Mars Exploration Rover Update #2 - July 21, 2006
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Bounding Toward 'Beagle Crater' - sol 879-885,
July 21, 2006:
Opportunity is healthy and is driving toward "Beagle Crater," which is about 50 meters (164 feet) away as of sol 884 (July 20). "Victoria Crater" is about 510 meters (just over a quarter of a mile) away. The rover used its panoramic camera, microscopic imager and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on soil target "Westport," (soil without spherules in a wheel scuff) in order to provide the science team with a soil sample outside the vast, outlying rim of Victoria Crater. A step in upgrading the flight software was successfully completed on sol 881. Opportunity drove about 106 meters (348 feet) between sols 878 and 884.
Sol-by-sol summaries:
Sol 879 (July 14, 2006): Opportunity examined the soil target Westport with its panoramic camera, microscopic imager and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover also completed a panoramic camera observation of "Dallas," a disturbed patch in the tracks intended to be similar to the spots examined with the contact instruments. A target referred to as "Waco," a raised patch of outcrop that may be a crater, was also examined with the panoramic camera. Work was completed for the flight software build, which is the assembling and validating of many files of new software transmitted to the rover in preceding weeks.
Sol 880: The rover took a microscopic image of an undisturbed soil target, "Fort Graham," and completed a Moessbauer spectrometer integration on Westport. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer observed a block of ejecta (material ejected from a crater) called "Preston." The panoramic camera checked the clarity of the atmosphere. Part of the flight software build took place this sol.
Sol 881: The Moessbauer integration continued this sol on Westport. A 13-filter panoramic camera image was taken of Preston and "Red Rock," another ejecta block. Opportunity profiled the atmosphere and near-surface temperature with its miniature thermal emission spectrometer. That instrument was also used to analyze Dallas.
Sol 882: Due to the planned loss of use of the Deep Space Network on this sol, some data was left onboard: a panoramic camera mosaic of the area behind the rover, dust monitoring data, sky thumbnail images and a measurement of atmospheric clarity.
Sol 883: Opportunity took a pre-drive panoramic camera image of Fort Graham and a ripple band. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer was used to profile the atmosphere in the morning. The rover then drove about 37 meters (121 feet).
Sol 884: The rover drove about 40 meters (131 feet). A navigation camera picture was taken of "Jesse Chisholm," a dark mound about 35 meters (115 feet) from the location the rover reached on sol 883. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer completed an observation of the area around the rover. The panoramic camera was also used to characterize the location.
Sol 885 (July 21): The rover drove back and forth to create a scuff in the surface material to examine the soil underneath. It was then commanded to approach Jesse Chisholm, the next target for examining with the instruments on the robotic arm.
Opportunity's total odometry as of the end of the drive on sol 884 (July 20) was 8,599.14 meters (5.34 miles).
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