- Press Release
- Nov 30, 2022
NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Update: Playing in the Sand
sol 1641-1647, September 04-11, 2008:
During the past week, Opportunity performed several tests of the robotic arm to learn how to use it with a disabled shoulder joint. Having successfully completed those tests, Opportunity is moving on to investigate some bright patches of dust. Scientists hope to ascertain if the patches contain material not thoroughly analyzed in the past.
On sol (Martian day) 1641 (Sept. 4, 2008), Opportunity homed in on an area of sand that appeared to contain a high concentration of dust. For the next several days, sols 1642-1647 (Sept. 5-11, 2008), the rover tested the robotic arm’s ability to place scientific instruments on specific targets in the sand. These instruments included the Moessbauer spectrometer, microscopic imager, and alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. Tests revealed that the robotic arm placed the instruments in position with very little error in spite of the disabled shoulder joint. Because the dust was not pure enough to yield the desired scientific results, engineers decided on sol 1648 (Sept. 12, 2008) to drive the rover north to a more promising area of apparent dust patches.
On sol 1644 (Sept. 7, 2009), Opportunity relayed data at UHF frequencies to NASA’s Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter (MRO). Typically, the rover sends data to NASA’s Odyssey orbiter for transmission to Earth. Once a month, Opportunity is relaying data to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in preparation for using it more in the future.
Opportunity is healthy, with all subsystems performing as expected as of the most recent transfer of information from NASA’s Odyssey orbiter on sol 1647 (Sept. 11, 2008). Power rose to 652 watt-hours (enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for a tad longer than 6.5 hours).
Each Martian day, or sol, Opportunity measured dust-related changes in atmospheric clarity with the panoramic camera. In addition, Opportunity completed the following activities:
Sol 1641 (Sept. 4, 2008): Before driving, Opportunity acquired a 3- by-1 panel of panoramic-camera images looking north. The rover then nudged toward a bright patch and, after stopping, acquired images of the ground near its wheels and the area directly ahead with the hazard-avoidance and navigation cameras, respectively. The rover relayed data to Odyssey.
Sol 1642: In the morning, Opportunity took thumbnail images and spot images of the sky for calibration purposes with the panoramic camera. Next, the rover tested movement and placement of the Moessbauer spectrometer, taking images near the ground with the hazard-avoidance cameras and images from above with the panoramic camera. Opportunity then used the Moessbauer spectrometer to acquire compositional data from a sand dune on the rim of “Victoria Crater.” After relaying data to Odyssey, Opportunity went into a mini-deep sleep.
Sol 1643: Opportunity acquired six, time-lapse movie frames in search of morning clouds with the navigation camera. Opportunity continued to acquire data from the sand dune at the rim of Victoria Crater with the Moessbauer spectrometer. Opportunity took full-color images, using all 13 color filters of the panoramic camera, of the rover’s tracks. After sending data to Odyssey, Opportunity went into a mini-deep sleep.
Sol 1644: Opportunity acquired six, time-lapse movie frames in search of clouds. The rover continued to collect data from the dune on the rim of Victoria Crater using the Moessbauer spectrometer. Before communicating with Odyssey, Opportunity relayed data to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for transmission to Earth. After sending data to Odyssey, the rover went into a mini-deep sleep.
Sol 1645: In the morning, Opportunity acquired six, time-lapse movie frames in search of clouds with the navigation camera. Opportunity acquired a 1-by-3-by-15 stack of microscopic images of ripple soil. The rover restarted the Moessbauer spectrometer and began collecting data from the soil in the ripples. After transmitting data to Odysssey, Opportunity acquired a 3-by-1 panel of images of a target dubbed “Schuchert.”
Sol 1646: Opportunity monitored dust accumulation on the panoramic-camera mast assembly and restarted the Moessbauer spectrometer for collecting data on the ripple soil. The rover used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to complete a mini-survey of the sky and ground. Before sending data to Odyssey, Opportunity used the spectrometer to characterize the external calibration target.
Sol 1647 (Sept. 11, 2008): Opportunity acquired more time-lapse, movie frames to document potential clouds passing overhead. The rover took a 3-by-1 panel of images of Schuchert with the panoramic camera and a time-lapse movie in search of clouds. Opportunity placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the ripple soil and, after sending data to Odyssey, acquired compositional data. Plans for the following morning called for the rover to study a cobble field, acquiring a 4- by-1 panel of images with the panoramic camera.
As of sol 1647 (Sept. 11, 2008), Opportunity’s total odometry was 11,782.10 meters (7.32 miles).