Opportunity Mission 2009 and onward

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MeteorWayne

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Until, when and if the lost pinned Opportnity thread resurfaces, thought I'd start one for the Time Being (and he told me he appreciates it)

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Getting New Software - sol 1803-1810, February 18-25, 2009:


Opportunity has been exhibiting elevated motor current in the right-front wheel's drive actuator. To investigate this, the team put the rover through a set of diagnostic maneuvers. On Sol 1803 (Feb. 18, 2009), Opportunity performed a series of arcs on differing terrain, then turned around and drove backward, traveling about 55 meters (180 feet) in all. The right-front wheel current remained elevated, although that was expected. On Sol 1806 (Feb. 21, 2009), the rover drove backward about 61 meters (200 feet). The near-term plan is to drive backward to facilitate reflow of lubricants within the right-front actuator gear box.

On Sol 1809 (Feb. 24, 2009), the team began the process of building and booting a new version of the rover flight software, version R9.3. This will be a multi-sol process. Driving will be precluded until the rover's boot up onto R9.3.

As of Sol 1809 (Feb. 24, 2009), Opportunity's solar-array energy production has dipped slightly to 508 watt-hours, enough to light a 100-watt bulb for just over 5 hours. Atmospheric opacity (tau) has increased to 0.640. The dust factor on the solar array is 0.563, meaning that 56.3 percent of the sunlight hitting the solar array penetrates the layer of accumulated dust on the array. The rover is in good health as it gets ready for new software. Opportunity's total odometry is 14,737.41 meters (9.16 miles).
 
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MeteorWayne

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Emily Lakdawalla's Planetary Society Blog today is also concerned with the rovers. As usual, it's a great read with great images.
 
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dragon04

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So when do we "pull the plug"? Never?

It would appear that JPL will run the rovers until they break down. Where's Reciprocity Failure on new science return versus continued cash investment?

Will there be an extra STS Mission inserted to repair them? /humor off

But seriously..
 
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MeteorWayne

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I'd imagine the little guys got a bit of a lifeline with the delay of MSL to 2011.
I don't know when the current mission extension runs out; that's a good question.
 
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MeteorWayne

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OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Cleaning Event Boosts Energy - sols 1844-1851, April 01-08, 2009:


Opportunity completed a contact science campaign on an exposed rock outcrop and then resumed driving.

On Sol 1845 (April 2, 2009), the rover's robotic arm (IDD) placed the Mössbauer (MB) spectrometer on the outcrop target "Penrhyn" for a multi-sol integration. On Sol 1850 (April 7, 2009), a temporary stand-down on driving was provisionally lifted and Opportunity resumed driving. The MB was retracted and the arm moved into the driving stow position. Opportunity then drove backward about 62.5 meters (205 feet). Diving backward was a continuation of mitigation techniques used in recent weeks in response to elevated current observed in the right-front wheel. The mitigation also has included resting the drive actuator for several sols, which coincided with the just-completed contact science campaign. The drive went well and the right-front actuator exhibited currents near normal levels, good news.

Opportunity also benefited from a solar array cleaning event which boosted energy levels by about 40 percent, a big increase. Now if only Spirit could get such a cleaning.

As of Sol 1850 (April 7, 2009), Opportunity's solar array energy production has increased to 515 watt-hours. Atmospheric opacity (tau) remains elevated at around 0.95. The dust factor has improved to 0.642, meaning that 64.2 percent of sunlight hitting the solar array penetrates the layer of accumulated dust on the array. The rover is in good health with a rested actuator and extra energy.

As of Sol 1851 (April 8, 2009) Opportunity's total odometry is 15,113.97 meters (9.39 miles).
 
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3488

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Thanks Wayne,

Great news about the cleaning event.

Hopefully one will also happen with Spirit, which at the moment is a far more pressing case for getting the arrays cleaned off.

Sol 1,864, a sea of dust dunes surrounds Opportunity.






Andrew Brown.
 
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3488

Guest
Sol 1,855.

Nice outcrop of layered rock in Merdiani Planum.


Small Crater in the dunes.


Tracks in the dunes.




Andrew Brown.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Wow!
Those layered rocks are amazing.

And the one with the tracks parallel to the dune line looks like the New Jersey shore in the early morning when they run the vehicles through to be sure all the trash from the previous day is cleaned up and the beach is all pretty.
 
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JonClarke

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I love the ripples. There is something primally aesthetic about the seemingly endless array, motionless, but in motion, endlessly repeating, but each one different, the constantly shifting patterns of light and shadow. They are deeplyly evocative of the wind haunted lonliness of the martian surface. I don't study dunes, but I like looking at them.
 
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3488

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MeteorWayne":573m6s9i said:
Wow!
Those layered rocks are amazing.

And the one with the tracks parallel to the dune line looks like the New Jersey shore in the early morning when they run the vehicles through to be sure all the trash from the previous day is cleaned up and the beach is all pretty.
Good analogy Wayne. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

That busted layered outcrop is amazing. Wonder if Oppy will look at them with the MI? Would be worth a short pit stop.

Andrew Brown.
 
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3488

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JonClarke":1m0hqsx8 said:
I love the ripples. There is something primally aesthetic about the seemingly endless array, motionless, but in motion, endlessly repeating, but each one different, the constantly shifting patterns of light and shadow. They are deeplyly evocative of the wind haunted lonliness of the martian surface. I don't study dunes, but I like looking at them.
I totally agree Jon.

Those images of the dunes marching off to the horizon are mesmerizing. IMO Spirit is showing a far more diverse, interesting & dramatic landscape in Gusev Crater, where as here in Meridiani generally there's little change outside of the craters, but could be the floor of an ancient sea or lakes & that sweeping sky with those dunes is very captivating indeed.

Andrew Brown.
 
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bearack

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For some reason to me, these images are the most power I've seen so far. It makes Mars seem so mistyc in some way.

It also looks like bedrock in the exposed areas, almost.
 
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Mee_n_Mac

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3488":1b4s71gf said:
JonClarke":1b4s71gf said:
I love the ripples. There is something primally aesthetic about the seemingly endless array, motionless, but in motion, endlessly repeating, but each one different, the constantly shifting patterns of light and shadow. They are deeplyly evocative of the wind haunted lonliness of the martian surface. I don't study dunes, but I like looking at them.
I totally agree Jon.

Those images of the dunes marching off to the horizon are mesmerizing. IMO Spirit is showing a far more diverse, interesting & dramatic landscape in Gusev Crater, where as here in Meridiani generally there's little change outside of the craters, but could be the floor of an ancient sea or lakes & that sweeping sky with those dunes is very captivating indeed.

Andrew Brown.
I agree as well ! Some of those would be right at home hanging on the wall of a fancy art gallery. Especially those with the tracks. The dunes evoke that sense of endless emptyness and then the tracks put you right there. I wish wish any pictures I'd captured were as good. :( :cool:
 
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centsworth_II

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3488":1fpuca25 said:
...here in Meridiani generally there's little change outside of the craters, but could be the floor of an ancient sea or lakes...
Of course even if there was standing water in Meridiani at some time, the present ripples were not its floor. They are wind-formed. Gusev may also have had a body of water, but if so, remains of its floor lie deep beneath a layer of broken up volcanic regolith.
 
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scottb50

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centsworth_II":bvit9ade said:
3488":bvit9ade said:
...here in Meridiani generally there's little change outside of the craters, but could be the floor of an ancient sea or lakes...
Of course even if there was standing water in Meridiani at some time, the present ripples were not its floor. They are wind-formed. Gusev may also have had a body of water, but if so, remains of its floor lie deep beneath a layer of broken up volcanic regolith.
Just looking at it it seems the fractured rock is a solid floor and the sand moves back and forth across the surface. Scrape off the ripples and it would be identical to the areas exposed. The fine sand could be earlier sediment endlessly shifting around on the surface or airborne deposits built up over eons.

From the crater layering and the similarity of the solid smoothness of the fractured rock layers water seems to be a better explanation then volcanic deposits to me. More interesting is why the fairly regular deposit cycles seem to have abruptly stopped. Or have they stopped or are we just seeing them at an early point. Without dating of the layers, which would take returned samples, or better, on site testing.
 
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centsworth_II

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scottb50":3t5d2bry said:
...water seems to be a better explanation then volcanic deposits to me.
Don't forget about wind. The walls of Endurance and Victoria craters show that the top ten meters of the Meridiani layers are wind-deposited. The layers seen in Eagle crater indicative of water deposition have proven to be the exception rather than the rule.
 
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JonClarke

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centsworth_II":3567napk said:
scottb50":3567napk said:
...water seems to be a better explanation then volcanic deposits to me.
Don't forget about wind. The walls of Endurance and Victoria craters show that the top ten meters of the Meridiani layers are wind-deposited. The layers seen in Eagle crater indicative of water deposition have proven to be the exception rather than the rule.
I would not put it that way. Even if reworked, the wind blown sediments are still derived from lacustrine deposits. But in anothr way, the lakes were the factories that made the sediments that were then reworked.
 
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centsworth_II

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JonClarke":2utd7g3i said:
centsworth_II":2utd7g3i said:
Don't forget about wind. The walls of Endurance and Victoria craters show that the top ten meters of the Meridiani layers are wind-deposited....
I would not put it that way....
I don't understand. How does the origin of the deposited material change the fact that the layers of Meridiani that have been seen in cross section are almost all wind deposited?
 
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JonClarke

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centsworth_II":b93ikfts said:
JonClarke":b93ikfts said:
centsworth_II":b93ikfts said:
Don't forget about wind. The walls of Endurance and Victoria craters show that the top ten meters of the Meridiani layers are wind-deposited....
I would not put it that way....
I don't understand. How does the origin of the deposited material change the fact that the layers of Meridiani that have been seen in cross section are almost all wind deposited?
There is quite a concerted camapign by some (not you) who want to downplay the role of water in martian surface processes to minimise the evidence for liquid water at places like Meridiani. But it's not either-or.

You can think of salt lakes as factories making salts, when they dry out, the salts are redeposited as peripheral dunes. But they don't get transported too far because the salts are physically very soft and weak, and are therefor broken down rapidly to silt and finer particles that don't form dunes.. Groundwater discharge complexes are called boikas, which includes both the salt lake and the lake derived dune sediments. The volume of the dunes may even exceed the volume of the lake sediment. But their composition and origin links the dunes to the lakes and they form part of the evaporite complex. An example of the type of complex mosiac of lake and aeolian facies than can be found in boinkas is shown by Lake Dundas http://maps.google.com.au/maps?ie=UTF8& ... 6&t=h&z=12

At Meridiani I have only seen a 7 m published stratigraphic section from Endurance. Of this the top 1 m was fully subaequeous, 3 m was episoidcally wet , and only 3 m was of dunes. These dunes would have been derivedly from coeval salt lakes a short distance away but not exposed. Note too that the water table was rising thoruhg the sequence, as shown by the the wetest sedimnets at the top, and diagenetic alteration throughout, including recrystallisation fronts.

There certainly were some spectacular dune-like cross bedding at Victoria, and quite thick too. But these will require spatially and chronologically equyivalent salt lakes to generate them. Note too there were also some excellent water laid sediments with very nice current ripples seen on the way there as well. So we are still in the salt lake-evaporite dune complex.

Saying that just because the immediate depositional environment of some of the sediments were aeolian means that there was no aqueous activity nearby ignores the fact that the sand grains crystallised in a salt lake. It's like looking at a sand dune composed of basalt sand and saying that there was no volcanism because the deposits are aeolian.

Jon
 
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scottb50

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Saying that just because the immediate depositional environment of some of the sediments were aeolian means that there was no aqueous activity nearby ignores the fact that the sand grains crystallised in a salt lake. It's like looking at a sand dune composed of basalt sand and sayinf that there was no volcanism becausde the deposits are aeolian.

Jon[/quote]

That was my observation, the surface being traversed is a relatively thin layer of wind borne sand that has probably traveled back and forth for millenniums over a clearly much harder surface. When exposed, in the craters there are layers that clearly show different conditions in their formation, basically more compacted layers that suggest water, or other liquid interaction and layers that are clearly sandstone, or pressure compacted layers.

If you look at the walls of the Grand Canyon you see similar deposits, with the same combined layering. Pretty much everywhere there is a rather smooth, fractured rock layer exposed between dunes that suggests liquid interaction, as the liquid dries out the sediment contracts and fractures, wind borne sand fills the cracks as it blows over the surface.

Other features could easily be volcanic similar to the mountains around Phoenix or Shiprock in Western New Mexico and may other similar formations, the volcanism pushes up the existing surface and subsides and erosion exposes the harder core, when they were formed little if any of the existing surface reached the surface.
 
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centsworth_II

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scottb50":3wh03nk8 said:
...Pretty much everywhere there is a rather smooth, fractured rock layer exposed between dunes that suggests liquid interaction, as the liquid dries out the sediment contracts and fractures, wind borne sand fills the cracks as it blows over the surface.
The most likely explanation for the cracks is pure thermal expansion and contraction, not drying.

scottb50":3wh03nk8 said:
Other features could easily be volcanic...
I am pretty sure that absolutely no evidence of volcanic activity has been seen by Opportunity.
 
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scottb50

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centsworth_II":3pcooaqp said:
scottb50":3pcooaqp said:
...Pretty much everywhere there is a rather smooth, fractured rock layer exposed between dunes that suggests liquid interaction, as the liquid dries out the sediment contracts and fractures, wind borne sand fills the cracks as it blows over the surface.
The most likely explanation for the cracks is pure thermal expansion and contraction, not drying.

scottb50":3pcooaqp said:
Other features could easily be volcanic...
I am pretty sure that absolutely no evidence of volcanic activity has been seen by Opportunity.
I was more thinking of the area Spirit is in. The hills and rock clearly different then the surrounding area.
 
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