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Opportunity performs several drives to ancient gully
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Dec 19, 2016

File image.

Opportunity is making progress towards the next science objective of the extended mission. The rover is headed toward an ancient water-carved gully about a kilometer south of the rover's current location on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The recent plans have emphasized driving. On Sol 4577 (Dec. 8, 2016), Opportunity intended a 59-feet (18-meter) drive to the southwest. However, the rover only achieved just over 39 feet (12 meters).

The rover was using visual odometry (VO) to monitor her progress. After the 12-meters of progress VO failed to resolve surface features sufficiently to establish progress and stopped the drive. This is not uncommon when the local terrain around the rover may have few features or shadows of the rover confuse the algorithm.

On Sol 4580 (Dec. 11, 2016), the rover made further progress to the southwest covering over 49 feet (15 meters). Because the rover is driving on slopes tilted away from the Sun, power has been constrained and drives limited in distance.

Some sols following the drives have been 'recharge' sols, sols with limited rover activity. Another drive on Sol 4582 (Dec. 13, 2016), added another 56 feet (17 meters) again towards the southwest.

And as always, extensive Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images have been collected following each drive.

As of Sol 4582 (Dec. 13, 2016), the solar array energy production is 411 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.836 and a solar array dust factor of 0.675.

Total odometry is 27.12 miles (43.65 kilometers).

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Previous Report
Opportunity team plot path forward to the 'Gully'
Pasadena CA (JPL) Dec 07, 2016
Opportunity is heading towards the next science waypoint on the rim of Endeavour Crater. Early in this period, Sols 4556 and 4559 (Nov. 16, 2016 and Nov. 19, 2016) she did quite a bit of exploratory driving in an effort to attain a good vantage point for finding a path through a troubling area of boulder patch and steep slopes ahead. The concern was whether the available routes to av ... read more

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