Opportunity Updates

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Over Six Months Without Word From Opportunity

sols 5292 to 5299, Dec. 13, 2018 - Dec. 20, 2018

Mars atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site remains at a storm-free range around 1.0.

No signal from Opportunity has been heard since Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018). Opportunity likely experienced a low-power fault, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault. Since the loss of signal, the team has been listening for the rover over a broad range of times, frequencies and polarizations using the Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver.

They have been commanding "sweep and beeps" throughout each daily DSN pass with both right-hand and left-hand circular polarization to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within mission clock fault on the rover. The team has expanded the breath of sweep and beep commanding covering more times of day on Mars.

Mars is now in the seasonal period of past dust clearing events for the rover. Since loss of signal, 456 recovery commands have been radiated to the rover.

Total odometry is unchanged at 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Opportunity Team Performs More Frequent Communication Attempts Throughout Each Day

sols 5285 to 5291, Dec. 5, 2018 - Dec. 12, 2018

Mars atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site remains at a storm-free range around 1.0.

No signal from Opportunity has been heard since Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018). Opportunity likely experienced a low-power fault, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault. Since the loss of signal, the team has been listening for the rover over a broad range of times, frequencies and polarizations using the Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver.

They have been commanding "sweep and beeps" throughout the daily DSN pass with both right-hand and left-hand circular polarization to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within mission clock fault on the rover. The team has expanded the breath of sweep and beeps commanding, covering more times a day on Mars.

Mars is now in the seasonal period of past dust clearing events for the rover. Since loss of signal, 436 recovery commands have been radiated to the rover.

Total odometry is unchanged at 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Hundreds Of Recovery Commands Have Been Attempted On Opportunity

sols 5278 to 5284, Nov. 28, 2018 - Dec. 4, 2018

Mars atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site remains at a storm-free range around 1.0.

No signal from Opportunity has been heard since the sudden onset of a global dust storm on Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018). Opportunity likely experienced a low-power fault, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault. The team has been listening for the rover over a broad range of times, frequencies and polarizations using the Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver.

They have been commanding "sweep and beeps" throughout the daily DSN pass with both right-hand and left-hand circular polarization to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within mission clock fault. Since loss of signal, 404 recovery commands have been radiated.

Total odometry is unchanged at 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Over Five Months Without Word From Opportunity

sols 5265 to 5277, Nov. 15, 2018 - Nov. 27, 2018

Mars atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site remains at a storm-free level of 0.8.

Since loss of signal on Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018), 359 recovery commands have been radiated including on both polarizations. No signal from Opportunity has been heard. Opportunity likely experienced a low-power fault, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault. The project has been listening for the rover over a broad range of times, frequencies and polarizations using the Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver.

They have been commanding "sweep and beeps" throughout the daily DSN pass with both right-hand and left-hand circular polarization to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within mission clock fault.

Total odometry is unchanged at 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Recovery Efforts Continue In Attempt To Communicate With Opportunity

sols 5258 to 5264, Nov. 8, 2018 - Nov. 14

The global dust storm on Mars has ended and atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site has dropped to a storm-free level of 0.8.

Since loss of signal on Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018), 267 recovery commands have been radiated. No signal from Opportunity has been heard. Opportunity likely experienced a low-power fault, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault. The team has been listening for the rover over a broad range of times, frequencies and polarizations using the Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver.

They have been commanding "sweep and beeps" throughout the daily DSN pass with both right-hand and left-hand circular polarization to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within mission clock fault.

Total odometry is unchanged at 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Atmospheric Opacity Over Opportunity Drops To Storm-Free Levels

sols 5250 to 5257, Oct. 30, 2018 - Nov. 7, 2018

The global dust storm on Mars has ended and atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site has dropped to a storm-free level of 0.8.

Since loss of signal on Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018), 253 recovery commands have been radiated. No signal from Opportunity has been heard. Opportunity likely experienced a low-power fault, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault.

The team has been listening for the rover over a broad range of times, frequencies and polarizations using the Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver. They have been commanding "sweep and beeps" throughout the daily DSN pass with both right-hand and left-hand circular polarization, to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within the mission clock fault.

Total odometry is unchanged at 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Five Months Since We Received A Signal From Opportunity

sols 5245 to 5249, Oct. 25, 2018 - Oct. 29, 2018

The global dust storm on Mars has ended and atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site hovers around a typical seasonal value between 1.0 and 1.2.

No signal from Opportunity has been heard since Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018). Opportunity likely experienced a low-power fault, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault. The team has been listening for the rover over a broad range of times and frequencies using the Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver.

They have been commanding "sweep and beeps" throughout the daily DSN pass with both right-hand, and now left-hand circular polarization to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within mission clock fault.

Total odometry is unchanged at 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Still No Signal From Opportunity

sols 5238 to 5244, Oct. 18, 2018 - Oct. 22, 2018

The dust storm on Mars has ended and atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site hovers around a typical seasonal value between 1.0 and 1.1.

No signal from Opportunity has been heard since Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018). Opportunity likely experienced a low-power fault, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault. The team has been listening for the rover over a broad range of times using the Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver since loss of signal. In addition, more recently they have been commanding "sweep and beeps" throughout the daily DSN pass to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within mission clock fault.

Total odometry is unchanged at 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Actively Listening for Opportunity

sols 5230 to 5237, Oct. 10, 2018 - Oct. 17, 2018

The dust storm on Mars has ended with atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site down to around typical values of 1.0 to 1.1.

No signal from Opportunity has been heard since Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018). Opportunity likely experienced a low-power fault, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault. The team has been listening for the rover over a broad range of times using the Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver since loss of signal.

In addition, more recently they have been commanding "sweep and beeps" throughout the daily DSN pass to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within mission clock fault.

Total odometry is unchanged at 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Efforts To Communicate With Opportunity Continue

sols 5224 to 5229, Oct. 4, 2018 - Oct. 9, 2018

The dust storm on Mars has effectively ended with atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site down to around 1.0 to 1.1, values are typical for storm-free conditions this time of year.

No signal from Opportunity has been heard since Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018). As stated previously, it is expected that Opportunity has experienced a low-power fault, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault. The science team has been listening for the rover over a broad range of times using the Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver since loss of signal.

The team has been commanding "sweep and beeps" throughout their daily DSN pass. They are addressing a possible complexity with certain conditions within the mission clock fault.

Total odometry is unchanged at 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

No Signal From Opportunity Since June

sols 5217 to 5223, Sept. 27, 2018 - Oct. 3, 2018

No signal from Opportunity has been heard since Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018).

It is expected that Opportunity has experienced a low-power fault, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault. The dust storm on Mars continues to abate with atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site around 1.1.

The project has been listening for the rover over a broad range of times using the Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver and commanding "sweep and beeps" throughout their daily DSN pass to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within the mission clock fault.

Total odometry is unchanged at 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Opportunity Remains Silent For Over Three Months

sols 5210 to 5216, Sept. 19, 2018 - Sept. 25, 2018

No signal from Opportunity has been heard in over 115 sols, since Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018).

It is expected that Opportunity has experienced a low-power fault. Perhaps, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault, as well. The dust storm on Mars continues to subside with atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site at around 1.3.

The science team has been listening for the rover over a broad range of times using the Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver. In addition, commanding "sweep and beeps" throughout our daily DSN pass to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within the mission clock fault.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

No Signal Has Been Heard From Opportunity for Nearly 100 Days

sols 5203 to 5209, Sept. 12, 2018 - Sept. 18, 2018

The Opportunity team is increasing the frequency of commands it beams to the rover via the dishes of NASA's Deep Space Network from three times a week to multiple times per day.

No signal from Opportunity has been heard since Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018). That's nearly 100 sols (days) without communication. It is expected that Opportunity has experienced a low-power fault, perhaps, a mission clock fault and an up-loss timer fault. The dust storm on Mars continues its decay with atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site below 1.5. The project has been listening for the rover over a broad range of times using the Deep Space Network Radio Science Receiver and commanding "sweep and beeps" to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within the mission clock fault.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Attempting Contact With Opportunity Multiple Times A Day

sols 5196 to 5202, Sept. 5, 2018 - Sept. 11, 2018

The Opportunity team is increasing the frequency of commands it beams to the rover via the dishes of NASA's Deep Space Network from three times a week to multiple times per day.

No signal from Opportunity has been heard since Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018). It is expected that Opportunity has experienced a low-power fault and perhaps, a mission clock fault and then an up-loss timer fault. The dust storm on Mars continues its decay with atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site now below 1.5. The project has been listening for the rover over a broader range of times using the Deep Space Network Radio Science Receiver.

The project has also begun the commanding "sweep and beeps" to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within the mission clock fault. The first "sweep and beeps" were sent on Sol 5202 (Sept. 11, 2018).

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

A New Listening Plan for Opportunity

sols 5190 to 5195, Aug. 30, 2018 - Sept. 4, 2018

No signal from Opportunity has been heard since Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018), though NASA has approved a strategy for listening for the rover through January of 2019.

It is expected that Opportunity has experienced a low-power fault and perhaps, a mission clock fault and then an up-loss timer fault. The science team continues to listen for the rover either during the expected fault communication windows or listening over a broader range of times using the Deep Space Network Radio Science Receiver.

The science team is also sending a command three times a week to elicit a beep if the rover happens to be awake, and will soon be expanding the commanding to include "sweep and beeps" to address a possible complexity with certain conditions within the mission clock fault. These will continue through January of 2019.

The dust storm on Mars continues its decay with atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site continuing to decrease. Once the tau has fallen below an estimated measurement of 1.5 twice - with one week apart between measurements - a period of 45 days will begin representing the best time for us to hear from the rover.

This also represents the best time to attempt active commanding during a specific mission clock fault condition. Back during the attempted recovery of the Spirit rover, a technical issue required the team to actively command the rover to communicate. Opportunity has no such issue; if we hear from it, it will likely be from listening passively as we have been, and as we will continue to do through January.

We will also actively attempt to command the rover to communicate during the 45-day listening period to cover the clock fault condition. After that, we will report to NASA on our efforts.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Team Continues to Listen for Opportunity

sols 5183 to 5189, Aug. 23, 2018 - Aug. 29, 2018

No signal from Opportunity has been heard since Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018). The dust storm on Mars continues its decay with atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site decreasing.

It is expected that Opportunity has experienced a low-power fault and perhaps, a mission clock fault and then, an up-loss timer fault. The project is continuing to listen for the rover either during the expected fault communication windows, or listening over a broader range of times using the Deep Space Network Radio Science Receiver.

The project is also sending a command three times a week to elicit a beep if the rover happens to be awake.

Total odometry is unchanged at 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

No Word From Opportunity Yet As Skies Begin To Clear

sols 5176 to 5182, Aug. 15, 2018 - Aug. 22, 2018

No signal from Opportunity has been heard. The dust storm on Mars continues to decay.

There has been no new storm activity within ~1,864 miles (3,000 kilometers) of the rover site. The atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover is decreasing. As reported previously, it is expected that Opportunity has experienced a low-power fault, and then perhaps, a mission clock fault.

Subsequent to the last contact with the rover on Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018), the up-loss timer has expired, adding another fault condition. The science team is continuing to listen for the rover either during the expected fault communication windows, or listening over a broader range of times using the Deep Space Network Radio Science Receiver.

The science team is also sending a command three times a week to elicit a beep if the rover happens to be awake.

Total odometry is unchanged at 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

The Science Team Continues to Listen for Opportunity as Storm Diminishes

sols 5168 to 5175, Aug. 7, 2018 - Aug. 14, 2018

The planet-encircling dust storm on Mars continues to decay, although in fits and starts. Atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover site was estimated down near 2.1, but then popped up to 2.5.

It is expected that Opportunity has experienced a low-power fault, and perhaps even a mission clock fault. Additionally, the up-loss timer has also since expired, adding another fault condition.

The science team is continuing to listen for the rover either during the expected fault communication windows, or listening over a broader range of times using the Deep Space Network Radio Science Receiver. The science team is also sending a command three times a week to elicit a beep if the rover happens to be awake.

The science team does not expect to hear anything from Opportunity until the atmospheric opacity over the rover site clears further.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

The Planet-Encircling Dust Storm Shows Signs of Slowing

sols 5162 to 5167, Aug. 1, 2018 - Aug. 6, 2018

The planet-encircling dust storm on Mars continues to show indications of decay.

Dust-lifting sites have decreased and surface features are starting to emerge. There are indications that the atmospheric opacity might be decreasing over the Opportunity site. Since the last contact with the rover on Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018), Opportunity has likely experienced a low-power fault and perhaps, a mission-clock fault. Additionally, the up-loss timer has also since expired, resulting in another fault condition.

The science team is continuing to listen every day for the rover, either during the expected fault communication windows, or listening over a broader range of times using the Deep Space Network Radio Science Receiver. The science team is also sending a command three times a week, to elicit a beep if the rover happens to be awake.

The science team does not expect to hear anything from Opportunity until there has been a significant reduction in the atmospheric opacity over the rover site.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Still No Change in Opportunity's Status

sols 5155 to 5161, July 25, 2018 - July 31, 2018

There is no news since the last status update.

As reported last week, the planet-encircling dust storm on Mars is showing indications of peaking and perhaps decaying. Dust lifting sites have decreased in extent and some surface features are starting to become visible. The storm has sustained high atmospheric opacity conditions over the Opportunity site, although there are some preliminary indications that the opacity might be decreasing there. Since the last contact with the rover on Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018), Opportunity has likely experienced a low-power fault and perhaps, a mission clock fault and now an up-loss fault.

The science team is continuing to listen every day for the rover either during the expected fault communication windows or listening over a broader range of times using the Deep Space Network Radio Science Receiver. For the near term, the project will continue to send a command three times a week to elicit a beep if the rover happens to be awake.

The science team does not expect to hear anything from Opportunity until there has been a significant reduction in the atmospheric opacity over the rover site.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Dust Storm May Have Peaked

Sols 5149 to 5154, July 19, 2018 - July 25, 2018

The planet-encircling dust storm on Mars is showing indications of peaking and perhaps decaying.

Dust lifting sites have decreased in extent and some surface features are starting to become visible. The storm has sustained high atmospheric opacity conditions over the Opportunity site, although there are some preliminary indications that the opacity might be decreasing there. Since the last contact with the rover on Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018), Opportunity has likely experienced a low-power fault and perhaps, a mission clock fault and now an up-loss fault.

The science team is continuing to listen every day for the rover either during the expected fault communication windows or listening over a broader range of times using the Deep Space Network Radio Science Receiver. For the near term, the science team will continue to send a command three times a week to elicit a beep if the rover happens to be awake.

It is not expected to hear anything from Opportunity until there has been a significant reduction in the atmospheric opacity over the rover site.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Opportunity Continues in a Deep Sleep Beneath Raging Dust Storm

sols 5142 to 5148, July 11, 2018 - July 18, 2018

The dust storm on Mars is continuing as a Planet-encircling Dust Event (PEDE).

The storm has sustained high atmospheric opacity conditions over the Opportunity site for several weeks. The last contact with the rover was on Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018). Since then, it is likely that Opportunity has experienced a low-power fault, putting herself to sleep only to wake when the skies eventually clear. If the atmospheric opacity or the solar array dust factor has gotten even worse since the last contact, Opportunity could also experience a mission clock fault.

The science team is listening every day for the rover either during the expected fault communication windows or listening over a broader range of times using the Deep Space Network Radio Science Receiver on both left- and right-hand circular polarizations. For the near term, the science team will continue to send a command, three times a week, to elicit a beep if the rover happens to be awake.

The team does not expect to hear anything from Opportunity until there has been a significant reduction in the atmospheric opacity over the rover site.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Opportunity's Science Team Remains Vigilant

sols 5128 to 5141, June 27, 2018 - July 10, 2018

The dust storm on Mars is continuing as a Planet-encircling Dust Event (PEDE) with no indication of receding at this time.

The storm has sustained high atmospheric opacity conditions over the Opportunity site for several weeks without any change. There is no indication at this time of the storm abating or clearing. Since the last contact with the rover on Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018), it is likely that Opportunity has experienced a low-power fault, putting herself to sleep only to wake when the skies eventually clear.

If the atmospheric opacity or the solar array dust factor has gotten worse since the last contact, Opportunity could also experience a mission clock fault. Furthermore, the rover uploss timer duration has expired. So, when the rover wakes it will also declare an uploss timer fault. It will be important for the science team to carefully unpack all these fault modes when they proceed with recovery efforts.

For now, the science team is listening every day for the rover during both the time of low-power and uploss fault communication windows and listening over a broader range of times under mission clock fault. The science team is using the services of the Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver (RSR) to listen even when they do not have a schedule track and the RSR is now listening on both left- and right-hand circular polarizations (LCP and RCP) when possible. Continuing for the near term, the science team is also sending a command to elicit a beep if the rover happens to be awake.

The team does not expect to hear anything from Opportunity until there has been a significant reduction in the storm and the associated atmospheric opacity over the rover site. However, they remain vigilant.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Science Team Listens for Opportunity Everyday While She Sleeps

sols 5121 to 5127, June 20, 2018 - June 26, 2018

The dust storm on Mars is continuing as a Planet-encircling Dust Event (PEDE) with no indication of receding at this time.

Again, since the last contact with the rover on Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018), it is likely that Opportunity has experienced a low-power fault, putting herself to sleep only to wake when the skies eventually clear. Also, if the atmospheric opacity or the solar array dust factor has gotten worse since the last contact, Opportunity could also experience a mission clock fault.

The project is listening every day for the rover during both the time of low-power fault communication windows and listening over a broader range of times under mission clock fault. Additionally, for the near term, the project is also sending a command to elicit a beep if the rover happens to be awake.

The team does not expect to hear anything from Opportunity until there has been a significant reduction in the storm and the associated atmospheric opacity over the rover site.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Opportunity Sleeps During a Planet-Encircling Dust Storm

sols 5112 to 5120, June 11, 2018 - June 19, 2018

The dust storm on Mars is now a Planet-encircling Dust Event (PEDE).

It shows no indication of receding at this time. Since the last contact with the rover on Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018), it is likely that Opportunity has experienced a low-power fault, putting herself to sleep only to wake when the skies eventually clear. If the atmospheric opacity or the solar array dust factor has gotten worse since the last telemetry, Opportunity could also experience a mission clock fault.

A clock fault will complicate the recovery, but not prevent it. An analysis of the rover's long-term temperature trends, conservatively assuming no solar array input, indicates that the rover's electronics and batteries will stay above their flight-allowable temperatures. There is a small concern with the health of the batteries if they discharge completely. The batteries might loose some of their capacity if the cell voltages drop to near zero.

The project is listening every day for the rover during both the time of low-power fault communication windows and listening over a broader range of times under mission clock fault. Additionally, for the near term, the project is also sending a command to elicit a beep if the rover happens to be awake. The Deep Space Network (DSN) Radio Science Receiver (RSR) team is using the RSR to listen in on any DSN pass pointed at Mars that corresponds to possible wake up times for the rover.

The plan is to continue this every day while waiting for the skies to clear. The team does not expect to hear anything from Opportunity until there has been a significant reduction in the storm and the associated atmospheric opacity over the rover site.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Opportunity Waits Out Growing Dust Storm

sols 5108 to 5111, June 7, 2018 - June 10, 2018

The dust storm that is affecting Opportunity has greatly intensified.

The atmospheric opacity (tau) over the rover has increased to a record 10.8 on Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018). Power levels on the rover have dropped to a record low of ~22 watt hours. As expected, Opportunity has tripped a low-power fault and gone silent. A 72-hour spacecraft emergency was declared on the afternoon of Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018), anticipating the low-power fault.

The project team is listening each day during the expected fault window time with the Deep Space Network (DSN). No signal has been detected since the last normal communication on Sol 5111 (June 10, 2018). It is expected that we will not hear from the rover until the storm subsides over the rover site.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Regional Dust Storm is Affecting Opportunity

sols 5101 to 5107, May 30, 2018 - June 6, 2018

Opportunity is halfway down in "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

A nearby, regional dust storm is affecting Opportunity. The first indication of a dust storm 621.37 miles (1000 kilometers) away from Opportunity was received on Friday evening, well after the three-sol plan to operate Opportunity through the weekend was developed. Subsequent weather reports from Mars by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and Mars Color Imager (MARCI) team indicated a persisting storm, but still well away from Opportunity but affecting the atmospheric opacity over the rover site.

In response, on Monday, June 4, 2018 and Tuesday, June 5, 2018 (Sols 5106 and 5107), two low-power plans were developed for Opportunity. Since then the atmosphere over the rover has continued to deteriorate. On Sol 5105 (June 3, 2018; the last sol of the weekend plan), Opportunity's solar arrays generated 468 watt-hours of energy with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of around 1.0.

On Sol 5106 (June 4, 2018), energy was down to 345 watt-hours with a tau of 2.1. Additionally, on Sol 5107 (June 6, 2018), the energy dropped further to 133 watt-hours. We were unable to get a measurement of tau on Sol 5107 (June 6, 2018), but it is estimated to be above 3.0. Opportunity has not seen this level of atmospheric opacity in over a decade.

In Sol 5108 (June 7, 2018) the rover team crafted a minimum-power two-sol plan, where the rover wakes on the first sol only to receive the morning commands then sleeps to the next sol with a brief wake-up in the morning. Subsequently, naps until the afternoon for a quick atmospheric measurement with the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) then a brief communication session with MRO and back to sleep.

The confirming beep on the receipt of the command load was received Thursday morning, but the next time to hear from the rover will be Friday morning. The rover team will likely continue this low-power strategy for Opportunity until conditions improve.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Science Team Continues to Improve Opportunity's Use of the Robotic Arm

sols 5094 to 5100, May 23, 2018 - May 29, 2018

Opportunity is halfway down in "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The science team is pursuing several hypotheses as to the origin of the valley. The rover is still positioned near some tabular rocks that are the subject of an in-situ (contact) investigation. Over several days (sols), the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) has been employed to collect extensive imagery of various targets with wide, multi-color panoramas and targeted 13-filter images.

On Sol 5094 (May 23, 2018), the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) collected measurements of rock chemistry from the current target set, referred to as "La Joya." On Sol 5097 (May 26, 2018), the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) on the end of the robotic arm (IDD) was used to brush the surface target "La Joya 1."

On the next sol, the IDD was to use the Microscopic Imager (MI) to collect a close-in mosaic of the brushed spot. However, the arm movement stopped prematurely because the rover's software thought the rover had moved. The software incorrectly estimated a 360-degree rotation of the rover, a meaningless change from -180 degrees of yaw to 180 degrees of yaw (the same position).

This is a known idiosyncrasy of the software that emerges whenever the rover is oriented with a yaw near 180 degrees (or, equivalently -180 degrees). The rover is otherwise healthy and the plan moving forward is to disable this motion check whenever the rover is near 180 and it is safe to do so.

As of Sol 5100 (May , 2018), the solar array energy production was 652 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.640 and a solar array dust factor of 0.772.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Ready to Study Rock Targets Up Close

sols 5087 to 5093, May 16, 2018 - May 22, 2018

Opportunity is halfway down in "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater, pursuing hypotheses as to the origin of the valley.

The rover is still positioned near some tabular rocks that are the subject of an in-situ (contact) investigation. On Sol 5087 (May 16, 2018), the robotic arm (IDD) performed a "salute" to move it out of the way of the cameras so the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) could take a 13-filter targeted image of the tabular rock target named, "La Joya."

More 13-filter Pancam imagery was collected on the next few days (sols). On Sol 5091 (May 20, 2018), the IDD was used to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target "La Joya 1" and then place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same for a multi-hour integration. More targeted 13-filter Pancam imagery was collected on the following day (sol).

On Sol 5093 (May 22, 2018), the arm performed a pre-load test on the surface in preparation for a future Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) brush and grind. The engineering team wanted to be sure the rover was stabled on the sloped terrain to safely conduct a RAT grind.

The test results showed the rover to be stable and able to perform any future surface contact activities. Also, a MI mosaic was collected of the surface and the APXS was positioned on an offset target, called "La Joya 2."

As of Sol 5093 (May 22, 2018), the solar array energy production was 664 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.562 and a solar array dust factor of 0.769.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Opportunity Collects Panoramas for Site Awareness and Future Drive Planning

sols 5080 to 5086, May 9, 2018 - May 15, 2018

Opportunity is still about halfway down in "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater, pursuing hypotheses as to the origin of the valley.

The rover is positioned next to some tabular rocks that are the subject of an in-situ (contact) investigation. On Sol 5081 (May 10, 2018), using the robotic arm (IDD), Opportunity moved the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) less than half an inch (about 1 centimeter) to collect an offset measurement relative to the previous sampling. While performing contact measurements, the rover is also collecting targeted, multi-spectral images of the rocks using the Panoramic Camera (Pancam).

On Sol 5083 (May 12, 2018), the rover bumped about 6.2 feet (1.9 meters) to new targets. As with all moves, a wide, multi-frame Navigation Camera (Navcam) panorama is collected for site awareness and future drive planning. However, the last drive ended with a very small rock under the right-front wheel.
This raises questions about rover stability when using the robotic arm. Thus, on Sol 5086 (May 15, 2018), the rover was commanded to rotate the right-front wheel backward about 45 degrees of rotation. That kicked out the pebble and now all rover wheels are firmly on the ground for robotic arm use.

As of Sol 5086 (May 15, 2018), the solar array energy production was 659 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.651 and a solar array dust factor of 0.795.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Opportunity Team Continues Studies on Origin of 'Perseverance Valley'

sols 5074 to 5079, May 3, 2018 - May 8, 2018

Opportunity is only halfway down in "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour crater, pursuing several scientific hypotheses as to the origin of the valley including both water and wind erosion.

The next objective is to investigate some tabular rocks up close that are of interest to the science team. On Sol 5074 (May 3, 2018), Opportunity backed up about 6.07 feet (1.85 meters) to set up for an approach to the tabular rock targets. On Sol 5076 (May 5, 2018), the rover moved forward just over 9.8 feet (3 meters) in an approach to those rocks.

At this new location, Opportunity collected both Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panoramas to establish the context. An atmospheric argon measurement was performed overnight by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS).

Sol 5079 (May 8, 2018) began the in-situ (contact) investigation of the tabular rock target called "Inde." The robotic arm (IDD) was used to first collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the target, then the APXS was placed on the same for a multi-hour integration to measure the elemental chemistry.

As of Sol 5079 (May 8, 2018), the solar array energy production was 667 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.619 and a solar array dust factor of 0.776.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.16 kilometers).

Opportunity Does Contact Science on Rock Targets

sols 5067 to 5073, April 25, 2018 -May 2, 2018

Opportunity is continuing the exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater, pursuing several scientific hypotheses as to the origin of the valley.

Previously, the rover was successful in climbing up to an interesting outcrop of vesicular and tabular rocks. These rocks have been the objective of the science team for several days (sols). Up until now, the investigation has all been with remote sensing. Now the rover gets to conduct in-situ (contact) investigation. On Sol 5069 (April 27, 2018), Opportunity maneuvered about 5.9 feet (1.8 meters), as a close approach to some reachable targets.

However, that drive did not quite reach an accessible rock surface, so, the rover did a five-degree turn in place on Sol 5070 (April 28, 2018). This allowed the robotic arm (IDD) to reach some of the rock surfaces. Then, on Sol 5072 (May 1, 2018), the IDD was used to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic consisting of a two-by-two set of image frames each with five stacks of images per frame, plus an offset stereo frame.

In addition, the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was placed for a multi-hour integration to determine the elemental composition. On Sol 5073 (May 2, 2018), the IDD offset the APXS by less than an inch (1 centimeter) for another multi-hour integration so the science team can analyze the spatial trends on various elements. With the rover right up to these rocks, the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) is collecting close-up, color stereo images to fill out the investigation.

As of Sol 5073 (May 2, 2018), the solar array energy production was 642 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.641 and a solar array dust factor of 0.787.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.15 kilometers).

Finding New Ways to Approach Science Targets

sols 5060 to 5066, April 18, 2018 - April 24, 2018

Opportunity is continuing the exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater, pursuing several scientific hypotheses as to the origin of the valley.

The rover is still positioned about halfway down the approximately 656-feet (200-meter) valley. Opportunity has been driving to position herself to explore some tabular and vesicular rocks that are upslope. On Sol 5060 (April 18, 2018), the rover backed downslope just over 3.3 feet (1 meter) to examine the terrain that was difficult to climb. Since it was difficult to make progress upslope from that position, the plan is for Opportunity to drive around and approach these interesting rocks from above.

On Sol 5063 (April 21, 2018), the rover moved cross-slope to set up for a drive directly upslope, but over a location the rover previously drove down, so the terrain is better characterized. On Sol 5065 (April 23, 2018), Opportunity made a 36.9-feet (11-meter) drive almost directly upslope arriving at the intended waypoint with acceptable slip during the drive.

On the next sol, the rover bumped just over 6.6 feet (2 meters) to approach the science targets. In addition to much targeted Panoramic Camera (Pancam) color imagery, post-drive Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas were collected after each drive and on Sols 5060 (April 18, 2018) and 5066 (April 24, 2018), atmospheric argon measurements were made with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS).

As of Sol 5066 (April 24, 2018), the solar array energy production was 727 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.569 and a solar array dust factor of 0.823.

Total odometry is 28.06 miles (45.15 kilometers).

Looking for a Path of Less Resistance

sols 5053 to 5059, April 11, 2018 - April 17, 2018

Opportunity is continuing the exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater, pursuing several scientific hypotheses as to the origin of the valley.

The rover is positioned about halfway down the approximately 656 feet (200-meter) valley near an apparent flow stream island. Opportunity is finishing up some in-situ (contact) investigations of local outcrops. However, tabular rocks a few feet upslope have become of great interest to the science team. On Sol 5053 (April 11, 2018), the rover completed the investigation of the target called, "Nazas" with a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic, followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for a multi-hour integration.

The next three sols, Opportunity performed targeted remote sensing with all 13 filters of the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) multispectral camera. With activities complete, the rover moved on Sol 5057 (April 15, 2018), backing up and turning just about 14.8 feet (4.5 meters) to set up the approach upslope to the tabular rocks. The usual post-drive Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas were collected along with some targeted 13-filter Pancam images.

On the next sol, Opportunity tried to go upslope to the tabular rocks. However, the terrain was difficult and the rover experienced high slip. Just under 9.8 feet (3 meters) of motion was achieved. More post-drive documentary imagery was collected. The assessment is that a different, less difficult route to the tabular rocks must be taken.

So, in future sols a more roundabout path to the rocks will be planned over multiple sols. Sol 5059 (April 17, 2018) was to be a remote sensing sol, but the Deep Space Network station's transmitter was flagged red (not operational) and our Sol 5059 (April 17, 2018) plan was never received. Opportunity instead exercised the onboard run-out sol. Nominal planning will resume with Sol 5060 (April 18, 2018).

As of Sol 5058 (April 16, 2018), the solar array energy production was 726 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.558 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.826.

Total odometry is 28.05 miles (45.14 kilometers).

The Rock Outcrop 'Tome' Continues to Garner Interest

sols 5046 to 5052, April 4, 2018 - April 10, 2018

Opportunity is continuing the exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned about halfway down the approximately 656 feet (200-meter) valley near an apparent flow stream island. A set of outcrops is garnering great interest and discussion among the science team. The rover is position on a surface target called "Tome." The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) is collecting elemental information about the target.

Meanwhile, the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) is being used to collect extensive targeted and panoramic images of surrounding targets. On Sol 5046 (April 4, 2018) the APXS continued to integrate, while a Pancam panorama was taken. On the next sol, the robotic arm was used to offset the APXS on the target for further elemental analysis.

On Sol 5049 (April 7, 2018), in order to better reach nearby targets, a small 2-degree turn-in-place was performed by the rover. More targeted and panoramic imagery was collected by the Pancam over the next several sols. An atmospheric argon measurement was performed by the APXS on Sol 5050 (April 8, 2018).

As of Sol 5052 (April 10, 2018), the solar array energy production was 694 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.525 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.818.

Total odometry is 28.04 miles (45.13 kilometers).

Opportunity Focuses on New Target, 'Tome'

sols 5039 to 5045, March 28, 2018 - April 3, 2018

Opportunity is continuing the exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned about halfway down the approximately 656 feet (200-meter) valley. On Sol 5040 (March 29, 2018), the rover finished up a multi-drive bump toward a new target of vesicular rock. Upon arrival, the team discovered that the rover had slipped below the intended target, which would now have required a large turn in place to reach.

This being difficult with the current wheel steering situation and because the intended target does not look ideal for being inspected by the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT), the team decided to go after a target of opportunity that was in the robotic arm (IDD) work volume at the end of the Sol 5040 (March 29, 2018) drive.

Robotic arm work commenced on Sol 5045 (April 3, 2018) and included an Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) placement and integration on target "Tome." The rover also collected Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images throughout and performed an overnight APXS integration on Sol 5043 (April 1, 2018). Opportunity covered 14.63 feet (4.46 meters) in one drive during this period.

As of Sol 5045 (April 3, 2018), the solar array energy production was 681 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.653 and a solar array dust factor of 0.836.

Total odometry is 28.04 miles (45.13 kilometers).

Opportunity Completes In-Situ Work on 'Aguas Calientes'

sols 5033 to 5038, March 19, 2018 - March 27, 2018

Opportunity is continuing the exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned about halfway down the approximately 656 feet (200-meter) valley. Opportunity is investigating the surface target called, "Aguas Calientes," an exposed rock outcrop. Although the target had been ground already, the science team wanted to grind "Aguas Calientes" another 2 millimeters deeper.

On Sol 5032 (March 20, 2018), the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) was placed back into the ground hole and ground further. During the grind the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) reported a questionable flag. However, the IMU was tested again on Sol 5035 (March 24, 2018) and was found to be healthy. After the deeper grind, the Microscopic Imager (MI) collected a mosaic of the grind and then the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was placed for a multi-sol integration.

The rover also collected a set of 13-filter Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images of selected targets. On Sol 5035 (March 24, 2018), the robotic arm offset the APXS for further integrations, along with the IMU test, and imaged the RAT bit for wear. No additional bit wear was seen after the grind. By Sol 5038 (March 27, 2018), the in-situ (contact) work on "Aguas Calientes" was finished and the rover bumped away about 7.5 feet (2.3 meters).

As of Sol 5038 (March 27, 2018), the solar array energy production was 670 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.524 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.830.

Total odometry is 28.04 miles (45.12 kilometers).

Extensive Study of Rock Target 'Aguas Calientes'

sols 5026 to 5032, March 14, 2018 - March 20, 2018

Opportunity is continuing the exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned about half way down the approximately 656 feet (200-meter) valley.

Opportunity is engaged in an extensive in-situ (contact) science campaign on the surface target called "Aguas Calientes," an exposed rock outcrop. After previously brushing the surface, on Sol 5026 (March 14, 2018), the rover used the robotic arm (IDD) to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the freshly brushed target and then placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the target for a multi-hour integration. A Navigation Camera (Navcam) panorama was also collected. Then, on Sol 5027 (March 15, 2018), the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) was used to grind into the target approximately 2 millimeters. This was followed by brushing to remove the grind tailings. On Sol 5028 (March 16, 2018), another MI mosaic was collected of the ground target and the APXS was placed for another multi-hour integration. Over the next three sols, both Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navcam imagery were collected while the APXS integrated on the ground surface target.

On Sol 5032 (March 20, 2018), "Aguas Calientes" was ground even deeper by the RAT, penetrating another 2 millimeters into the rock outcrop. Again, the target was brushed clean after the grind. The plan ahead is more imaging of the deeper grind and another APXS placement into the deeper hole.

As of Sol 5032 (March 20, 2018), the solar array energy production was 664 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.520 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.842.

Total odometry is 28.04 miles (45.12 kilometers).

Opportunity Brushes a New Rock Target

sols 5019 to 5025, March 7, 2018 - March 13, 2018

Opportunity is continuing the exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned about halfway down the approximately 656 feet (200 meter) valley. Opportunity is continuing the imaging survey at each rover location within the valley. In addition to both Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panoramas, targeted Pancam multi-spectral images are also being collected.

Sols 5020 and 5021 (March 8 and 9, 2018) saw Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) integrations on the target "Guanajuato" and there was an APXS Argon on Sol 5022 (March 10, 2018). On Sol 5023 (March 11, 2018) we drove away to our next target where we did a Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) brush on Sol 5025 (March 13, 2018) in anticipation of a grind on target "Aguas Calientes." A Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic was also taken.

As of Sol 5025 (March 13, 2018), the solar array energy production was 679 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.474 and a solar array dust factor of 0.861.

Total odometry is 28.04 miles (45.12 kilometers).

Opportunity is Halfway Down the Valley

sols 5012 to 5018, Feb. 28, 2018 - March 6, 2018

Opportunity is continuing the exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned about halfway down the approximately 656 feet (200 meter) valley. Opportunity is continuing the imaging survey at each rover location within the valley. In addition to both Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panoramas, targeted Pancam multi-spectral images are also being collected.

On Sol 5012 (Feb. 28, 2018), the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was used to measure the atmospheric argon. After two sols of targeted imaging, the rover bumped just over 13 feet (4 meters) to the edge of a commonly regarded streamline island within the valley. This was followed with two sols of Navcam imagery to form a 360-degree panorama and some more targeted Pancam images.

On Sol 5018 (March 6, 2018), the robotic arm (also called the Instrument Deployment Device, or IDD) was used to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of a surface target of interest. The APXS was then placed for a multi-hour integration on the same.

As of Sol 5018 (March 6, 2018), the solar array energy production was 682 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.507 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.873.

Total odometry is 28.04 miles (45.12 kilometers).

Rover Collects More 'Selfie' Frames

sols 5005 to 5011, Feb. 21, 2018 - Feb. 27, 2018

Opportunity is continuing the exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned about half way down the approximately 656 feet (200 meter) valley. The rover started the week well, but things grew to be challenging. On Sol 5005 (Feb. 21, 2018), Opportunity collected a Panoramic Camera (Pancam) color stereo panorama. Using the robotic arm (also called the Instrument Deployment Device, or IDD) on the next sol, the rover collected a few more "selfie" frames with the Microscopic Imager (MI) to fill out the "selfie" that was collected on Sol 5000 (Feb. 16, 2018).

The next sol's plan had to be canceled as Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) was in safe mode and no relay pass would occur on Sol 5007 (Feb. 23, 2018). The next plan was for the three sols over the weekend, Sols 5008, 5009 and 5010 (Feb. 24, 25 and 26, 2018). Since the Deep Space Network (DSN) antenna intended for uplink was not available, the project decided not to try to send up the weekend plan and let the rover drop into Automode (no master sequence). On Tuesday, the Sol 5011 (Feb. 27, 2018) plan was successfully carried out and the rover was back under master sequence control, collecting images and conducting science.

As of Sol 5011 (Feb. 27, 2018), the solar array energy production was 669 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.486 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.881.

Total odometry is 28.03 miles (45.12 kilometers).

Opportunity Celebrates 5,000 Days on Mars, Snaps First 'Selfie'

sols 4998 to 5004, Feb. 14, 2018 - Feb. 20, 2018

Opportunity is continuing the exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned about half way down the valley. This past week the rover exceeded 5,000 sols (or days) on the surface of Mars. To commemorate Sol 5000 (Feb. 16, 2018), Opportunity for the first time used the Microscopic Imager (MI) on the end of the robotic arm (also called the Instrument Deployment Device, or IDD) to take a self-portrait mosaic "selfie."

The rover continues to collect extensive stereo color Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panoramas and Navigational Camera (Navcam) panoramas from the current location. A beautiful sunrise color Pancam image was taken on the morning of Sol 4999 (Feb. 15, 2018). An atmospheric argon measurement using the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was collected on the evening of Sol 5001 (Feb. 17, 2018).

As of Sol 5004 (Feb. 20, 2018), the solar array energy production was 653 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.407 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.850.

Total odometry is 28.03 miles (45.12 kilometers).

Opportunity Continues to Benefit from Dust Cleaning of the Solar Panels

sols 4992 to 4997, Feb. 7, 2018 - Feb. 12, 2018

Opportunity is continuing the exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned on the north fork of a local flow channel about half way down the valley. Improved energy levels from dust cleaning of the solar arrays continues to benefit activity on the rover. On Sol 4992 (Feb. 7, 2018), Opportunity was able to perform an overnight Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurement of atmospheric argon.

On the next sol, the rover bumped about 8 feet (2.5 meters) north to reach some high-value surface targets. Opportunity spent the next two days using the robotic arm (also called the Instrument Deployment Device, or IDD) to investigate the surface using the Microscopic Imager (MI) to collect mosaics and the APXS to perform a pair of offset integrations. On Sol 4997 (Feb. 12, 2018), the rover then drove south just over 52 feet (16 meters) with a pause in between to perform some targeted remote sensing.

As of Sol 4997 (Feb. 12, 2018), the solar array energy production was 605 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.491 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.870.

Total odometry is 28.03 miles (45.12 kilometers).

Rover Energy Levels Improve

sols 4985 to 4991, Jan. 31, 2018 - Feb. 6, 2018

Opportunity is continuing her exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover has moved along the north fork of a local flow channel about half way down the valley. Greatly improved energy levels from dust cleaning of the solar arrays has allowed the rover to be active longer each day and occasionally overnight. On Sol 4986 (Feb. 1, 2018), the robotic arm (also called the Instrument Deployment Device, or IDD) was used to offset the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on a related surface target.

With the improved energy levels, the rover was able to run the APXS overnight for a long integration at favorable instrument detector temperatures. The APXS integration continued into the next sol, although stopping before midnight. Shorter APXS integrations continued for the next two sols along with the collection of sweeping Panoramic Camera (Pancam) color stereo panoramas.

On Sol 4990 (Feb. 5, 2018), Opportunity backed up about 13.1 feet (4 meters) to set up for an approach to an uphill target. On Sol 4991 (Feb. 6, 2018), the rover moved forward about 13.1 feet (4 meters) straight north. However, Opportunity stopped about 3.3 feet (1 meter) short of the intended target due to the difficulty of tracking the progress with visual odometry in this complicated terrain. The plan ahead will be to bump the last meter to reach the intended surface target.

As of Sol 4991 (Feb. 6, 2018), the solar array energy production was an increased 628 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.424 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.829.

Total odometry is 28.02 miles (45.10 kilometers).

Opportunity Celebrates 14 Years of Working on Mars

sols 4978 to 4984, Jan. 24, 2018 - Jan. 30, 2018

Opportunity is continuing her exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover has moved along the north fork of the local flow channel. Continuing the extensive collection of stereo imagery, the rover used the Navigation Cameras (Navcams) to collect two tiers of a wide panorama. Then on the next sol, the robotic arm (also called the Instrument Deployment Device, or IDD) performed an offset placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) to a new target location. The Panoramic Camera (Pancam) was also used to collect several frames of a color stereo panorama.

Over the next four sols, Opportunity collected a combination of Navcam and color Pancam stereo panoramas and some targeted multi-spectral Pancam images. On Sol 4984 (Jan. 30, 2018), the IDD was used again to reach other surface targets and collect Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaics and place the APXS for a multi-hour integration. Energy production has continued to improve due to dust cleaning of the solar arrays.

As of Sol 4984 (Jan. 30, 2018), the solar array energy production was an increased 665 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.427 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.847.

Total odometry is 28.02 miles (45.09 kilometers).

Opportunity Prepares for a Flight Software Update

sols 4971 to 4977, Jan. 17, 2018 - Jan. 23, 2018

Opportunity is continuing her winter exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater from a location in the north fork of the local flow channel.

Color imaging of light toned bedrock and nearby streaked rocks occupied the first few sols. The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) argon integration was done on Sol 4974 (Jan. 20, 2018). A short 3 foot (1 meter) drive on the next sol positioned the rover at the light toned outcrop and some missing images were retaken.

On Sol 4977 (Jan. 23, 2018), the robotic arm was used to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of a surface target within the work volume of the arm. The APXS was then placed on that target. Also on that sol, the latest version of the flight software was copied over the older fallback version in preparation for a flight software update, later in the year.

Additional dust cleaning has raised solar array energy production to 644 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.423 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.839.

Total odometry is 28.02 miles (45.09 kilometers).

Opportunity Gets Dust Cleaning and Passes 45 Kilometers of Driving

sols 4965 to 4970, Jan. 11, 2018 - Jan. 16, 2018

Opportunity is continuing her winter exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover has moved along the north fork of the local flow channel. However, before moving, the rover spent several sols completing stereo, color panoramas and performing some targeted 13-filter imaging. On Sol 4968 (Jan. 14, 2018), Opportunity drove about 23 feet (7 meters) to the north with the intent of reaching some surface targets for closer investigation.

The sol after the drive, the rover spent recharging the batteries, as it is still winter on Mars. On Sol 4970 (Jan. 16, 2018), Opportunity benefited from a significant dust cleaning of the solar arrays, which happens this time of year.

As of Sol 4970 (Jan. 16, 2018), the solar array energy production was an increased 525 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.460 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.760.

Total odometry is 28.02 miles (45.09 kilometers).

Opportunity Takes Right at the Fork and Has Successful Battery Test

sols 4958 to 4964, Jan. 3, 2018 - Jan. 10, 2018

Opportunity is continuing her winter exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned upstream of a fork in the flow channels. After some deliberation, it was decided to take the northern branch of this fork and on Sol 4958 (Jan. 3, 2018), Opportunity drove about 13 feet (4 meters) in that direction. The rest of this period was devoted to only remote sensing and use of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on Sol 4961 (Jan. 6, 2018), to keep the rover state as stable as possible. Meanwhile, we prepared and executed a test of the Zero Degree Heater (ZDH) on the batteries.

Opportunity's batteries have performed very well over the mission's lifetime but are showing some signs of aging. Martian environment is quite cold and it was suspected that warming the battery during the recharge process may make the battery both more effective and degrade slower. Though never used in flight, the ZDH was intended to do just that-warm the battery. Since it has never been turned on in flight we wanted to be very cautious before using it operationally and so a testing campaign was formulated.

The first original test in this campaign was to turn it on briefly, manually (as opposed to thermostatically), and in a controlled and recoverable (in the case of a fault) setting. This test was executed in the morning of Sol 4964 (Jan. 10, 2018), and appears to have been successful.

As of Sol 4964 (Jan. 10, 2018), the solar array energy production was 426 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.479 and a solar array dust factor of 0.648.

Total odometry is 28.01 miles (45.08 kilometers).

Opportunity Takes Images Over the Holiday Period

sols 4943 to 4957, Dec. 19, 2017 - Jan. 2, 2018

Opportunity is continuing her winter exploration of "Perseverance Valley" on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned upstream of a fork in the flow channels. Over the holiday period Opportunity stayed in place collecting extensive Panoramic Camera (Pancam) color stereo imagery of the surroundings. Over 70 frames of Pancam imagery were collected. With the robotic arm positioning the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on a surface target, long elemental integrations were collected on Sols 4943, 4945 and 4947 (Dec. 19, 21 and 23, 2017). Only a single sol, Sol 4956 (Jan. 1, 2018), was a recharge sol.

As of Sol 4957 (Jan. 2, 2018), the solar array energy production was 420 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.483 and a solar array dust factor of 0.663.

Total odometry is 28.01 miles (45.08 kilometers).