amount of relayed Opportunity data on Sol 4797.
Those limited data indicated that Opportunity is in automode, a state where no master sequence is running and the rover keeps itself safe while waiting further communication from ground control. We suspect that a warm reset of the rover's computer occurred during the Sol 4795 morning X-band communication session, halting the stored master sequence of commands.
The vehicle is power positive, thermally stable and will continue to honor the scheduled X-band and UHF relay communication passes through the remainder of solar conjunction.
As the rover is expected to remain safe and solar corona effects will all but prevent any confident commanding until after conjunction, the project's position is to let the rover remain in automode for the remainder of conjunction. Full investigation of the cause will have to wait until we can resume commanding of the rover.
As of Sol 4793 (July 18, 2017), the solar array energy production was 332 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.774 and a solar array dust factor of 0.534.
Total odometry remains at 27.95 miles (44.97 kilometers).
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jul 14, 2017
Opportunity is in "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover has arrived at the location within the valley where she will spend the approximately three-week solar conjunction period. Solar conjunction is when the Sun comes between Earth and Mars, which occurs about once every 26 months. During this time, there will be diminished communications to Opportunity. ... read more
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