Opportunity Mission 2009 and onward

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EarthlingX

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freya":1hpci4w1 said:
When ever I see 'Blueberries' I immeadiately think - 'warm shallow sea'. When Mars was once the beholder of planet wide oceans, subjected to milder tidal velocities than the pre historic Earth, I see these Blueberries accumulating as a natural product of the O2 depletion of the Mars atmosphere :arrow: hematite precipitation in shallow waters. Surely a super computer running the right programme can throw out the result in a matter of hours, we may be talking about a billion years or so, of when a juvenile Mars, was much warmer and weter than today. I work in a mineral lab, wish I had 1 gram of Mars material to run through our instruments!!! Just 1 gram would answer a lot of questions, and of course create dozens more.
Gary
Is there a hero ?
 
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MeteorWayne

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From SDC:

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/o ... 00325.html


"NASA's Mars rover Opportunity has found a Martian rock covered in weird material as its odometer hit a major milestone this week, with the long-lived robot completing equivalent to a half–marathon on the red planet.

Opportunity, now in its seventh year on Mars, found the odd Mars rock during the past six weeks studying investigating a crater called "Concepción." The crater is about 33 feet (10 meters) in diameter, with dark rays extending from it, as seen from orbit, which made it a target of interest for rover inspection because they suggest the crater is young...

But these rocks have some unusual twists as well.

"It was clear from the images that Opportunity took on the approach to Concepción that there was strange stuff on lots of the rocks near the crater," said Steve Squyres of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., principal investigator for Opportunity and its twin rover, Spirit. "There's dark, grayish material coating faces of the rocks and filling fractures in them. At least part of it is composed of blueberries jammed together as close as you could pack them. We've never seen anything like this before."

Opportunity used tools on its robotic arm to examine this unusual material on a rock called "Chocolate Hills." In some places, the layer of closely packed spheres lies between thinner, smoother layers.

"It looks like a blueberry sandwich," said Matt Golombek, a rover science-team member at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif."
 
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3488

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MER B Opportunity drove past Twin Craters. They are approx 15 metres wide, but very shallow, approx 1 metre with a separation of apprx 1.5 metres.

Sol 2,198.


Own Shadow. Sol 2,198.


Sol 2,196. Curious dark rock.




Sol 2,193.


It seems to me as if this was the result of a simultaneous impact.

NASA/JPL.

Andrew Brown.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Without scale bars, it's very hard to tell which are the craters. And you can clearly see this is a very wind sculpted environment, so that makes it even harder to make asssumptions. I'll check out the link.
 
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3488

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Endeavour Crater highlights on the horizon. On far right can be seen the rim of the more distant Lazu Crater.


My pathetic attempt at bringing out Lazu Crater.


Sharpened, enlarged crop of the visible west rim of Endeavour Crater. Looks like an interesting range of hills on the rim.


Mars Odyssey imaged 140 KM wide area including the MER B Opportunity area using THEMIS.

Cropped, sharpened enlargement of 21 KM wide Endeavour Crater & 7 KM wide Lazu Crater from Mars Odyssey. Lazu Crater appears to have a very fluid like ejecta blanket.

Endeavour Crater appears breached in the Northwest, with either solidified sediments or Martian dust covering the floor. Really hopes Oppy makes it.

Mind you I am interested in those hills on the western rim, that Oppy has already seen from afar. Could be interesting exposed ejecta, liberated from deep down.


NASA/JPL.

Andrew Brown.
 
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Fomalhautian

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What are the chances that Opportunity will investigate this rock?
 
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EarthlingX

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I have no clue about the rock investigation, but you made a very nice enlargement :)
 
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centsworth_II

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Fomalhautian":1ezf4w2z said:
What are the chances that Opportunity will investigate this rock?
Opportunity passed that rock by a month ago. Apparently continuing the long trip to Endeavour crater was considered more important. There may have been safety issues as well with the rock being on the inside of a sandy rim.
 
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3488

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centsworth_II":32m8r60s said:
Fomalhautian":32m8r60s said:
What are the chances that Opportunity will investigate this rock?
Opportunity passed that rock by a month ago. Apparently continuing the long trip to Endeavour crater was considered more important. There may have been safety issues as well with the rock being on the inside of a sandy rim.

Hi Fomalhautian, it's great to see you again. :)

Yes centsworth_II is correct.

Oppy drove past there approx a month ago & is now quite some distance away. The priority now is for Oppy to really push for Endeavour Crater. Looking at recent pictures, the panels are getting dusty, not too bad right now, but are becoming increasingly dusty.

Below a colour shot on Sol 2,229.

Link to Planetary Photojournal of above.

Latest MER B Opportunity images. Sol 2,232.






NASA/JPL.

Andrew Brown.
 
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abq_farside

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Oppy definitely needs a nice dusting. Hopefully a nice strong dust devil comes along soon.
 
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MeteorWayne

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- sols 2233-2239, May 06-12, 2010:


With the winter solstice at hand, Opportunity has been constrained by power and drove only once in the last week.

The project is doing something new, driving Opportunity to solar energy "lily pads," places with a modest northerly tilt. On Sol 2234 (May 7, 2010), Opportunity drove about 15 meters (49 feet) and positioned herself with a slight northerly tilt on a small ripple. A drive is planned for Sol 2240 (May 13, 2010), to repeat the technique. Opportunity has been staying awake longer, warming her electronics, to avoid relying on power-hungry survival heaters. This means less energy goes into the batteries for recharging and reducing the amount of driving. Solar energy conditions should start to improve as the winter solstice passes.

As of Sol 2239 (May 12, 2010), solar array energy production was 249 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.314 and the solar panel dust factor was 0.470.

Total odometry is 20,672.90 meters (20.67 kilometers, or 12.85 miles).
 
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MeteorWayne

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NASA's Mars Rovers Set Longevity Record On The Red Planet;
Satellite Interviews With Expert Available

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project will pass a historic Martian longevity record on Thursday, May 20. The Opportunity rover will surpass the duration record set by NASA's Viking 1 Lander of six years and 116 days operating on the surface of Mars. The effects of favorable weather on the red planet could also help the rovers generate more power.

NASA will offer live satellite interviews with Mars Exploration Project Manager John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Interviews are available from 9:30 to 11:20 a.m. EDT on Thursday. To participate, reporters should contact Mark Petrovich at 818-393-4359 or Elena Mejia at 818-393-5467 by 8 p.m. EDT on Wednesday.

Opportunity's twin rover, Spirit, began working on Mars three weeks before Opportunity. However, Spirit has been out of communication since March 22. If it awakens from hibernation and resumes communication, that rover will attain the Martian surface longevity record. Spirit's hibernation was anticipated, based on energy forecasts, as the amount of sunshine hitting the robot's solar panels declined during autumn on Mars' southern hemisphere. Unfortunately, mobility problems prevented rover operators from positioning Spirit with a favorable tilt toward the north, as during the first three winters it experienced.

The rovers' fourth winter solstice, the day of the Martian year with the least sunshine at their locations, was Wednesday, May 12. Opportunity, and likely Spirit, surpassing the Viking Lander 1 longevity record is truly remarkable, considering these rovers were designed for only a 90-day mission on the surface of Mars," Callas said. "Passing the solstice means we're over the hump for the cold, dark, winter season."

Unless dust interferes, which is unlikely in the coming months, the solar panels on both rovers should gradually generate more electricity. Operators hope that Spirit will recharge its batteries enough to awaken from hibernation, start communicating and resume science tasks.

Unlike recent operations, Opportunity will not have to rest to regain energy between driving days. The gradual increase in available sunshine will eventually improve the rate of Opportunity's progress across a vast plain toward its long-term destination, the Endeavour Crater.


http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/ma ... ecord.html

Thursday's interviews will be conducted on the NASA TV Live Interactive Media Outlet Channel and carried live on the NASA TV Public Channel. For NASA TV coordinates and downlink information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv


JPL manages the Mars rovers for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. For more information about the rovers, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/rovers
 
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3488

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MER B Opportunity may stop at Santa Maria Crater on the way to Endurance Crater. Santa Maria Crater is approx 5 KM from Oppy's current position, so it'll be interesting to see if Oppy makes it. Current situation with MER B Opportunity does seem to suggest yes, she will.

Santa Maria Crater is approx 150 metres wide.


Andrew Brown.
 
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EarthlingX

Guest
These parallel lines at the bottom are image artefacts ? Centre of the crater looks different than in similar craters around there too.
Anyone knows which was the original HiRise image from which this detail was taken ? I tried, but no luck.

 
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MeteorWayne

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Hes, that looks like typical along-track artifacts. The whole image looks highly processed as well; kind of a moire pattern is noticeable as well.

If anybody knows where it came from, I'd bet my bob or two on Andrew :)
 
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EarthlingX

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www.marsdaily.com : Opportunity Breaks The 13 Mile Mark
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jun 21, 2010
Opportunity is driving again and has now covered 21 kilometers (13 miles) of odometry on Mars.

The pancam mast assembly (PMA) azimuth error from Sol 2257 (May 30, 2010), has been attributed to a problem within the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) instrument.

An investigation of the Mini-TES is ongoing. The PMA has been restored to operation for imaging (not Mini-TES use).

On Sol 2267 (June 10, 2010), a quick fine attitude (QFA) was performed to refine the rover's attitude knowledge and to correct for gyro drift. Additional drive direction imagery was also collected.

On Sol 2270 (June 13, 2010), Opportunity drove for the first time since the PMA anomaly, covering over 70 meters (230 feet). The rover drove again on Sol 2272 (June 15, 2010), achieving almost 72 meters (236 feet) of distance to the east.

As of Sol 2272 (June 15, 2010), solar array energy production was 297 watt-hours, atmospheric opacity (Tau) was 0.280 and the solar array dust factor is 0.570.

Total odometry is 21,005.47 meters (21.00 kilometers, or 13.05 miles).
 
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3488

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Thanks EarthlingX.

Great update.

Now it is quite apparent that real progress is being made. Two views below from Sol 2,279. I assume that is the rim of Endeavour Crater. Some quite large hills on the horizon. :mrgreen:



If Oppy is managing 70 odd metre drives per Sol, which appears to be the case recently, it will not take too long for her to reach Santa Maria Crater, perhaps by the end of August, or September at the latest!!!!!!!!

NASA/JPL.

Andrew Brown.
 
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3488

Guest
JonClarke":2dzoxkcl said:
But how long to Endeavour at this rate? :)
Perhaps by Christmas if does not stop for long @ Santa Maria Crater??? :shock:

These from 61 sols ago.

Sol 2,220 Panorama.


Sol 2,220 Polar Projection.


Sol 2,220 Projected view from above.


Some of the most recent Sol 2,281 views.


NASA/JPL.

Andrew Brown.
 
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EarthlingX

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http://www.jpl.nasa.gov : NASA Mars Rover Seeing Destination in More Detail

Since the summer of 2008, when NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity finished two years of studying Victoria Crater, the rover's long-term destination has been the much larger Endeavour Crater to the southeast.

June 29, 2010

Mars rover team members have begun informally naming features around the rim of Endeavour Crater, as they develop plans to investigate that destination when NASA's Opportunity rover arrives there after many more months of driving.

A new, super-resolution view of a portion of Endeavour's rim reveals details that were not discernible in earlier images from the rover. Several high points along the rim can be correlated with points discernible from orbit.

Super-resolution is an imaging technique combining information from multiple pictures of the same target to generate an image with a higher resolution than any of the individual images.

Endeavour has been the team's long-term destination for Opportunity since the summer of 2008, when the rover finished two years of studying Victoria Crater. By the spring of 2010, Opportunity had covered more than a third of the charted, 19-kilometer (12-mile) route from Victoria to Endeavour and reached an area with a gradual, southward slope offering a view of Endeavour's elevated rim.

After the rover team chose Endeavour as a long-term destination, the goal became even more alluring when observations with the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars, on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, found clay minerals exposed at Endeavour. Clay minerals, which form under wet conditions, have been found extensively on Mars from orbit, but have not been examined on the surface. Additional observations with that spectrometer are helping the rover team choose which part of Endeavour's rim to visit first with Opportunity.

The team is using the theme of names of places visited by British Royal Navy Capt. James Cook in his 1769-1771 Pacific voyage in command of H.M.S. Endeavour for informal names of sites at Endeavour Crater. Points visible in the super-resolution view from May 12 include "Cape Tribulation" and "Cape Dromedary."
 
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3488

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That is quite an image EarthlingX :)

Some nice Sol 2,286 mugshots from Oppy.







NASA/JPL.

Andrew Brown.
 
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3488

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MER B Opportunity, some nice Sol 2,288 views. Looks like she covered quite some distance during the past two sols, difficult to see how far exactly, but clearly covered a useful distance.







NASA/JPL.

Andrew Brown.
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Keeps on Driving to Endeavour Crater - sols 2329-2335, August 12-18, 2010:


Opportunity again drove five times in the past week, adding more to the total rover odometry as she makes her way to Endeavour crater.

The rover drove on Sols 2329, 2330, 2333, 2334 and 2335 (Aug. 12, 13, 16, 17 and 18), totaling over 330 meters (1,083 feet). The rover has been driving with long (about 70 meter, or 230 foot) commanded drives followed by short drive segments of autonomous navigation (AutoNav) to extend the drive distance each sol.

A diagnostic test was conducted on the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) instrument on Sol 2332 (Aug. 15, 2010). The instrument exhibited the same anomalous behavior as back on Sol 2257 (May 30, 2010). The project and instrument team are continuing to investigate.

As of Sol 2334 (Aug. 17, 2010), solar array energy production was 581 watt-hours with atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.484 and the solar array dust factor of 0.749.

Total odometry is 22,640.31 meters (22.64 kilometers, or 14.07 miles).
 
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EarthlingX

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www.jpl.nasa.gov : Opportunity Rover Reaches Halfway Point of Long Trek
September 08, 2010


NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity used its navigation camera to record this view at the end of a 111-meter (364-foot) drive on the 2,353rd Martian day, or sol, of the rover's mission on Mars (Sept. 6, 2010).

When NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity left Victoria Crater two years ago this month, the rover science team chose Endeavour Crater as the rover's next long-term destination. With a drive of 111 meters (364 feet) on Monday, Sept. 8, Opportunity reached the estimated halfway point of the approximately 19-kilometer (11.8-mile) journey from Victoria to the western rim of Endeavour.
 
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