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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 3166-3173, Dec. 19, 2012-Dec. 26, 2012: Working Through The Holidays

Opportunity is on the inboard edge of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater, positioned at a location called "Copper Cliff."

Over the long holiday period, the rover has been stationary and conducting in-situ (contact) science investigations with the robotic arm instruments, including the Microscopic Imager (MI) and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). Assessments of atmospheric opacity and measurements of atmospheric argon are also being performed.

As of Sol 3173 (Dec. 19, 2012), the solar array energy production was down to 485 watt-hours, with an increased atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.02 and a solar array dust factor of 0.594.

Total odometry is 22.02 miles (35,438.37 meters).



sols 3159-3165, Dec. 12, 2012-Dec. 18, 2012: Shoulder Work At 'Copper Cliff'

Opportunity is working at "Matijevic Hill” (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater. There, the rover has been conducting in-situ (contact) science measurements at a location called "Copper Cliff."

On Sol 3160 (Dec. 13, 2012), Opportunity began taking images with its Microscopic Imager (MI) for a mosaic of a surface target. Partway through the activity, the rover's robotic arm experienced a stall in the shoulder azimuth joint. This has been seen a few times before when the arm is commanded to move at a slow rate, but not the slowest rate. Magnetic detents normally hold the motor armature when unpowered, and under certain slow-rate conditions they are able to restrain the armature from spinning. At higher rates, the armature has enough momentum to keep spinning, while at the slowest rates a higher stall threshold is used. Activities on Sol 3162 (Dec. 15, 2012) confirmed the joint is OK, and an offset placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was completed.

On Sol 3165 (Dec. 18, 2012), Opportunity bumped about 18 feet (5.5 meters) to the west to reach a new set of surface targets in this Copper Cliff area. The rover will likely continue in-situ investigations in the area through the coming holiday.

As of Sol 3165, the solar array energy production was 533 watt-hours with an increased atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.955 and a solar array dust factor of 0.607.

Total odometry is 22.02 miles (35,438.37 meters).



sols 3152-3158, Dec. 5, 2012-Dec. 11, 2012: Checking Out Rocks

Opportunity is located at a place named "Matijevic Hill" (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 3153 (Dec. 6, 2012), the rover moved 7 feet (2.2 meters) to the west approaching an outcrop, called "Copper Cliff." This outcrop shows a distinct contact between two geologic units. On Sol 3155 (Dec. 8, 2012), Opportunity bumped 3 feet (1 meter) closer to a candidate surface target on Copper Cliff.

With surface targets now within reach of the robotic arm, the rover collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target called "Onaping." This was then followed by an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) overnight integration. The plan ahead is to perform more in-situ (contact) science on surface targets within reach of the rover's robotic arm before moving to other locations.

As of Sol 3158 (Dec. 11, 2012), the solar array energy production was 524 watt-hours with an increased atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.923 and a solar array dust factor of 0.590.

Total odometry is 22.02 miles (35,432.84 meters).



sols 3146-3151, Nov. 29, 2012-Dec. 4, 2012: Opportunity Collects A Color Panorama And Continues Rock Studies

Opportunity is located at a place named "Matijevic Hill" (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover just finished collecting an extensive color Pancam panorama, called the "Matijevic pan" and is now conducting extensive in-situ (contact) investigations. On Sol 3146 (Nov. 29, 2012), Opportunity using the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) performed a grind of the surface target "Sandcherry." This was followed with an image mosaic collected by the Microscopic Imager (MI) and then a placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration. On Sol 3151 (Dec. 4, 2012), the rover moved just 9 inches (23 centimeters) to reach some new surface targets.

As of Sol 3151 (Dec. 4, 2012), the solar array energy production was 536 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.866 and a solar array dust factor of 0.599.

Total odometry is 22.02 miles (35,429.86 meters).



sols 3137-3145, Nov. 19, 2012-Nov. 28, 2012: Opportunity Gets To Work On Interesting Rock Targets

Opportunity, after completing the local area survey around the location called "Matijevic Hill" (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater, has started conducting an in-situ (contact) science campaign on some high-value surface targets.

On Sol 3137 (Nov. 19, 2012), Opportunity began her in-situ investigation on the surface target, called "Sandcherry" with a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic, followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS).
The plan on Sol 3139 (Nov. 22, 2012), was the use the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to brush the target. However, the robotic arm experienced a stall in the shoulder elevation joint and stopped all further robotic arm activity. The sequenced APXS measurement on Sol 3140 (Nov. 23, 2012), then fortuitously became an atmospheric argon measurement. The joint stall had been experienced before with Opportunity when slow moves are commanded as in this instance. However, the engineering team did review all the associated telemetry and found no indication of any change in the health of the joint.

As a further step, a diagnostic move was included at the start of the plan on Sol 3144 (Nov. 27, 2012). That diagnostic showed a nominally functioning joint. The subsequent activity on Sol 3144 (Nov. 27, 2012), included a successful RAT brushing of the target followed by a MI mosaic and placement of the APXS. Also, over the last several sols, the rover has been collecting an extensive color panorama (Pancam), called the "Matijevic pan."

As of Sol 3145 (Nov. 28, 2012), the solar array energy production was 559 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.793 and a solar array dust factor of 0.608.

Total odometry is 22.01 miles (35,429.63 meters).



sols 3133-3136, Nov. 15, 2012-Nov. 19, 2012: 'Matijevic Hill' Survey Complete And Rover Passes 22 Miles Of Driving!

Opportunity has completed the local area survey around the location called "Matijevic Hill" (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Now, the rover is focusing on conducting an in-situ (contact) science campaign on some high-value surface targets. The rover drove 81 feet (24.6 meters) on Sol 3133 (Nov. 15, 2012), approaching a candidate surface target. Opportunity bumped into position for some robotic arm work with a 31-inch (80-centimeter) forward move on Sol 3135 (Nov. 18. 2012).

On Sol 3133 (Nov. 15, 2012), the rover began to detect an increase in atmospheric opacity (Tau). Coincident with that the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) team on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) observed a large regional dust storm, with high atmospheric opacity in the center of the storm, heading in the direction of the rover. The project remained vigilant over the weekend. Fortunately, the storm passed to the south of the rover, but Opportunity continues to see an increase in atmospheric dust.

As of Sol 3136 (Nov. 19, 2012), the solar array energy production was 539 watt-hours with an increased atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.897 and a solar array dust factor of 0.612.

Total odometry is 22 miles (35,429.63 meters).



sols 3125-3132, Nov. 7, 2012-Nov. 14, 2012: Survey At 'Matijevic Hill' Wrapping Up

Opportunity is nearing the completion of the local area survey around the location called "Matijevic Hill" (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover performed three survey drives on Sols 3128, 3131 and 3132 (Nov. 10, 13 and 14, 2012), driving 113 feet (34.5 meters), 52 feet (16 meters), and 28 feet (8.5 meters), respectively.  Each drive was preceded by the collection of targeted imagery, and then followed by taking a 360-degree Navigation camera (Navcam) panorama. 

On Sol 3126 (Nov. 8, 2012), the rover used the robotic arm to image the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) bit and to collect a set of Microscopic Imager (MI) "sky flat" calibration images.  An atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was performed on Sol 3129 (Nov. 11, 2012).  The Mars Odyssey avionics side-swap was successful with the first relay pass with Opportunity on Sol 3129 (Nov. 11, 2012).  The relay pass using the new Side-B transceiver on Odyssey was nominal. 

As of Sol 3131 (Nov. 13, 2012), the solar array energy production was 596 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.589 and a solar array dust factor of 0.606.

Total odometry is 22 miles (35,404.20 meters).

sols 3118-3124, Oct. 31, 2012-Nov. 6, 2012: More Driving And Imaging At 'Matijevic Hill'

Opportunity is continuing the local area survey around the location called Matijevic Hill (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover performed three survey drives on Sols 3119, 3121 and 3124 (Nov. 1, 3 and 6, 2012), driving 125 feet (38 meters) south-southeast, 82 feet (25 meters) south-southeast, and 98 feet (30 meters) south, respectively.

Each drive was preceded by the collection of targeted imagery and then followed by taking a 360-degree Navigation camera (Navcam) panorama. Two direct-to-earth (DTE) X-band sessions where supported on Sols 3120 and 3122 (Nov. 2 and 4, 2012), and an atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was performed on Sol 3122 (Nov. 4, 2012).

The project also implemented a new daily nadir check sequence. This new sequence significantly reduces the number of power cycles on the rover's inertial measurement unit (IMU). For the next week the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will be providing exclusive Ultra High Frequency relay support during the Mars Odyssey side-swap campaign.

As of Sol 3124 (Nov. 6, 2012), the solar array energy production was 586 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.605 and a solar array dust factor of 0.604.

Total odometry is 21.96 miles (35,345.23 meters).



sols 3111-3117, Oct. 24, 2012-Oct. 30, 2012: Survey Of 'Matijevic Hill' Continues

Opportunity has completed approximately half of the local area survey around the location called Matijevic Hill (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater. 

The rover performed three survey drives on Sols 3112, 3114 and 3117 (Oct. 25, 27 and 30, 2012), driving 98 feet (30 meters) west, 30 feet (9 meters) north, and 108 feet (33 meters) south, respectively.  Each drive was preceded by the collection of targeted imagery and then followed by taking a 360-degree Navigation camera (Navcam) panorama. 

The plan ahead is to conduct more survey drives around this location. 

As of Sol 3116 (Oct. 29, 2012), the solar array energy production was 549 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.649 and a solar array dust factor of 0.601.

Total odometry is 21.90 miles (35,261.66 meters).



sols 3105-3110, Oct. 18, 2012-Oct. 23, 2012: Survey Drives Of Local Area

Opportunity is continuing a local area survey around the location called "Matijevic Hill" (named in honor of Jake Matijevic) at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover performed three survey drives on Sols 3105, 3107 and 3110 (Oct. 18, 20, and 23, 2012), driving first west, then southwest, and then southeast, totaling 226 feet (69 meters). Each drive was preceded by the collection of targeted imagery and then followed by taking a 360-degree Navigation camera (Navcam) panorama. On Sol 3109 (Oct. 22, 2012), an atmospheric argon measurement was collected by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). The plan ahead is to conduct more survey drives around this location.

As of Sol 3110 (Oct. 23, 2012), the solar array energy production was 575 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.654 and a solar array dust factor of 0.619.

Total odometry is 21.87 miles (35,189.68 meters).



sols 3098-3104, Oct. 10, 2012-Oct. 17, 2012: Opportunity Is On The Move Around 'Matijevic Hill'

Opportunity is conducting a local area survey around the location where orbital observations show the presence of clay minerals at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is driving around the area called Matijevic Hill (named in honor of Jake Matijevic). Opportunity performed four survey drives on Sols 3098, 3101, 3103 and 3104 (Oct. 10, 14, 16 and 17, 2012), totaling over 230 feet (70 meters). Each drive was preceded by targeted imagery and followed by 360-degree Navigation camera (Navcam) panoramas. On Sol 3099 (Oct. 11, 2012), an atmospheric argon measurement was collected by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). The plan ahead is to conduct more survey drives around this location.

As of Sol 3104 (Oct. 17, 2012), the solar array energy production was 579 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.604 and a solar array dust factor of 0.624.

Total odometry is (21.82 miles) 35,120.59 meters.



sols 3091-3097, Oct. 3, 2012-Oct. 9, 2012: Robotic Arm Tools Get To Work On Rock Outcrop

Opportunity is conducting an in-situ (contact) science campaign at a location where orbital observations show the presence of clay minerals at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioning near a large, light-toned block of exposed rock outcrop, called "Whitewater Lake." Opportunity previously moved around the outcrop to reach some of the dark rinds that cover portions of the outcrop unit.

On Sol 3092 (Oct. 4, 2012), the rover moved, likely the smallest amount ever, with less than an inch (1 centimeter) of total motion in order to position the robotic arm favorable on a dark-rind surface target called "Chelmsford." On Sol 3094 (Oct. 6, 2012), Opportunity performed a 15-minute brush of a surface target with the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT). That was followed with the collection of a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and then the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration. On Sol 3096 (Oct. 8, 2012), the robotic arm selected a slightly offset target and performed another Rock Abrasion brush of the surface. Again, this was followed with a Microscopic Imager mosaic and APXS placement.

The plan ahead is a drive around "the loop" that encompasses the terrain mapped by the orbital clay observations and survey the area with rover imagery.

As of Sol 3097 (Oct. 9, 2012), the solar array energy production was 531 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.722 and a solar array dust factor of 0.629.

Total odometry is 21.78 miles (35,050.07 meters).



sols 3085-3090, Sept. 27, 2012-Oct. 2, 2012: The Hunt For Clay Minerals Continues

Opportunity is conducting an in-situ (contact) science campaign at a putative location of clay minerals at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned next to a large light-toned block of exposed outcrop. Earlier Panoramic (Pancam) imagery indicates mineral hydration in this block. Opportunity began back on Sol 3076 (Sept. 18, 2012), using the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to brush the surface at a target location called "Azilda1." On Sol 3078 (Sept. 20, 2012), the rover continued brushing the surface, now at an adjacent target called "Azlida2." The brushing was followed by a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) placement on the same. On Sol 3080 (Sept. 22, 2012), Opportunity continued this brushing campaign with another surface target, slightly offset from the previous, called (you guessed it) "Azilda3."

Again, the brushing was followed by a MI mosaic and an APXS integration. With an extended target region brushed and surveyed, on Sol 3083 (Sept. 25, 2012), Opportunity performed a RAT grind on the location Azilad2. Initial telemetry indicates the grind performed to a depth of about 0.03 inches (0.8 mm). The plan ahead is to either, grind deeper or retract the RAT and survey the grind hole.
As of Sol 3084 (Sept. 26 2012), the solar array energy production was 553 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.658 and a solar array dust factor of 0.657.

Total odometry is 21.78 miles (35,047.47 meters).



sols 3077-3084, Sept. 19, 2012-Sept. 26, 2012: Rock Grinding Action

Opportunity is conducting an in-situ (contact) science campaign at a putative location of clay minerals at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned next to a large light-toned block of exposed outcrop. Earlier Panoramic (Pancam) imagery indicates mineral hydration in this block. Opportunity began back on Sol 3076 (Sept. 18, 2012), using the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to brush the surface at a target location called "Azilda1." On Sol 3078 (Sept. 20, 2012), the rover continued brushing the surface, now at an adjacent target called "Azlida2." The brushing was followed by a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) placement on the same. On Sol 3080 (Sept. 22, 2012), Opportunity continued this brushing campaign with another surface target, slightly offset from the previous, called (you guessed it) "Azilda3."

Again, the brushing was followed by a MI mosaic and an APXS integration. With an extended target region brushed and surveyed, on Sol 3083 (Sept. 25, 2012), Opportunity performed a RAT grind on the location Azilad2. Initial telemetry indicates the grind performed to a depth of about 0.03 inches (0.8 mm). The plan ahead is to either, grind deeper or retract the RAT and survey the grind hole.
As of Sol 3084 (Sept. 26 2012), the solar array energy production was 553 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.658 and a solar array dust factor of 0.657.

Total odometry is 21.78 miles (35,047.47 meters).



sols 3071-3076, Sept. 13, 2012-Sept. 18, 2012: Robotic Arm Tools Get To Work

Opportunity is continuing the in-situ (contact) science campaign at a putative location of clay minerals at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned next to a large light-toned block of exposed outcrop. Previous Panoramic Camera (Pancam) imagery indicates mineral hydration in this block. On 3071 (Sept. 13, 2012), Opportunity performed a very small turn-in-place to position a high-valued target within reach of the robotic arm. Then on Sol 3073 (Sept. 15, 2012), the rover collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target "Azilda," followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same for a multi-sol integration. On Sol 3076 (Sept. 18, 2012), Opportunity used the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to brush the same target and then used the Microscopic Imager to collect another mosaic, followed again by another placement of the APXS.

As of Sol 3076 (Sept. 18, 2012), the solar array energy production was 564 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.560 and a solar array dust factor of 0.648.

Total odometry is 21.78 miles (35,047.47 meters).



sols 3064-3070, Sept. 6, 2012-Sept. 12, 2012: Robotic Arm Goes To Work

Opportunity is continuing the in-situ (contact) science campaign at a putative location of clay minerals at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 3064 (Sept. 6, 2012), the rover collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the target outcrop Kirkwood, followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for integration. On Sol 3066 (Sept. 8, 2012), the rover experienced an X-band fault as Earth was below the deck of the rover. Due to seasonal geometry, time of day and rover tilt, there was a known risk that Earth might be too low on the horizon for the high-gain antenna to track. A small error in the rover's tilt knowledge resulted in the track of the Earth dropping too low at the end of the X-band pass. The rover sequences transmitted during that pass were successfully received by the rover and executed as planned. The X-band fault was cleared by real-time commands sent later on Sol 3069 (Sept. 11, 2012).

On Sol 3066 (Sept. 8, 2012), Opportunity raised her robotic arm for a clear camera shot of the targets in front of the rover. Then on the next sol, the rover performed a brushing with the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT). This was followed with another MI mosaic and then the placement of the APXS on the brushed surface.

On Sol 3070 (Sept. 12, 2012), the rover then performed a 3-sided drive around the exposed fin-like outcrop to reach light-toned blocky outcrop for further in-situ investigation for putative clay minerals.

As of Sol 3070 (Sept. 12, 2012), the solar array energy production was 569 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.689 and a solar array dust factor of 0.672.

Total odometry is 21.78 miles (35,047.47 meters).



sols 3057-3063, Aug. 29, 2012-Sept. 4, 2012: Opportunity Begins Examining Clay Minerals

Opportunity has begun the in-situ (contact) science campaign at a putative location of clay minerals at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Earlier, Opportunity had driven south along the in board edge of Cape York, surveying the exposed outcrop with both Navigation Camera (Navcam) and detailed Panoramic Camera (Pancam images).

On Sol 3056 (Aug. 28, 2012), it was decided to begin the direct approach to the outcrop. Opportunity, on Sol 3057 (Aug. 29, 2012), continued the approach to the outcrop with a 39-feet (12-meter) drive to the west, followed by surveying imagery. From the imagery, a target location was selected. On Sol 3060 (Sept. 1, 2012), the rover began the careful approach with a 20-feet (6-meter drive), followed on the next sol with a salute of the robotic arm to provide an unobstructed view for the mast cameras of potential in-situ targets. Then, on Sol 3063 (Sept. 4, 2012), Opportunity bumped into place with a short 5.6 feet (1.7-meter) move. This move has now positioned the rover so that the robotic arm can reach surface targets. The plan ahead is for a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of a surface target and an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) placement on the same for a long integration.

As of Sol 3063 (Sept. 4, 2012), the solar array energy production was 543 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.658 and a solar array dust factor of 0.667.

Total odometry is 21.77 miles (35,037.19 meters).



sols 3051-3056, August 23-28, 2012: Opportunity Exceeds 35 Kilometers Of Driving!

Opportunity has exceeded over 35 kilometers (21.75 miles) of odometry!

The rover is moving south along the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater surveying exposed outcrop in search of phyllosilicate clay minerals that have been detected from orbit.

On Sol 3051 (Aug. 23, 2012), Opportunity continued to move about 98 feet (30 meters) south along the inboard edge of Cape York, imaging the outcrop to the west with both Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam). On Sol 3053 (Aug. 25, 2012), the rover drove further south with more of an inboard bias to be closer to the outcrop. Again, more detailed Pancam and Navcam surveys were performed. On Sol 3055 (Aug. 27, 2012), the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) on the end of the robotic arm was imaged to re-confirm the available bit for future grinding and the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) collected a measurement of atmospheric argon.

On Sol 3056 (Aug. 28, 2012), Opportunity headed almost due west in a direct approach to some exciting outcrop units. With that drive, the rover passed 35 kilometers of odometry. Not bad for a vehicle designed for only about 1 mile (1 kilometer) of distance and 90 sols (days) of lifetime.

As of Sol 3056 (Aug. 28, 2012), the solar array energy production was 568 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.570 and a solar array dust factor of 0.684.

Total odometry is 21.76 miles (35,017.33 meters).


sols 3043-3050, August 15-22, 2012: Opportunity Drives And Images Rock Outcrop

Opportunity is moving south along the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 3044 (Aug. 16, 2012), the rover drove just over 131 feet (40 meters) staying close to the outcrop terrain along Cape York. As Opportunity drives she has been heavily documenting the exposed outcrop with both Navigation Camera and Panoramic Camera color imagery.

On Sol 3046 (Aug. 18, 2012), the rover completed a drive of over 328 feet (100 meters), again collecting outcrop imagery along the way. Sol 3049 (Aug. 21, 2012), saw another 131 feet (40 meter) drive, assembling an extensive image set of the outcrop.

It is in this region of Cape York where orbital data indicate the presence of phyllosilicate clay minerals. Opportunity is documenting this area in order to allow the science team to select the best region for an extensive in-situ (contact) investigation for these clay minerals.

As of Sol 3050 (Aug. 22, 2012), the solar array energy production was 530 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.696 and a solar array dust factor of 0.683.

Total odometry is 21.65 miles (34,846.61 meters).


sols 3036-3042, August 08-14, 2012: Opportunity is on the Move Again!

Opportunity is on the move again at the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sols 3036 and 3037 (Aug. 8 and 9, 2012), the rover completed a set of Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurements on a surface target, called "Rushall_1." With the APXS integrations done, Opportunity swung the robotic arm out of the way so detailed Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images could be taken on Sol 3039 (Aug. 11, 2012). On the next sol, the rover drove south with a 90-feet (27.5-meter) drive toward the small impact crater, called "Sao Rafael." With "drive-by" imaging of the crater complete, Opportunity drove again on Sol 3042 (Aug. 14, 2012), with a 128-feet (39-meter) drive toward another small impact crater, called "Berrio." The rover also had enough energy on that sol to collect an atmospheric argon measurement with the APXS.

As of Sol 3042 (Aug. 14, 2012), the solar array energy production was 545 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.564 and a solar array dust factor of 0.688.

Total odometry is 21.57 miles (34,705.88 meters).


sols 3030-3035, August 02-07, 2012: With Curiosity on the Surface Opportunity Will Resume Driving Soon

Activity has been constrained for the period around the arrival of Curiosity. The project pre-planned 9 sols of activity so as not to require Deep Space Network tracking coverage during the Mars Science Laboratory's Entry, Descent and Landing. Opportunity performed Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer overnight integrations on Sols 3030, 3031, 3033 and 3034 (Aug. 2, Aug. 3, Aug. 5 and Aug. 6, 2012) on the surface target "Rushall1." Multi-filter Panoramic Camera images were collected of "Whim Creek" on Sols 3031 and 3032 (Aug. 3, and Aug. 4, 2012). Daily atmospheric opacity measurements were also performed. With Curiosity safely on the surface, the plan ahead for Opportunity is to resume driving.

As of Sol 3035 (Aug. 7, 2012), the solar array energy production was 531 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.715 and a solar array dust factor of 0.707.

Total odometry is 21.52 (34,639.45 meters).


sols 3023-3029, July 25, 2012 - August 01, 2012: Opportunity Prepares for Curiosity's Arrival!

Opportunity has been roving at the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater. However, activity will be constrained for the period ahead as Opportunity prepares for the arrival of Curiosity.

The project is preplanning nine day or sols of activity around the landing time of Curiosity, so as not to require Deep Space Network tracking antenna coverage. On Sol 3024 (July 26, 2012), Opportunity drove just over 20 feet (6 meters) to position for some surface targets at the feature called "Whim Creek." On Sol 3025 (July 27, 2012), the rover collected an atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). On Sol 3027 (July 29, 2012), the robotic arm was used to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target, called "Rushall," followed by the placement of the APXS for a multi-sol surface integration.

On Sol 3028 (July 31, 2012), Opportunity served as a trial horse for possible direct detection at Earth of Curiosity's Ultra High Frequency (UHF) signal during landing with the Parkes Radio Observatory in Australia. Opportunity transmitted a UHF signal configured as Curiosity's UHF will be at landing. The Parkes antenna was able to detect the Opportunity test signal and will be now be listening during Curiosity's landing.

As of Sol 3022 (July 24, 2012), the solar array energy production was 547 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.642 and a solar array dust factor of 0.720.

Total odometry is 21.52 miles (34,639.45 meters).


sols 3017-3022, July 19-24, 2012: Opportunity Picks Up the Pace With Several Drives This Week

Opportunity is roving at the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Progress was again impacted by a second safe mode entry by the Mars Odyssey orbiter. With normal Ultra-High Frequency relay with Odyssey restored, Opportunity was able to drive on Sol 3019 (July 21, 2012).

That drive, of over 138 feet (42 meters), was a "V" trajectory with the rover first driving toward the small impact crater named "Sao Gabriel" for mid-drive imaging, then a near reverse drive away toward the geologic cut called "Whim Creek."

On Sol 3021 (July 23, 2012), Opportunity drove across Whim Creek with a 33 foot (10 meter) drive toward some surface targets. On the next Sol, the rover collected a Microscopic Imager mosaic of the target "Mons Cupri" before placing the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer down on the same. The plan ahead is some more driving before the operational stand-down around the time of the landing for Curiosity.

As of Sol 3022 (July 24, 2012), the solar array energy production was 507 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.772 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.727.

Total odometry is 21.52 miles (34,633.40 meters).


sols 3009-3016, July 11-18, 2012: Slow-Going for Opportunity This Week

Opportunity is roving at the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater. However, her progress has been impacted by the recent safe mode entry by the relay orbiter, Mars Odyssey.

On Sol 3010 (July 12, 2012), Opportunity drove just over 180 feet (55 meters) south towards a small impact crater, named "Sao Gabriel," for investigation. On Sol 3011 (July 13, 2012), the rover's Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer collected a measurement of atmospheric argon. But subsequent to the Sol 3010 (July 12, 2012), drive, Odyssey went into safe mode. In response to the absence of relay support from the orbiter, several rover X-band sessions with the Deep Space Network were converted to Direct-to-Earth passes to receive a small amount of telemetry to assess the health of the rover. Until the return of relay support from Odyssey, the plans for Opportunity were kept simple with a modest photometry campaign, daily observations of atmospheric opacity (tau) and other low-data volume remote sensing.

The Mars Color Imager on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been observing a local Martian dust storm near Endeavour Crater. The local storm has elevated the atmospheric opacity over the rover site. Water ice cloud cover seen around the rover site is both an indication that the dust storm had abated but there were still elevated levels of atmospheric dust in the region as a result of the storm. (water-ice is nucleating on the suspended dust particles.)

From Sol 3010 (July 12, 2012), the solar array energy production was 523 watt-hours with a solar array dust factor of 0.707. As of Sol 3016 (July 18, 2012), the atmospheric opacity (Tau) is elevated at 0.571.

Total odometry is 21.49 miles (34,580.05 meters).


sols 3002-3008, July 04-10, 2012: Opportunity Continues to Explore Rocks on the Rim of Endeavor Crater

Opportunity is still exploring the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Most of this period focused on analyzing the rock target "Grasberg" with the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) tool, which ground and brushed the rock. This was done using the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) on Sols 3002, 3003, 3004, 3006, and 3007 (July 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9, 2012), and additional Microscopic Imager (MI) imaging on Sol 3006 (July 8, 2012).

After wrapping up the in-situ analysis of Grasberg, the rover drove east about 105 feet (32 meters) on Sol 3008 (July 10, 2012), in search of more gypsum veins. Opportunity continues to benefit from previous solar array dust cleaning events which have increased the daily energy production.

As of Sol 3008 (July 10, 2012), solar array energy production was 559 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.443 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.716.

Total odometry is 21.45 miles (34,524.96 meters).


sols 2997-3001, June 29, 2012 - July 3, 2012: Opportunity Celebrates 3,000 Martian Days of Operation on the Surface of Mars!

Opportunity has now exceeded 3,000 sols, or Martian days, of operation on the surface of Mars! The rover is still exploring the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 2997 (June 29, 2012), Opportunity completed an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the previously brushed target, called "Grasberg." On Sol 2998 (June 30, 2012), a 13-filter Panoramic Camera (Pancam) image was taken of the target, followed by a Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) seek/scan and grind. The plan was to grind Grasberg to a depth of 1.5 mm, followed by a documentary Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic. On Sol 2999 (July 1, 2012), the rover performed an atmospheric argon measurement with the APXS. On Sol 3000 (July 2, 2012), the rover collected only remote sensing science. On Sol 3001 (July 3, 2012), the RAT was used to brush the RAT grind tailings from the target Grasberg followed by more MI imaging and the placement of the APXS for a long integration. Opportunity continues to benefit from solar array dust cleaning events, which increase the daily energy production.

As of Sol 3001 (July 3, 2012), solar array energy production was 577 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.346 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.705.

Total odometry is 21.43 miles (34,491.99 meters).


sols 2990-2996, June 21-28, 2012: Opportunity Uses Robotic Arm Tools on Rock

Opportunity continues to explore the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater, specifically the transition layer between Cape York and Meridiani Planum.

Mars Odyssey has returned to service and supported downlinks on both Sols 2995 and 2996 (June 27 and 28, 2012). Previously Ultra High Frequency relay for the rover had been limited to just two relay passes per week from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

On Sol 2990 (June 21, 2012), in-situ measurements including the Microscopic Imager (MI) and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) began on the rock target "Grasberg." On Sol 2992 (June 24, 2012), a slightly offset target, "Grasberg 2," was similarly analyzed. And finally, on sol 2995 (June 27, 2012), the original Grasberg target was brushed using the Rock Abrasion Tool in preparation for further MI and APXS analysis. Though no new cleaning events appear to have occurred, the rover continues to benefit from previous solar array dust cleaning events and a slightly improved tilt.

As of Sol 2995 (June 27, 2012), solar array energy production was 559 watt-hours with a lower atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.330 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.698.

Total odometry is 21.43 miles (34,491.99 meters).


sols 2981-2989, June 12-20, 2012: Opportunity Drives A Little

Opportunity has been exploring the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

With Mars Odyssey still working to recover from their safe mode event, Ultra High Frequency (UHF) relay for the rover has been limited to just two UHF relay passes per week from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. From a combination of the limited MRO relay and the use of Direct-to-Earth X-band passes on the rover, Opportunity was able to perform some driving.

On Sol 2981 (June 12, 2012), the rover drove a little over 56 feet (17 meters) to the north, approaching the boundary between the Cape York geologic unit and the Meridiani plains. On Sol 2989 (June 20, 2012), Opportunity bumped just over 16 feet (5 meters) north to straddle the contact unit between Cape York and Meridiani, and position a candidate target within the work volume of the robotic arm. Opportunity also performed two atmospheric argon measurements on Sols 2982 and 2987 (June 13 and June 18, 2012), using the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer.

The rover continues to benefit from solar array dust cleaning events, which have greatly increased the daily energy production. As of Sol 2989 (June 20, 2012), solar array energy production was 526 watt-hours with a lower atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.229 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.684.

Total odometry is 21.43 miles (34,491.99 meters).


sols 2975-2980, June 06-11, 2012: Slow Going Due to Communication Issues

Opportunity has been investigating light-toned veins around the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Recently, things became complicated, first by Mars Odyssey orbiter going into safe mode, leaving Opportunity without timely relay support, and then by a missed Ultra High Frequency (UHF) relay pass with Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Sol 2976 (June 7, 2012). The project responded to the missed UHF pass by sending real-time commands to the rover on Sol 2977 (June 8, 2012), to elicit a response to make sure Opportunity was okay.

Further, the project asked MRO to change the data rate on the next relay pass to ensure lock-up under poor Signal to Noise Ratio conditions. The missed relay pass was likely the result of poor relay geometry between the orbiter and rover. With Odyssey unavailable for relay support for a number of days, the MER project converted several future rover Deep Space Network tracking passes from "Direct from Earth" to "Direct to Earth" to return some telemetry directly over the rover's X-band system.

The plans forward for Opportunity have been modest, mostly remote sensing, owing to the lack of relay support from Odyssey. A bump of the rover was sequenced for Sol 2981 (June 12, 2012). This will be followed by a MRO UHF relay pass to return the drive results.

As of Sol 2977 (June 8, 2012), solar array energy production was 388 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.338 and a solar array dust factor of 0.567.

Total odometry is 21.42 (34,469.86 meters).


sols 2969-2974, May 31 - June 05, 2012: Robotic Arm Gets to Work on Veins of Gypsum

Opportunity is investigating light-toned veins around the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 2969 (May 31, 2012), the rover drove 36 feet (11 meters) to the northeast to approach one of these putative gypsum veins. On Sol 2971 (June 2, 2012), Opportunity bumped about 8 feet (2.3 meters) to place the vein, now called "Monte Cristo," within the work volume of the robotic arm. Taking advantage of the 3-sol weekend plan, the rover included an atmospheric argon measurement by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on Sol 2972 (June 3, 2012). On Sol 2974 (June 5, 2012), Opportunity began the in-situ (contact) investigation of the vein Monte Cristo with a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of an exposed portion of the vein, followed by the placement of the APXS for a multi-sol integration.

As of Sol 2974 (June 5, 2012), solar array energy production was 369 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.364 and a slightly improved solar array dust factor of 0.562.

Total odometry is 21.42 miles (34,469.86 meters).


sols 2962-2968, May 24-30, 2012: On The Hunt For Light-Toned Veins Of Gypsum

Opportunity completed her in-situ (contact) investigation of a dust patch on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover is now on the hunt for more light-toned veins of gypsum.

On Sol 2963 (May 25, 2012), Opportunity headed north with an approximately 82-foot (25-meter) drive, keeping a careful watch on the terrain. With the season still early spring, the rover must keep a small bias towards northerly tilts in order to generate healthy energy margins. On Sol 2965 (May 27, 2012), Opportunity headed further to the north end of Cape York, in an area referred to as "the bench," a flat curb-like unit that forms the perimeter of Cape York. With the arrival in the bench area, Opportunity is spying several vein candidates, looking for one that is wide enough to grind with the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) and sample with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS).

The plan ahead is to approach some of these vein candidates for closer inspection. The recent driving has shallowed out the northerly tilt somewhat, so energy levels have moderated a bit.

As of Sol 2968 (May 30, 2012), solar array energy production was 345 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.413 and a solar array dust factor of 0.538.

Total odometry is 21.41 miles (34,456.53 meters).


sols 2956-2961, May 18-23, 2012: Waking Up with the Sun's Rays

After moving from her winter perch, Opportunity drove to an undisturbed dusty patch to investigate the chemical origin of the ubiquitous Martian dust.

On Sol 2957 (May 19, 2012), the rover used her robotic arm to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target, called "North Pole." This was followed by an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) placement for a multi-sol integration. On Sol 2960 (May 22, 2012), Opportunity repositioned the robotic arm instruments on an associated target for another set of Microscopic Imager mosaics followed by a placement of the APXS for a long measurement.

The plan ahead is to resume driving toward the north end of Cape York in search of more gypsum veins. The rover benefited from another small dust cleaning event, improving solar array energy production. With the seasonally improving solar insolation and the recent dust clearing events, the rover is now experiencing solar array wake-ups, the autonomous rover wake-ups induced by bright morning sunlight.

As of Sol 2961 (May 23, 2012), solar array energy production was 395 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.387 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.559.

Total odometry is 21.36 miles (34,380.58 meters).


sols 2948-2955, May 09-17, 2012: Opportunity Drives to Dusty Patch of Soil

The rover drove on Sols 2949, 2951, 2953 and 2955 (May 10, 12, 14 and 17, 2012), totaling just over 46 feet (13.9 meters).

The rover is positioning to reach a pristine patch of dust on the surface. The plan ahead is to use the robotic arm instruments to investigate the patch of dust. Dust covers much of Mars and this patch is an opportunity to perhaps determine the origin of the dust from its chemical signature.

As of Sol 2954 (May 16, 2012), solar array energy production was 359 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.423 and a solar array dust factor of 0.532.

Total odometry is 21.36 miles (34,380.58 meters).


sols 2941-2947, May 01-08, 2012: Opportunity on the Road Again!

After being stationary for 130 sols during the winter, Opportunity has resumed driving again.

On Sol 2947 (May 8, 2012), the rover performed a 12-foot (3.7-meter) drive down from her winter perch, called "Greeley Haven." As expected, the rover's northerly tilt decrease from around 15 degrees down to about 8 degrees. All wheel currents, including the right-front wheel, were nominal. With this drive, Opportunity has concluded the radio Doppler geo-dynamics campaign with 60 radio Doppler tracking passes successfully accomplished over the winter.

The plan ahead is first to drive toward a nearby putative dusty target to examine the nature and origin of Martian dust, then locate a wider, light-toned vein around the north end of Cape York for further in-situ investigation, among other objectives.

As of Sol 2947 (May 8, 2012), solar array energy production was 357 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.476 and a solar array dust factor of 0.526.

Total odometry is 21.35 miles (34,365.04 meters).


sols 2935-2940, April 26, 2012 - May 01, 2012: Opportunity Getting Ready to Leave Her Winter Perch

Opportunity is still positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt, but not for much longer.

With the improvement in solar insolation and the recent modest dust cleaning events on the solar arrays, the project has determined that the rover has sufficient energy resources to begin moving again on level terrain. Therefore, Opportunity will soon be backing down off her winter perch and resume driving on the near-level terrain around the north end of Cape York.

Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigation are continuing for now with passes performed on Sols 2935, 2936, 2937 and 2940 (April 26, 27, 28 and May 1, 2012). The project is also finishing the campaign of Microscopic Imager mosaics and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer measurements of the extended region around the surface rock target "Amboy." These measurements were performed on Sols 2935, 2937 and 2940 (April 26, 28 and May 1, 2012). An extended thermal behavior test of the inertial measurement unit on the rover was performed on Sol 2938 (April 29, 2012), and found to be in good order.

As of Sol 2940 (May 1, 2012), solar array energy production was 365 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.480 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.534.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2927-2934, April 18-25, 2012: Studies of 'Amboy' Rock Continue as Solar Energy Improves

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

The solar insolation is improving and the rover has benefitted from some small, dust cleaning events. Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigation were performed on Sols 2927, 2931 and 2933 (April 18, 22 and 24, 2012).

The project is also continuing the regular campaign of Microscopic Imager mosaics of the extended region of the rock target "Amboy," followed by Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer measurements of the imaged area. These measurements were performed on Sols 2929, 2931 and 2933 (April 20, 22 and 24, 2012). More dust cleaning events have occurred, improving the solar array dust factor by small amounts.

As of Sol 2934 (April 25, 2012), solar array energy production was 366 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.521 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.546.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2922-2926, April 13-17, 2012: Opportunity Benefits From Brighter Skies and Small Dust Cleaning of Solar Panels

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

The solar insolation has been improving and the rover has benefitted from some small dust cleaning events. Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigation were performed on Sols 2922, 2924, and 2925 (April 13, 15 and 16, 2012).

Since resuming in-situ (contact) science with the robotic arm instruments, the team has continued work on the Microscopic Imager mosaic they have been building over the winter, with additional pieces acquired on Sols 2924 and 2926 (April 15 and 17, 2012). Each of these was followed by a placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration on the rock target "Amboy".

As of Sol 2926 (April 17, 2012), solar array energy production was 342 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.504 and a solar array dust factor of 0.525.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2914-2921, April 04-12, 2012: Left-Front Wheel Stabilized

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

The solar insolation has been improving and the rover has benefitted from some small dust cleaning events. Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigation were performed on Sols 2916 and 2918 (April 6 and April 9, 2012). An atmospheric argon measurement was collected by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on Sol 2915 (April 5, 2012). On Sol 2914 (April 4, 2012), the left-front wheel of the rover was stabilized by performing two wheel motions with steering wiggles in between. Subsequence diagnostic imaging has shown the rover to be stable with no detected motion. A Microscopic Imager (MI) image of the left-front wheel was taken from the modified stow position of the robotic arm. Although the image is out of focus (expected), it does show good contact between the left-front wheel and the terrain. Other imagery also confirms this. The project has thus resumed in-situ (contact) science with the robotic arm instruments.

On Sols 2919 and 2920 (April 10 and April 11, 2012), a suite of MI mosaics were collected of surface targets each followed by a placement of the APXS for an overnight integration. More dust cleaning events have occurred, improving the solar array dust factor by a small amount.

As of Sol 2921 (April 12, 2012), solar array energy production was 336 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.526 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.535.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2907-2913, March 28, 2012 - April 03, 2012: Small Wheel Spin and Steering Wiggle to Stabilize Left-Front Wheel

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production. The winter solstice (March 30, 2012) has now passed for the rover.

Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigation were performed on Sols 2909 and 2912 (March 30 and April 2, 2012). Atmospheric argon measurements were performed with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on Sols 2907 and 2909 (March 28 and March 30, 2012). Additional Panoramic camera (Pancam) images were taken on several sols, along with a 360-degree Navigation camera (Navcam) panorama to be used to refine knowledge of the rover's attitude.

The project is continuing to investigate the anomalies from Sol 2899 (March 20, 2012), that indicate apparent downward motion (of a few millimeters) of the left-front wheel and a stall in the robotic arm (Instrument Deployment Device, IDD). On Sol 2910 (March 31, 2012), a Quick Fine Attitude (QFA) was performed to establish the rover's attitude using the Sun along with the collection of additional Hazardous camera (Hazcam) imagery. No motion in the rover was observed when comparing these images to ones collected just after the anomalous wheel motion. However, the project is planning to stabilize the left-front wheel by performing a small wheel spin and a steering wiggle. These actions should remove any loose material under the wheel and relax any tension in the rover's suspension. A small dust cleaning event around Sol 2911 (April 1, 2012), improved the solar array dust factor by a few percent.

As of Sol 2913 (April 3, 2012), solar array energy production was 321 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.521 and a solar array dust factor of 0.506.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2901-2906, March 22-27, 2012: Slight Drop of Left-Front Wheel

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigation were performed on Sols 2903 and 2904 (March 24 and 25, 2012). Atmospheric argon measurements were performed with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on Sols 2904 and 2905 (March 25 and 26, 2012). Additional Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images were taken on several sols.

The project is continuing to investigate the anomalies from Sol 2899 (March 20, 2012), that indicates apparent downward motion of the left-front wheel and a stall in the robotic arm (Instrument Deployment Device, or IDD). On Sols 2901, 2904 and 2906 (March 22, 25 and 27, 2012), further imaging of the rover's position and detail imaging of the Mössbauer (MB) spectrometer on the end of the IDD were performed along with a series of diagnostic robotic arm motions. The IDD moved without any problems. Motor currents and actuator motion were all nominal. Detailed images of the Mössbauer spectrometer showed no evidence of any off-nominal contact with the ground. Careful review of the left-front wheel suggests that the wheel might have moved more than one time, although these are very small motions (a few millimeters). No other wheel has shown any indication of motion. The project continues to assess the left-front wheel stability.

As of Sol 2906 (March 27, 2012), solar array energy production was 306 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.521 and a solar array dust factor of 0.488.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2894-2900, March 15-21, 2012: Slight Drop of Left-front Wheel

Opportunity remains positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximately 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigation were performed on sols 2895, 2897 and 2899 (March 16, 18 and 20, 2012). The Microscopic Imager (MI) collected images on sols 2894 and 2899 (March 15 and 20, 2012) as part of a large mosaic. On Sol 2894, the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer was placed on target "Amboy3" for a multi-sol integration.

On Sol 2899, the robotic arm (Instrument Deployment Device, or IDD) experienced a safety stall in preparation for the MI mosaic imaging. The imaging executed successfully, and the Mössbauer spectrometer was subsequently placed on the target "Amboy," as planned. Imagery from the front hazard-avoidance camera showed that the left-front wheel apparently dropped by a small amount, roughly half an inch (1 centimeter), sometime between Sol 2894 and Sol 2899. The rover is safe, healthy and stable. There is no indication of risk to Opportunity. But the small drop in the left-front wheel is curious. The IDD safety stall may be related. The project is investigating this. Diagnostic activities have been sequenced for Sol 2901 (March 22, 2012).

As of Sol 2900 (March 21, 2012), solar array energy production was 311 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.508 and a solar array dust factor of 0.498.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols sols 2887-2893, March 07-14, 2012: Energy Levels Expected to Rise

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

Opportunity is passing through the period of minimum solar insolation. Although the winter solstice is still some weeks away, it is expected that energy levels will start to rise. Further, there has been some very small dust cleaning, slightly improving the dust factor of the solar arrays.

Radio Doppler tracking passes for the geo-dynamic investigations were performed on Sols 2890 and 2893 (March 11 and 14, 2012). Microscopic Imager mosaics were collected on Sol 2887 and 2889 (March 8 and 10, 2012). An atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was taken on Sol 2888 (March 9, 2012). A low-light Panoramic Camera (Pancam) image was also collected this Sol and Panoramic Camera images of "Morris Hill" were taken on Sol 2892 (March 13, 2012). The Mössbauer spectrometer was otherwise placed down on the surface target Amboy collecting further integration time.

As of Sol 2893 (March 14, 2012), solar array energy production was 301 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.542 and a solar array dust factor of 0.489.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2880-2886, February 29 - March 07, 2012: Winter Studies of 'Amboy' Rock Continue

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

While positioned for the winter, Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements to support geo-dynamic investigations of the planet, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the rock target, "Amboy," including Microscopic Imager mosaics and long Mössbauer spectrometer integrations, and continued collection of Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images.

Radio Doppler tracking passes were performed on Sols 2882, 2883, 2885 and 2886 (March 2, 4, 6 and 7, 2012). A Microscopic Imager mosaic was collected on Sol 2882 (March 2, 2012). The Mössbauer was otherwise placed down on Amboy collecting further integration time after each Microscopic Imager mosaic. Additional 13-filter Pancam images of foreground targets were taken.

As of Sol 2886 (March 7, 2012), solar array energy production was 298 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.557 and a solar array dust factor of 0.487.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2873-2879, February 22-28, 2012: Slight Cleaning of Solar Panels

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

While positioned for the winter, Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements to support geo-dynamic investigations of the planet, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the rock target, "Amboy," including Microscopic Imager mosaics and long Mössbauer spectrometer integrations, and continued collection of Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images.

Radio Doppler tracking passes were performed on Sols 2873, 2875, 2877 and 2878 (Feb. 22, 24, 26 and 27). Microscopic Imager mosaics were performed on Sols 2873, 2874 and 2879 (Feb. 22, 23 and 28). The Mössbauer spectrometer was placed down again on Amboy for further integration time after each Microscopic Imager mosaic. Additional 13-filter Pancam images of foreground targets were taken. In the last few sols, there has been a small amount of solar array cleaning (dust factor improvement).

As of Sol 2879 (Feb. 28, 2012), solar array energy production was 305 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.520 and a modestly improved solar array dust factor of 0.489. A recent recalibration of atmospheric opacity resulted in a re-baseline of dust factor numbers.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2866-2872, February 15-21, 2012: More Doppler Tracking and Imaging

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

While positioned for the winter, Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements to support geo-dynamic investigations of the planet, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the rock target, "Amboy," and continued collection of Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images. The Mösssbauer spectrometer is currently on the surface target Amboy and is collecting a very long (multi-sol) integration. Radio Doppler tracking passes were performed on Sols 2866 (Feb. 15, 2012), and 2870 (Feb. 19, 2012). Additional 13-filter Pancam images of foreground targets were taken.

As of Sol 2872 (Feb. 21, 2012), solar array energy production was 277 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.684 and a solar array dust factor of 0.476.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2860-2865, February 09-14, 2012: Rock Studies Continue for Opportunity

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

While positioned for the winter, Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements to support geo-dynamic investigations of the planet, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the rock target, "Amboy," including an extended Microscopic Imager mosaic, and continued collection of the 13-filter (stereo) 360-degree "Greeley" panorama. The Mössbauer spectrometer is currently on the surface target Amboy and is collecting a very long, (multi-sol) integration. Radio Doppler tracking passes were performed on Sols 2861 (Feb. 10, 2012) and 2863 (Feb. 12, 2012). More segments of the Greeley panorama were collected.

As of Sol 2865 (Feb. 14, 2012), solar array energy production was 274 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.678 and a solar array dust factor of 0.467.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2853-2859, February 01-08, 2012: Energy Levels Decreasing

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

While positioned for the winter, Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements to support geo-dynamic investigations of the planet, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the rock target, "Amboy," including an extended Microscopic Imager mosaic, and continued collection of the 13-filter 360-degree "Greeley" panorama.

Additionally, during the late afternoon radio Doppler tracking passes, the rover is collecting spectacular low-light (low sun elevation) images. Decreasing energy levels with the approach to the winter solstice has constrained conducting both a radio Doppler tracking pass and an afternoon Ultra High Frequency relay pass on the same sol. The operations team performs energy trades on the tactical timeline as to which, if not both, of these communication passes are performed on a given sol.

On Sol 2852 (Feb. 1, 2012), the Mössbauer Spectrometer was placed on Amboy for a multi-sol integration and subsequently 24 hours of integration has occurred. Also, there were three radio Doppler tracking passes during this time on Sols 2853, 2855, and 2856 (Feb. 2, 4 and 5). And finally, on Sol 2858 (Feb. 7, 2012), the robotic arm continued its extended Microscopic Imager mosaic campaign of the surface area that includes the target Amboy.

As of Sol 2859 (Feb. 8, 2012), solar array energy production was 283 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.648 and a solar array dust factor of 0.478.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2846-2852, January 25 - February 01, 2012: Radio Doppler Tracking Continues at Cape York

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

While positioned for the winter, Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements to support geo-dynamic investigations of the planet, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the rock target, "Amboy," including an extended Microscopic Imager mosaic, and continued collection of the 13-filter 360-degree "Greeley" panorama.

Additionally, during the late afternoon radio Doppler tracking passes, the rover is collecting spectacular low-light (low sun elevation) images. Decreasing energy levels with the approach to the winter solstice has constrained conducting both a radio Doppler tracking pass and an afternoon Ultra High Frequency relay pass on the same sol. The operations team performs energy trades on the tactical timeline as to which, if not both, of these communication passes are performed on a given sol. On Sol 2846 (Jan. 25, 2012), a low-light Panoramic Camera (Pancam) image was collected during the late afternoon radio Doppler tracking pass. On the next sol, the robotic arm was used to re-place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on the target Amboy for multi-sol integration. More radio Doppler tracking passes with Pancam low-light imagery were performed over the next sols.

On Sol 2852 (Feb. 1, 2012), the robotic arm collected a Microscopic Imager mosaic, part of an extended mosaic campaign, of the surface area that includes the target Amboy. The Mössbauer spectrometer was then placed on Amboy for a multi-sol integration. New parameters are being used to optimize the Moessbauer spectrometer performance.

As of Sol 2852 (Feb. 1, 2012), solar array energy production was 270 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.679 and a solar array dust factor of 0.469.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2839-2845, January 18-24, 2012: Science Investigations Continue as Solar Energy Levels Drop

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production during the winter.

Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements to support geo-dynamic investigations of the planet, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the target, "Amboy" including an extended Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic, and continued collection of the 13-filter, 360-degree "Greeley" panorama.

Decreasing energy levels with the approach to the winter solstice has constrained Opportunity for conducting both a radio Doppler tracking pass and an afternoon Ultra High Frequency (UHF) relay pass on the same sol. The operations team performs energy trades on the tactical timeline as to which, if not both, of these communication passes are performed on a given sol. On Sol 2839 (Jan. 18, 2012), the first portion of the extended Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic was collected, followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). The next sol supported continued temperature diagnostics for the Mössbauer (MB) spectrometer and conducted a radio Doppler tracking pass. On Sol 2841 (Jan. 20, 2012), the APXS was retracted and rotated to perform a periodic atmospheric argon measurement. On Sol 2844 (Jan. 23, 2012), the robotic arm was repositioned to collect a set of Microscopic Imager sky-flat calibration images and another radio Doppler tracking pass was performed.

As of Sol 2845 (Jan. 24, 2012), solar array energy production was 279 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.693 and a solar array dust factor of 0.473.

Total odometry is unchanged at 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2833-2838, January 12-17, 2012: Adjusting Robotic Arm on 'Amboy' Rock

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.

Opportunity is conducting regular radio Doppler tracking measurements, in-situ (contact) science investigations of the target, "Amboy" and continues to collect the 13-filter, 360-degree "Greeley" panorama.

On Sol 2833 (Jan. 12, 2012), the robotic arm performed a tool change to place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on a repositioned Amboy target. With multi-sol APXS integration ongoing, several opportunities were used to perform Mössbauer spectrometer temperature diagnostics. The diagnostic tests help to establish the best temperature range of operation for the Mössbauer, which exhibits some temperature-related anomalous behavior. In addition to the continued radio Doppler tracking, panorama collection and in-situ science, in the plan ahead regular Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaics will be collected of an extended area around the in-situ targets.

As of Sol 2838 (Jan. 17, 2012), solar array energy production was 276 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.602 and a solar array dust factor of 0.447.

Total odometry is 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2825-2832, January 04-11, 2012: Studying Rock Target 'Amboy'

Opportunity is positioned for winter on the north end of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is tilted about 15 degrees to the north for favorable solar energy production. Opportunity is conducting in-situ (contact) science investigations of the rock target, "Amboy." The Mössbauer spectrometer has been in place for several sols on Amboy. On Sol 2829 (Jan. 8, 2012), the Microscopic Imager was used to make additional surveys of the target with the Mössbauer being placed again on the same point. After some image assessments, the robotic arm was used on Sol 2831 (Jan. 10, 2012), to slightly reposition the Mössbauer.

Ongoing with the long Mössbauer integrations, Opportunity has been conducting regular radio Doppler X-band tracking passes in support of an experiment to measure the precession and nutation of the planet. Opportunity has also been collecting color Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images of the full 360-degree "Greeley" panorama from this site. The plan ahead is more Mössbauer, more Pancam and more radio Doppler tracking.

As of Sol 2832 (Jan. 11, 2012), solar array energy production was 281 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.697 and a solar array dust factor of 0.471.

Total odometry is 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


sols 2818-2824, December 28, 2011 - January 03, 2012: Positioned at Candidate Site for Winter

Opportunity is positioned for winter on the north end of "Cape York" on the rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover is tilted about 15 degrees to the north for favorable solar energy production. Opportunity is in position to conduct contact science investigations of surface targets reachable by the instruments on the robotic arm.

On Sol 2819 (Dec. 29, 2011), the robotic arm was used to collect a set of Microscopic Imager mosaics of a target called "Amboy." This was followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer for a multi-sol integration. On Sol 2822 (Jan. 1, 2012), the rover's robotic arm placed the Mössbauer Spectrometer on the target Amboy for an extended integration.

Sol 2822 also saw the first of a planned series of special X-band passes to support a radio Doppler tracking experiment to measure the precession and nutation of the planet. Those first data have been assessed as good quality. The plan ahead is for continued Mössbauer integration on Amboy and more radio Doppler tracking.

As of Sol 2824 (Jan. 3, 2012), solar array energy production was 287 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.735 and a solar array dust factor of 0.481. Total odometry as of Sol 2823 (Jan. 2, 2012) is 21.35 miles (34,361.37 meters).


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