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M I S S I O N     M A N A G E R S   
Scott Lever, Mission manager Mike Seibert, Mission manager Al Herrera, Mission manager
Scott Lever Mike Seibert Al Herrera
P R E V I O U S    M I S S I O N    M A N A G E R S
Matt Keuneke, Mission Manager Cindy Oda, Mission Manager Rich Morris, Mission Manager Bill Nelson, Mission manager
Matt Keuneke Cindy Oda Richard Morris Bill Nelson
Byron Jones, Mission Manager Mark Adler, Mission Manager Leo Bister, Mission manager Beth Dewell, Mission Manager
Byron Jones Mark Adler Leo Bister Beth Dewell
Emily Eelkema, Mission Manager Jeff Favretto, Mission Manager Soina Ghandchi, Mission Manager Andy Mishkin, Mission Manager
Emily Eelkema Jeff Favretto Saina Ghandchi Andy Mishkin
Art Thompson, Mission Manager Rick Welch, Mission Manager Colette Lohr, Mission Manager Dan Gaines, Mission Manager
Art Thompson Rick Welch Colette Lohr Dan Gaines

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sols 3963-3969, March 18, 2015-March 24, 2015: Flash Reformatted and Marathon Completed

The Opportunity mission is now the first human enterprise to exceed marathon distance of travel on another world.

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater near 'Marathon Valley', a putative location for abundant clay minerals. The rover is approaching a feature called 'Spirit of St. Louis Crater' at the entrance to Marathon Valley.

On Sol 3964 (March 19, 2015), the flash-memory file system was reformatted using new flight software. The reformat was successful. The rover is again using flash for nonvolatile data storage. On Sol 3966 (March 21, 2015), Opportunity began approaching the Spirit of St. Louis Crater with a 177-foot (54-meter) drive, avoiding some obstacles along the way. The drive was preceded with some targeted Pancam imagery and followed by a Navcam panorama, which is typical practice when driving.

On Sol 3968 (overnight March 23 to March 24), Opportunity made history. The rover the rover drove 154 feet (46.9 meters) in a dog leg around the crater. With that drive, Opportunity exceeded the distance for a marathon (26.219 miles or 42.195 kilometers). On Sol 3959 (March 24), the rover continued to advance with a 28-foot (8.5-meter) approach to a light-toned rock outcrop.

As of Sol 3969, the solar array energy production was 610 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.678 and a solar array dust factor of 0.717.

Total odometry as of Sol 3969 (March 24, 2015) is 26.241 mile (42.230 kilometers).




sols 3957-3962, March 12, 2015-March 17, 2015: Approaching 'The Spirit of St. Louis' Crater

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater near 'Marathon Valley,' a putative location for abundant clay minerals. Opportunity in less than 328 feet (100 meters) away from the feature called 'The Spirit of St. Louis' at the entrance to Marathon Valley.

The rover completed the near-term science campaign this past week. On Sol 3957 (March 12, 2015), Opportunity bumped only a few centimeters to position a surface target within reach of the robotic arm instruments. Sol 3959 (March 14, 2015), began two days of in situ (contact) investigation of the rock target named 'Sgt. Nathaniel Pryor.' On each sol, the robotic arm used the Microscopic Imager (MI) to collect an image mosaic, then placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) to collect a multi-hour measurement of the elemental composition of the target. With the in-situ work complete, Opportunity drove 98 feet (30 meters) west to line up for the approach to the Spirit of St. Louis crater. The project is preparing to mask off the troubled Bank 7 sector of the Flash file system with a new version of the flight software on Sol 3964 (March 19, 2015).

As of Sol 3962 (March 17, 2015), the solar array energy production was 607 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.759 and a solar array dust factor of 0.740.

Total odometry is 26.17 miles (42.12 kilometers).




sols 3949-3956, March 4, 2015-March 11, 2015: Sampling Mars Rocks

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater near "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now only about 394 feet (120 meters) away.

The project is preparing to mask off the troubled Bank 7 sector of the Flash file system with a new version of the flight software (FSW) after the project completes the near-term science campaign.

The rover has sampled an unusual rock composition in the rim region near Marathon Valley. The near-term plan is to sample more rocks exhibiting the purple and bluish coloring that is apparent at this site.

On Sol 3950 (March 5, 2015), we began robotic arm work with a Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) brush and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurement of “blue rock” target “Sgt. Charles Floyd.” Due to Ultra High Frequency antenna data volume constraints we postponed doing a full Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic on the target until Sol 3952 (March 7, 2015). Depending on the results of the APXS measurement, the team was considering a follow-up grind on Sol 3955 (March 10, 2015). However as the subsequent analysis showed that Sgt. Charles Floyd appeared similar to another rock that we encountered out on the plains, and since it seemed to be very hard and would cause excessive wear on the RAT grind bit, we decided to move on to a “purple rock” target instead. On Sol 3955 (March 10, 2015), we bumped to target “Sgt. Nathaniel Pryor.” While the bump was successful, wheel straightening knocked the Instrument Deployment Device slightly out of alignment with the target and required us to do a small tank turn, which has been implemented in the Sol 3957 (March 12, 2015), plan.

As of Sol 3956 (March 11, 2015), the solar array energy production was 577 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.658 and a solar array dust factor of 0.725.

Total odometry is 26.15 miles (42.09 kilometers).




sols 3944-3948, February 27, 2015-March 3, 2015: Taking a Closer Look at Purple-Bluish Rock Formation

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater near "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now only about 394 feet (120 meters) away.

The project is preparing to mask off the troubled Bank 7 sector of the Flash file system with a new version of the flight software (FSW) after the project completes the near-term science campaign.

The rover has sampled an unusual rock composition in the rim region near Marathon Valley. The near-term plan is to sample more rocks exhibiting the purple and bluish coloring that is apparent at this site. On Sol 3945 (Feb. 28, 2015), Opportunity drove over 98 feet (30 meters) to the south to approach more of the purple and blue rock types. Supporting Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panoramas were also collected. On Sol 3848 (March 3, 2015), the rover bumped forward just under 13 feet (4 meters) to reach these rocks and place candidate targets within reach of the robotic arm instruments.

The plan ahead is to brush the surface targets with the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) and collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for a multi-hour integration.

As of Sol 3948 (March 3, 2015), the solar array energy production was 545 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.708 and a solar array dust factor of 0.687.

Total odometry is 26.15 miles (42.09 kilometers).




sols 3937-3943, February 19, 2015-February 26, 2015: New Flight Software to Fix Memory Issues is Onboard Rover

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater near "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now only about 492 feet (150 meters) away.

The project is preparing to mask off the troubled Bank 7 sector of the Flash file system with a new version of the flight software (FSW). The preparations for the FSW load and build were to begin with the 3-sol plan on Sol 3938 (Feb. 20, 2015). However, bad weather and a complex power outage in Canberra, Australia prevented the plans from being sent. The rover was allowed to safely execute its onboard runout plan for the weekend.

On Sol 3941 (Feb. 23, 2015), preparations were restarted for the FSW build. Remote sensing observations of Marathon Valley were also performed. On Sol 3942 (Feb. 24, 2015), the FSW patch was uploaded and the new FSW was successfully built and saved onboard. On the next sol, Opportunity successfully booted onto the new version of FSW and is running without error. Further remote observations of Marathon Valley with the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and the collection of an atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer were also commanded. The plan ahead is to allow a few days to confirm all aspects of the new FSW before performing the reformat of the Flash file system with the new software.

As of Sol 3943 (Feb. 26, 2015), the solar array energy production was 559 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.734 and a solar array dust factor of 0.674.

Total odometry is 26.13 miles (42.05 kilometers).




sols 3928-3936, February 10, 2015-February 18, 2015: Solar Panels Get a Small Energy Boost

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now only about 492 feet (150 meters) away.

The project is preparing to mask off the troubled Bank 7 sector of the Flash file system with a new version of the flight software to be uploaded shortly. On Sols 3928 and 3929 (Feb. 10 and 11, 2015), Opportunity performed some targeted color Panoramic Camera (Pancam) observations. On Sol 3930 (Feb. 12, 2015), the rover drove about 66 feet (20 meters) to get a view into Marathon Valley. This was followed by a post-drive Navigation Camera (Navcam) panorama. Opportunity drove again on Sol 3932 (Feb. 14, 2015), bumping near a potential surface target. An atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was made. On the following two sols a 360-degree Navcam panorama was collected.

A small dust cleaning events occurred on Sol 3934 (Feb. 16, 2015) improving energy production by about 12 percent. On Sol 3935 (Feb. 17, 2015), the robotic arm was used to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target "Jean Baptiste Charboneau" followed by an APXS placement on the same for a multi-hour integration. Opportunity drove again on Sol 3936 (Feb. 18, 2015), with a 9.8-meter drive to get a better view into the interior of Marathon Valley.

As of Sol 3936 (Feb. 18, 2015), the solar array energy production was 559 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.816 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.695.

Total odometry is 26.13 miles (42.05 kilometers).




sols 3922-3927, February 4, 2015-February 9, 2015: Latest Drive Puts Rover Within Marathon-Distance Record

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now only about 656 feet (200 meters) away.

The project is operating the rover without using the Flash storage system to avoid resets associated with a corrupted portion of Flash. The project is preparing to mask off the troubled sector of Flash and resume using the remainder of the Flash file system.

On Sol 3923 (Feb. 5, 2015), Opportunity drove 72 feet (21.7 meters) south, following the drive with post-drive Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam) drive-direction panoramas. On the following sol, the rover completed the Navcam 360-degree panorama with more imagery.

On Sol 3925 (Feb. 7, 2015), Opportunity performed the first sol of a two-sol "touch 'n go" using the robotic arm (the "touch") to collect Microscopic Imager frames and then place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on a surface target for a multi-hour integration. On the next sol (the "go"), the rover drove over 102 feet (31 meters) and then collected more drive direction imagery. With this drive Opportunity exceeded (26 miles) 42 kilometers of driving distance on Mars.

As of Sol 3927 (Feb. 9, 2015), the solar array energy production was 479 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.824 and a solar array dust factor of 0.606.

Total odometry is 26.11 miles (42 kilometers).




sols 3915-3921, January 28, 2015-February 3, 2015: Rover Continues Driving While Team Works on Rover Memory Issues

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now only about 656 feet (200 meters) away.

The project is operating the rover without using the Flash storage system to avoid resets associated with a corrupted portion of Flash. The project is preparing to mask off the troubled sector of Flash and resume using the remainder of the Flash file system.

Opportunity drove on Sols 3916, 3918 and 3921 (Jan. 29, Jan. 31 and Feb. 3, 2015), totaling about 282 feet (86 meters). The operations strategy has been to perform pre-drive targeted imaging, then drive on the first sol of a multi-sol plan, collecting post-drive Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam) imagery in the forward direction for data return that evening. Then, on the next sol, complete the 360-degree Navcam panorama with images in the rearward direction.

As of Sol 3921 (Feb. 3, 2015), the solar array energy production was 484 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.949 and a solar array dust factor of 0.632.

Total odometry is 26.08 miles (41.97 kilometers).




sols 3909-3914, January 22, 2015-January 27, 2015: Several Drives This Week Put Opportunity Near Marathon Distance

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now about 984 feet (300 meters) away.

The project is operating the rover without using the Flash storage system to avoid reset problems and is using instead random access memory (RAM) for temporary storage of telemetry. The project is preparing to mask off the troubled sector of Flash and resume using the remainder of the Flash file system in normal operations.

Opportunity drove on Sols 3909, 3911 and 3914 (Jan. 22, Jan. 24 and Jan. 27, 2015), totaling almost 279 feet (85 meters). On the evening of Sol 3912 (Jan. 25, 2015), an atmospheric argon measurement was collected with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer. Targeted color imagery is being collected as the rover makes progress towards the "Spirit of St. Louis" crater and Marathon Valley.

As of Sol 3914 (Jan. 27, 2015), the estimated solar array energy production was 534 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.891 and an inferred solar array dust factor of 0.636.

Total odometry is 26.02 miles (41.88 kilometers).




sols 3902-3908, January 14, 2015-January 21, 2015: Team Has Plan to Fix Flash Memory Issue

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now less than 1,312 feet (400 meters) to the south.

The Flash memory degradation causes multiple resets of the rover on each wake-up. To mitigate this, the project is operating the rover without using the non-volatile Flash storage system, and using instead the volatile random access memory (RAM) for temporary storage of telemetry. Recently, the project was able to configure the rover to use this mode at every wakeup without the need to set this mode each time with a ground command.

Meanwhile, the project is preparing to mask off the troubled sector of Flash and resume using the remainder of the Flash file system in normal operations. The plan to implement the masking was reviewed last week by an independent panel and the project was given the go ahead.

Opportunity drove on Sols 3902, 3905 and 3908 (Jan. 14, Jan. 16 and Jan. 21, 2015), totaling over 574 feet (175 meters).

As of Sol 3908 (Jan. 21, 2015), the solar array energy production was 440 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.037 and a solar array dust factor of 0.596 (from Sol 3906/Jan. 18, 2015).

Total odometry is 25.97 miles (41.80 kilometers).




sols 3895-3901, January 7, 2015-January 13, 2015: Team Working on Strategy to Fix Flash Memory Issue

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now less than 1,969 feet (600 meters) to the south.

The Flash memory degradation is causing multiple resets of the rover on each wake-up. To mitigate this, the project is operating the rover without using the non-volatile Flash storage system, and using instead the volatile random access memory (RAM) for temporary storage of telemetry. This requires real-time commanding the rover on the first day (sol) of each plan.

Meanwhile, the project has developed the strategy to mask off the troubled sector of Flash and resume using the remainder of the Flash file system in normal operations. The project plans to implement the masking after an independent review is held later this week.

Using RAM storage, Opportunity drove on Sol 3895 (Jan. 7, 2015), to do a small turn in place. Since arriving on the summit of "Cape Tribulation" on Sol 3894 (Jan. 6, 2015), Opportunity has been collecting a full color, 360-degree Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panorama.

As of Sol 3901 (Jan. 13, 2015), the solar array energy production was 395 watt-hours, an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.056 and a solar array dust factor of 0.606.

Total odometry is 25.86 miles (41.62 kilometers).




sols 3875-3894, December 18, 2014 - January 6, 2015: Rover Reaches the Summit of 'Cape Tribulation' After Several Drives this Week

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now only about 1,969 feet (600 meters) to the south.

The Flash memory continues to degrade causing multiple resets of the rover on each wake-up. To mitigate this, the project is operating the rover without using the non-volatile Flash storage system, and instead relies on the volatile random access memory (RAM) for temporary storage of telemetry. This requires real-time commanding the rover on the first sol of each plan. Meanwhile, the project is developing a strategy to mask off the troubled sector of Flash and resume using the remainder of the Flash file system in normal operations.

Using RAM storage, Opportunity drove on Sols 3875, 3881, 3893 and 3894 (Dec. 18, 24, 2014 and Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2015), totaling over 656 feet (200 meters). With the drive on Sol 3894 (Jan. 6, 2015), Opportunity is now on the summit of "Cape Tribulation," the highest point so far on the western rim of Endeavour Crater. This point is 443 feet (135 meters) above the plain of "Botany Bay" before the rover started climbing the rim.

As of Sol 3894 (Jan. 6, 2015), the solar array energy production was 438 watt-hours, an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.041 and a solar array dust factor of 0.631.

Total odometry is 25.86 miles (41.62 kilometers).


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