Mars Exploration Rover Update - November 6, 2007

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OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Descends Deeper into "Victoria Crater"
-
sol 1322-1328, Nov 05, 2007:
After successfully maneuvering into position and collecting additional
scientific data from the top layer of the ring of light-colored rocks
inside "Victoria Crater," Opportunity drove even farther into the
crater's interior. Both "Steno," which the rover has been studying,
and
the next-lowest layer of light-colored rock, nicknamed "Smith," are
part
of a light-colored band of material that circumvents the interior of
Victoria Crater partway below the surface.
Opportunity is in excellent health and has been receiving an average
of
655 watt-hours per Martian day from the rover's solar arrays (100
watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for
1
hour).
On sol 1321 (Oct. 12, 2007), Opportunity successfully stowed the
robotic
arm and "bumped" a short distance to a second target on Steno. At the
new target, nicknamed "Hall," Opportunity acquired an extra-large
mosaic
of stereo (3D) microscopic images. A typical microscopic image mosaic
consists of 5 to 7 frames. In this case, Opportunity acquired 18
frames
at multiple focal distances to help eliminate dust in the images.
Opportunity also spent 17 hours and 45 minutes collecting
compositional
data about Hall with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.
On Monday and Tuesday, Opportunity did not have coverage from NASA's
Deep Space Network of antennas and spent the time collecting remote
sensing data from science targets. The rover executed two sols of
"run-out," when the rover follows the same control sequence but does
not
conduct any new science investigations. On such occasions, the rover
transmits data as usual and attempts to activate a new master sequence
of instructions the following sol.
Sol-by-sol summary:
In addition to standard observations that included measurements of
atmospheric dust with the panoramic and navigation cameras, surveys of
the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer,
and
transfers of data to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter, Opportunity
completed the following activities:
Sol 1322 (Oct. 13, 2007): Opportunity surveyed the grinding bit on the
rock abrasion tool and acquired a 1-by-1-by-18 stereo, microscopic
image
mosaic of the rock target known as Hall. Opportunity collected 17
hours
and 45 minutes worth of compositional data from Hall using the
alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The next morning, the rover
surveyed
the sky with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1323: Opportunity completed another survey of the sky at high sun
using the panoramic camera, then scanned the sky for clouds using the
navigation camera. After taking thorough measurements of atmospheric
dust, the rover went into a deep sleep. The next morning, Opportunity
took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera and scanned the
sky for clouds with the navigation camera.
Sol 1324: Opportunity did not conduct new science activities because
the
rover did not have coverage from the Deep Space Network.
Sol 1325: Opportunity did not conduct new science activities because
the
rover did not have coverage from the Deep Space Network.
Sol 1326: Opportunity did not conduct new science activities because
the
rover did not have coverage from the Deep Space Network.
Sol 1327: Opportunity acquired a mosaic of images looking up toward
"Cape Verde," a promontory on the rim of Victoria Crater, using the
panoramic camera. The rover acquired full-color images of Smith using
all 13 filters of the camera. Opportunity stowed the robotic arm and
acquired full-color images of Hall, then drove toward the layer known
as
Smith. Following the drive, Opportunity took images of the surrounding
terrain with the hazard avoidance and navigation cameras and unstowed
the robotic arm. After communicating with the Odyssey orbiter, the
rover
went into a deep sleep. The next morning, the rover took spot images
of
the sky with the panoramic camera and searched for clouds with the
navigation camera.
Sol 1328 (Oct. 19, 2007): Plans called for Opportunity to acquire
thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera, scan the sky
for
clouds with the navigation camera, and acquire data from the external
calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
The
rover was scheduled to take a nap until 2 p.m. local Mars time and
acquire a mosaic of atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera. The
following morning, Opportunity was to survey the sky with the
panoramic
camera.
Odometry:
As of sol 1327 (Oct. 18, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was
11,577.99 meters (7.19 miles).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Prepares for Arrival of Phoenix While
Exploring "Victoria Crater" - sol 1329-1335, Nov 06, 2007:
Opportunity is healthy and receiving an average of 685 watt-hours of
energy from the solar arrays (that's enough energy to run a 100-watt
lightbulb for almost 7 hours). On sol (Martian day) 1327 (Oct. 18,
2007), the rover backed away from the "Steno" rock layer inside
"Victoria Crater" to move within reach of the "Smith" rock layer a few
meters deeper into the crater. However, the rover terminated the drive
earlier than planned when stereo images in the visual odometry system,
which enables the rover to use computer smarts to compare stereo
images
and accurately determine the rover's location, failed to line up
properly. Opportunity re-pointed the cameras, acquired new stereo
images
for visual odometry, and completed the drive to Smith on sol 1329
(Oct.
20, 2007).
On Sol 1330 (Oct. 21, 2007), Opportunity supported a communications
test
on behalf of the Phoenix mission that demonstrated that large data
sequences could be sent from Earth via the European Space Agency's
Mars
Express orbiter. The test involved multiple transmissions that were
reassembled successfully on board by Opportunity. The rover recognized
and received all four data sequences.
On sol 1332 (Oct. 23, 2007), Opportunity began a campaign that
included
acquiring a stereo (3D) microscopic image mosaic of Smith as well as
compositional data about the rock outcrop. The following day, Sol 1333
(Oct. 24, 2007), Opportunity took panoramic camera images of a target
known as "Sharp" -- a sequence of fine rock layers -- at different
times
of day to determine how the images were affected by changes in
illumination. The day after that, sol 1334 (Oct. 25, 2007),
Opportunity
completed the first of a two-step process for brushing the surface of
Smith. Plans called for Opportunity to finish the brushing sequence
over
the weekend, on sol 1336 (Oct. 27, 2007).
Sol-by-sol summary:
In addition to standard observations that included measurements of
atmospheric dust with the panoramic and navigation cameras, surveys of
the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer,
and
transfers of data to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter, Opportunity
completed the following activities:
Sol 1329 (Oct. 20, 2007): Opportunity took pre-drive, full-color,
panoramic camera images of a two-toned rock target known as "Sedgwick"
as well as images of "Cape Verde," a rock promontory. The rover stowed
the robotic arm and drove to Smith. Opportunity then acquired post-
drive
images with the hazard avoidance cameras, rearward - and forward-
looking
images with the navigation camera, and unstowed the robotic arm. The
next morning, Opportunity took thumbnail images of the sky with the
panoramic camera.
Sol 1330: Opportunity used the navigation camera to survey surfaces in
the rover's shadow to characterize the brightness of the sky as well
as
dust on the camera itself. After the overhead pass of the Odyssey
spacecraft, the rover spent 7 hours measuring atmospheric argon using
the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. In the evening, Opportunity
communicated with Mars Express at UHF frequencies. The next morning,
the
rover surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1331: After measuring atmospheric dust, Opportunity took a nap
until
2:30 p.m. local Mars time. The rover surveyed the sky with the
panoramic
camera while continuing to monitor atmospheric dust. In the morning,
Opportunity acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the
panoramic camera, of iron-bearing particles accumulated on the rover's
external magnets. The rover also monitored dust accumulation on the
mast.
Sol 1332: Opportunity acquired a panel of stereo microscopic images of
Smith, including extra images to improve the signal-to-noise ratio
(eliminate random interference) resulting from dust accumulation on
the
microscopic imager. The rover placed the alpha-particle X-ray
spectrometer on Smith, acquired panoramic camera images of a rock
layer
called "Lyell," and, after communicating with Odyssey, acquired data
from Smith with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The next
morning,
the rover surveyed the sky, took spot images of the sky, and surveyed
the horizon with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1333: Opportunity took panoramic camera images of both Sharp and
Lyell. After transmitting data to Odyssey, the rover resumed
collecting
data from Smith with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The next
morning, the rover took thumbnail images of the sky, spot images of
the
sky, and surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1334: Opportunity positioned the rock abrasion tool on Smith (the
first step of the process for brushing the surface) and acquired
panoramic camera images of rock targets known as "Kuenen" and
"Lapworth." The next morning, the rover surveyed the sky with the
panoramic camera, monitored dust accumulation on the rover mast
assembly, and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1335 (Oct. 26, 2007): Plans called for Opportunity to acquire
panoramic camera image mosaics of Lyell, including specific targets
known as "Lyell South" and a custom mosaic of a target called "Lyell
Top." The rover was also to acquire panoramic camera images of a rock
target known as "Conybeare." The following morning, the rover was to
take thumbnail images of the sky and survey the horizon with the
panoramic camera.
Odometry:
As of sol 1332 (Oct. 23, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was
11,584
meters (7.2 miles).
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baalke
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