NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Update: May 1-7, 2014

Status Report From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2014


OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Aluminum Bound  - sols 3650-3656, May 01, 2014 - May 07, 2014:

Opportunity is exploring south of 'Solander Point' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover is approaching a region of aluminum-hydroxyl clay minerals detected from orbit.

On Sol 3650 (May 1, 2014), Opportunity drove more than 312 feet (95 meters), first straight southward, then southwestward, heading for the clays. With the rover conveniently near a ripple crest, on Sol 3652 (May 3, 2014), it performed a touch-and-go activity with the robotic arm. The arm's microscopic imager (MI) acquired images for a mosaic, then its alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) was placed for an overnight integration. On the next sol, Opportunity drove more than 199 feet (60 meters) to the southwest into the region of putative clay minerals.

On Sol 3655 (May 6, 2014), the rover bumped about 18 feet (5.5 meters) to reach an exposed rock outcrop. Also on Sol 3655, Opportunity began the first step of a process to correct for spacecraft clock drift. The clock has drifted during the rover's decade on Mars, and this affects some subsystems. Only a one-second correction was done on this sol. The team intends to correct the clock slowly, by just a few seconds each sol, to eventually remove all of the clock drift over the course of a year.

On Sol 3656 (May 7, 2014), the APXS performed an atmospheric argon measurement.

Motor currents on the right-front wheel have been well behaved since resumption of backward driving. As of Sol 3656, solar-array energy production is 689 watt-hours, with a re-calibrated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.607 and an improved solar-array dust factor of 0.916. Perfectly clean solar arrays would have a dust factor of 1.0, so the larger the dust factor, the cleaner the arrays.

Total odometry is 24.47 miles (39.38 kilometers).

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