Opportunity Checks in From Mars (With Photos)

©NASA

Mars as Seen on 9 March 2012

Sols 2901-2906, March 22-27, 2012: 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 Mossbauer (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 Moessbauer 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).

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