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M I S S I O N     M A N A G E R S   
Scott Lever, Mission manager Mike Seibert, Mission manager Al Herrera, Mission manager
Scott Lever Mike Seibert Al Herrera
P R E V I O U S    M I S S I O N    M A N A G E R S
Matt Keuneke, Mission Manager Cindy Oda, Mission Manager Rich Morris, Mission Manager Bill Nelson, Mission manager
Matt Keuneke Cindy Oda Richard Morris Bill Nelson
Byron Jones, Mission Manager Mark Adler, Mission Manager Leo Bister, Mission manager Beth Dewell, Mission Manager
Byron Jones Mark Adler Leo Bister Beth Dewell
Emily Eelkema, Mission Manager Jeff Favretto, Mission Manager Soina Ghandchi, Mission Manager Andy Mishkin, Mission Manager
Emily Eelkema Jeff Favretto Saina Ghandchi Andy Mishkin
Art Thompson, Mission Manager Rick Welch, Mission Manager Colette Lohr, Mission Manager Dan Gaines, Mission Manager
Art Thompson Rick Welch Colette Lohr Dan Gaines

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sols 4440-4445, July 20, 2016-July 25, 2016: Opportunity Surpasses 43 Kilometers on the Odometer!

Opportunity is wrapping up the exploration 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater.

The rover did experience an unexpected drive termination caused by the right-front wheel. On Sol 4440 (July 20, 2016), tests were performed on the wheels and the rover backed up 4 feet (1.3 meters). All tests were nominal. The project suspects it was a terrain interaction during a difficult turn in place for the rover. On Sol 4441 (July 21, 2016), Opportunity drove over 112 feet (34 meters) heading to the next waypoint. As is typical, post-drive Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panoramas were collected. A full 360-degree Navcam panorama was completed on the next sol along with targeted Pancam imagery.

On Sol 4443 (July 23, 2016), the rover drove again, traveling almost 85 feet (26 meters), passing 26.72 miles (43 kilometers) of total odometry. More post-drive imagery was collected. A cloud movie was shot on the morning of Sol 4444 (July 24, 2015). On Sol 4445 (July 25, 2016), Opportunity drove another 108 feet (33 meters) heading closer to its waypoint.

As of Sol 4445 (July 25, 2016), the solar array energy production is 605 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.599 and a solar array dust factor of 0.670.

Total odometry is 26.75 miles (43.05 kilometers).




sols 4433-4439, July 13, 2016-July 19, 2016: Active Science on Mars 40 Years After Viking

Opportunity is exploring "Marathon Valley" on the rim of Endeavour crater, investigating outcrops for evidence of clay minerals.

The rover is nearing the completion of its exploration within Marathon Valley before departing. At the current location within the valley Opportunity has been collecting extensive Panoramic Camera (Pancam) color imagery of "Hinner's Point" on the north side of the valley. The rover is also near a rock, called 'Bashful.'

In honor of the Viking mission 40th anniversary, the MER project is reusing some of the naming themes from Viking.

On Sol 4436 (July 16, 2016), Opportunity completed the in-situ (contact) science of Bashful with a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and a 1-cm offset placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). A successful 52-foot (16-meter) drive away from Bashful was performed on the next sol. On Sol 4438 (July 18, 2016), the plan was to continue driving. However, rover flight software stopped the drive just as the initial turn for the drive began. Evidence suggests that the terrain was causing excessive load on the right-front wheel. Being cautious, the project conducted a set of diagnostics on Sol 4439 (July 19, 2016). Preliminary analysis still points to a terrain effect, but more diagnostics are planned for Sol 4440 (July 20, 2016). The rover is otherwise in good health.

As of Sol 4439 (July 19, 2016), the solar array energy production is 635 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.639 and a solar array dust factor of 0.715.

Total odometry is 26.69 miles (42.95 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4426-4432, July 06, 2016-July 12, 2016: A Few Drives and Some Imaging Before Wrapping Up Work Within Marathon Valley

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater, investigating outcrops for evidence of clay minerals.

The rover is nearing the completion of its exploration within Marathon Valley. On Sol 4426 (July 6, 2016), Opportunity drove 51 feet (15.45 meters) to the northwest. As with each drive, the rover collects post-drive Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas to support the next drive. The rover used the next sol for a Flash bank readout and some targeted Panoramic Camera (Pancam) imagery. More targeted imagery was also collected over the next two sols.

On Sol 4430 (July 10, 2016), Opportunity drove 27 feet (8.33 meters) towards a rock target of interest. More post-drive Navcam panoramas were collected. On Sol 4432 (July 12, 2016), the rover bumped every-so-slightly (~1 cm) to position for in-situ (contact) work on the rock target.

As of Sol 4432 (July 12, 2016), the solar array energy production is 609.6 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.596 and a solar array dust factor of 0.718.

Total odometry is 26.68 miles (42.94 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4418-4425, June 28, 2016-July 05, 2016: Wrapping up Studies in Marathon Valley

Opportunity is exploring Marathon Valley on the rim of Endeavour crater, investigating outcrops for evidence of clay minerals.

The rover is nearing the completion of its exploration within Marathon Valley with investigations in the center of the valley. On Sol 4418 (June 28, 2016), the rover drove back to target 'York' to re-take the Pancam images that were lost during the Sol 4415 (June 25, 2016) relay pass. On Sol 4419 (June 29, 2016) Opportunity successfully took the image, but planners could not confirm this before the next planning session for Sols 4420-4422 (June 30, 2016-July 2, 2016).

Because of the importance of these images, rover planners decided to stay in place while they awaited confirmation that they were relayed back to Earth. In the meantime, Opportunity took images of the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) bit to assess its condition. After confirming receipt of the Pancam images of York, Opportunity drove back on Sol 4423 (July 3, 2016) to the northwest, toward the site dubbed 'The Mesa'.

As of Sol 4425 (July 5, 2016), the solar array energy production is 644 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.551 and a solar array dust factor of 0.718.

Total odometry as of Sol 4423 (July 3, 2016) is 26.6 miles, (42.91 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4413-4417, June 22, 2016-June 27, 2016: Finishing Science Investigations at the Center of 'Marathon Valley'

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater, investigating outcrops for evidence of clay minerals.

The rover is nearing the completion of its exploration within Marathon Valley with investigations in the center of the valley. Opportunity is finishing one of its final in-situ campaigns inside the valley.

On Sol 4413 (June 22, 2016), the rover continued with the investigation of the surface target 'York' with the collection of another set of Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaics followed by an offset placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). On the next sol, Opportunity continued with some targeted Panoramic Camera (Pancam) color imagery.

With the in-situ (contact) work complete at 'York,' the rover drove away with a 118 feet (36-meter) drive to the northwest. Before leaving the target, Opportunity snapped some 13-filter Pancam imagery of the in-situ work site. However, due to relay bandwidth variability these Pancam images were not received on the ground. Other Pancam and Navigation Camera (Navcam) images of the north wall of Marathon Valley were collected and received. The project is considering a drive back to 'York' to re-take these high-value Pancam images of the surface target.

As of Sol 4417 (June 27, 2016), the solar array energy production is 645.8 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.561 and a solar array dust factor of 0.725.

Total odometry is 26.63 miles (42.85 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4406-4412, June 15, 2016-June 21, 2016: Opportunity is on its Final Science Campaign at 'Marathon Valley'

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater, investigating outcrops for evidence of clay minerals.

The rover is nearing the completion of its investigation within Marathon Valley. Opportunity is engaged in one of its final big in-situ campaigns inside Marathon Valley.

On Sol 4406 (June 15, 2016), the rover bumped about 10 inches (25 centimeters) to line up for some surface targets. On the following sol, Opportunity used the robotic arm to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the target and then placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for a multi-hour integration.

Opportunity then on the next sol turned to line up with the next nearby target with a 17-inch (43-centimeter) bump. This was followed with a regular calibration of the MI with some 'sky flat' images. The rover used the next two sols to collect a 360-degree Navigation Camera panorama and to perform a 'sky flat' calibration of the Panoramic Camera. Then, on Sol 4411 (June 20, 2016), Opportunity collected a Microscopic Imager mosaic of this new target and followed that with the APXS placement. On Sol 4412 (June 21, 2016), Opportunity used the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) wire brush to brush clean that surface target and followed that with another MI mosaic and APXS placement and integration. The next step will be to consider a RAT grind of that target.

As of Sol 4412 (June 21, 2016), the solar array energy production is 644 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.614 and a solar array dust factor of 0.721.

Total odometry is 26.60 miles (42.81 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4399-4405, June 08, 2016-June 14, 2016: Opportunity Wraps up Work on 'Wheel Scuff'

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater, investigating outcrops for evidence of clay minerals.

The rover is close to completing its investigations within Marathon Valley. On Sol 4400 (June 9, 2016), Opportunity continued with the in-situ (contact) investigation of the area that was scuffed by the rover wheel. The rover collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the 'red pebble' target and then placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same for a multi-hour integration.

On Sols 4402 and 4403 (June 11 and 12), Opportunity performed a 2-sol plan each with MI imagery and further offset APXS placements to map out the elemental constituents of the target. On Sol 4404 (June 13, 2016), the rover bumped back, collected 13-filter images of the work area, then bumped further back, totaling 4.6 feet (1.4 meters).

With the work complete at this site, Opportunity drove away on Sol 4405 (June 14, 2016), with a 62-feet (19-meter) drive heading towards the center of the area where a clay mineral signature has been observed from orbit.

As of Sol 4405 (June 14, 2016), the solar array energy production is 658 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.645 and a solar array dust factor of 0.752.

Total odometry is 26.60 miles (42.81 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4392-4398, June 01, 2016-June 07, 2016: Examining Pebbles Exposed by 'Wheel Scuff'

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater, investigating outcrops for evidence of clay minerals.

The rover is continuing to examine a previously trenched (scuffed) surface where distinct pebbles have become a focus of interest for the science team. On Sol 4392 (June 1, 2016), Opportunity continued the investigation of a 'yellow' pebble with an offset positioning of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). This pebble has exhibited an elevated sulfate composition. Offset APXS measurements allow the 'teasing out' of the elements associated with the pebble versus those in the background (soil).

Over the next two sols, the APXS was allowed to integrate while the rover collected several multi-color panoramic images of the surroundings. On Sol 4395 (June 4, 2016), the rover performed another offset positioning of the APXS followed with a multi-hour integration. On the next sol, a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic was collected using the robotic arm and the APXS was offset again for yet another integration.

On Sol 4398 (June 7, 2016), with the work complete on the 'yellow' pebble, the rover bumped about 4 inches (10 centimeters) to another pebble of interest for in-situ (contact) investigation over the coming sols.

As of Sol 4398 (June 7, 2016), the solar array energy production is 637 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.597 and a solar array dust factor of 0.735.

Total odometry is 26.59 miles (42.79 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4385-4391, May 25, 2016-May 31, 2016: Study of 'Wheel Scuff' Continues

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater, investigating outcrops for evidence of clay minerals. The rover is continuing to examine a previously trenched (scuffed) surface.

On Sol 4385 (May 25, 2016), Opportunity collected some more targeted Panoramic Camera (Pancam) 13-filter images and continued with an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) integration on the surface target. Then, on Sol 4386 (May 26, 2016), Opportunity bumped ever so slightly (about 1 cm) in order to reach a particular yellow pebble in the trenched area. The rover collected more targeted 13-filter Pancam images. And then on Sol 4389 (May 29, 2016), Opportunity used the robotic arm (IDD) to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the yellow pebble and to position the APXS just above the pebble (since it was too small to make a contact placement). More targeted color Pancam images have been collected over the subsequent sols.

As of Sol 4391 (May 31, 2016), the solar array energy production is 643 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.566 and a solar array dust factor of 0.738.

Total odometry is 26.59 miles (42.79 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4378-4384, May 17, 2016-May 24, 2016: Investigating the Soil Exposed with the Rover Wheel

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater, inspecting specific outcrops for evidence of clay minerals.

Previously, the rover used the left-front wheel to scuff a red vein feature to break up and expose its compositional material for further investigation. On Sol 4379 (May 18, 2016), Opportunity bumped 6 feet (1.75 meters) back towards the scuff to set up for an in-situ (contact) investigation of the scuffed material. The rover also collected some targeted Panoramic Camera (Pancam) 13-filter images and a Navigation Camera (Navcam) panorama.

On Sol 4381 (May 21, 2016), Opportunity began the contact investigation using the robotic arm to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the scuff and then place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same. On the next sol, the rover offset the APXS on the scuff by about 1 centimeter and performed another integration. Opportunity continued on the next sol with yet another APXS offset placement, more MI mosaics and some more targeted Pancam 13-filter imaging.

As of Sol 4384 (May 24, 2016), the solar array energy production is 636 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.605 and a solar array dust factor of 0.756.

Total odometry is 26.59 miles (42.79 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4372-4377, May 11, 2016-May 16, 2016: Opportunity Collects a Panorama and Uses Wheel to 'Scuff' the Soil for a Closer Look

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater, searching specific outcrops for evidence of clay minerals.

The rover is currently conducting an in-situ (contact) science investigation on an outcrop target, called 'Pierre Pinaut.' The rover has also been collecting a beautiful full-color panorama of the surrounding location.

On Sol 4372 (May 11, 2016), Opportunity collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the target previously ground by the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT). This was followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same. On the next sol, the RAT brush was used to clean the ground target of tailings and another MI mosaic was taken with another APXS placement. Following on the next sol, the APXS was offset just a half inch (1.25 centimeters) for another elemental integration. With the contact work complete, on Sol 4375 (May 14, 2016), Opportunity backed away and collected some Panoramic Camera (Pancam) color imagery of the target.

On Sol 4377 (May 16, 2016), the rover used the left-front wheel to scuff a red vein feature to break up and expose its compositional material for further investigation.

As of Sol 4377 (May 16, 2016), the solar array energy production is 672 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.542 and a solar array dust factor of 0.770.

Total odometry is 26.59 miles (42.79 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4365-4371, May 04, 2016-May 10, 2016: Microscopic Imaging Camera on Robotic Arm Back to Normal Operations

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater, searching specific outcrops for evidence of clay minerals.

The rover is currently conducting an in-situ (contact) science investigation on an outcrop target dubbed 'Pierre Pinaut.' The imaging problems we were experiencing previously were traced to a sequencing error, and Opportunity has returned to normal operations as of the Sol 4367 (May 6, 2016), plan.

In that plan we recaptured the Microscopic Image (MI) mosaic of the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) grind from Sol 4363 (May 2, 2016), and discovered that the grind had not gone deep enough. Therefore, a further grind (to a desired depth of 2-3 millimeters) was performed in the Sol 4370 (May 9, 2016), plan. This appears to have been successful and an MI mosaic of the new RAT hole is planned for Sol 4372 (May 11, 2016). In addition, multiple APXS integrations have been performed on both the previous and current RAT holes during this period.

As of Sol 4371 (May 10, 2016), the solar array energy production is 653 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.458 and a solar array dust factor of 0.752.

Total odometry is 26.58 miles (42.78 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4358-4364, April 27 - May 3, 2016: Investigations on Microscopic Imaging Camera Continue

Opportunity is exploring Marathon Valley on the rim of Endeavour crater, searching specific outcrops for evidence of clay minerals.

The rover is currently conducting an in-situ (contact) science investigation on an outcrop called "Pierre Pinaut". On Sol 4360 (April 29, 2016), after some Pancam color imaging and completing an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurement on the outcrop, Opportunity used the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) on the robotic arm to brush clean the surface of the rock and placed the APXS back down again. On that same sol, another imaging command hung, or was not executed, but was cleared in the post sequence cleanup.

On Sol 4361 (April 30, 2016), the robotic arm moved out of the way to allow clear imaging of the brushed surface with the Pancam color camera. Opportunity collected more Pancam color panoramas on the next sol. On Sol 4363 (May 2, 2016), the same brushed rock was now ground with the RAT to a depth of about 0.04 inches (1 millimeter) and the APXS placed back down again for a post-grind measurement. On Sol 4364 (May 3, 2016), another incomplete camera request prevented collecting Microscopic Images (MIs). Again the "stuck" image was cleared and operations continued with more Pancam panoramas. The project continues to investigate the camera hanging issue and has developed a process to clear the hung camera as soon as it occurs, allowing all subsequent imaging to proceed.

As of Sol 4364 (May 2, 2016), the solar array energy production is 645 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.508 and a solar array dust factor of 0.774.

Total odometry is 26.58 miles (42.78 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4351-4357, April 20, 2016-April 26, 2016: Camera on Robotic Arm Passes Diagnostic Test

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater, trying to identify specific outcrops for evidence of clay minerals.

The rover has been investigating the surface target, called 'Pierre Pinaut.' The rover experienced an anomalous camera fault on Sol 4350 (April 19, 2016), during a Microscopic Image (MI) mosaic, so the activities in that plan did not complete. Opportunity then performed two sets of diagnostics on Sol 4352 (April 21, 2016). The MI images completed normally and several Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panoramas taken before and after the MI camera anomaly completed normally. On Sol 4354 (April 23, 2016), the original MI activity using the robotic arm from Sol 4350 (April 19, 2016), was repeated successfully which included the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). More Pancam panoramas were collected on the next sol. On Sol 4357 (April 26, 2016), the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) on the robotic arm was used to brush the surface target, followed by the placement of the APXS for a long integration.

As of Sol 4357 (April 26, 2016), the solar array energy production is 618 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.541 and a solar array dust factor of 0.764.

Total odometry is 26.58 miles (42.78 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4344-4350, April 13, 2016-April 19, 2016: Rover Completes Mini-Walkabout

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' located on the rim of Endeavour crater. The objective is to identify specific outcrops for evidence of clay minerals.

Opportunity has completed a mini-'walkabout' with extensive imaging of the region and is now beginning the in-situ (contact) investigation. On Sol 4345 (April 14, 2016), the rover moved just about 8 feet (2.5 meters), approaching a target for investigation with the robotic arm instruments. On Sol 4347 (April 16, 2016), Opportunity used the robotic arm to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target, named 'Pierre Pinaut.' This was followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same target for a multi-hour integration. In between these activities, the rover continues to collect extensive Panoramic Color (Pancam) color panoramas, Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas and targeted multi-filter images.

On Sol 4350 (April 19, 2016), Opportunity attempted to collect additional MI mosaics, but a goal error occurred because the first image with the MI camera did not complete. This is an anomaly that has seen before where a camera image fails to complete. The project is investigating this and is preparing diagnostics to run on the camera system.

As of Sol 4350 (April 19, 2016), the solar array energy production is 635 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.461 and a solar array dust factor of 0.762.

Total odometry is 26.58 miles (42.78 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4338-4343, April 06, 2016-April 11, 2016: Rover Mini-Walkabout to Find Clay Mineral Continues

Opportunity is exploring the south side of 'Marathon Valley' located on the rim of Endeavour crater.

The objective is to identify specific outcrops for evidence of clay minerals, so Opportunity is conducting a mini-'walkabout' in regions that show evidence for clay minerals seen from orbit. The plan is to quickly survey a large region with imagery and then identify surface targets of interest for further in-situ (contact) investigation.

At each drive location on the walkabout, the rover collects extensive Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panoramas plus targeted multi-filter (color) Pancam panoramas. Energy levels have been very good, so the rover was able to stay up late and collect an atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on Sol 4338 (April 6, 2016), after spending the day collecting a multi-frame Pancam panorama. The previous few drives had indicated an elevation in the right-front wheel current. Some of that is explained by the steep terrain the rover is climbing.

The team sequenced a set of 'cleat cams' (sub-framed Hazardous Camera images) of the front wheels on Sol 4339 (April 7, 2016), to make sure there were no small rocks that might be fouling the wheels. The wheels were found to be clear of any rocks. On Sol 4340 (April 8, 2016), a set of Microscopic Imager (MI) sky flats (calibration images) were collected using the robotic arm to point the MI up at the diffuse sky. More Pancam and Navcam panoramic imaging was collected at this location. On the next sol, Opportunity drove about 45 feet (13.7 meters) to the southwest to set up for the next imagining station. Over the next two sols the rover collected extensive Pancam and Navcam imagery.

As of Sol 4343 (April 11, 2016), the solar array energy production is 617 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.459 and a solar array dust factor of 0.785.

Total odometry is 26.58 miles (42.78 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4331-4337, March 30, 2016-April 05, 2016: Opportunity Captures Swirling Dust Devil at Endeavour Crater

Opportunity is exploring the south side of 'Marathon Valley' located on the rim of Endeavour crater. The rover is up on the slopes of 'Knudsen Ridge.'

The objective is to identify specific outcrops for evidence of clay minerals. Opportunity is conducting a mini-'walkabout' in regions that show evidence for clay minerals observed from orbit. The plan is to quickly survey a large region with imagery and then identify surface targets of interest for further in-situ (contact) investigation. At each drive location on the walkabout, the rover collects a 360-degree Navigation Camera (Navcam) panorama plus targeted multi-filter (color) Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panoramas.

On Sol 4332 (March 31, 2016), Opportunity captured a Navcam image of a spectacular dust devil out in the interior of Endeavour crater, a rare sighting for Opportunity in Meridiani. Also on that sol, an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) performed a measurement of atmospheric argon. On the next sol, in addition to all the site survey imagery, the rover also collected documentary imagery of the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) bit to assess remaining grind capability.

On Sol 4334 (April 2, 2016), the rover headed west with a 15.4-meter drive, collecting more Navcam and Pancam panoramas. On Sol 4337 (April 5, 2016) Opportunity turned southwest and drove about 15.5 meters in its walkabout with more imaging before and after the drive.

As of Sol 4337 (April 5, 2016), the solar array energy production is 650 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.470 and a solar array dust factor of 0.817.

Total odometry is 26.57 miles (42.77 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4324-4330, March 23, 2016-March 29, 2016: Climbing to Clay-Mineral Site Seen from Orbit

Opportunity is exploring the south side of 'Marathon Valley' located on the rim of Endeavour crater. The rover is up on the slopes of 'Knudsen Ridge.'

The objective is to identify specific outcrops for evidence of clay minerals. Opportunity has been driving towards high-slope regions that show evidence for clay minerals observed from orbit. With each drive the rover has bee collected extensive pre-drive and post-drive Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas to document the terrain.

On Sol 4325 (March 24, 2016), Opportunity drove west intending to cover about 49 feet (15 meters), but only achieved about 22 feet (6.8 meters). Visual Odometry (VO), which is used to track the rover's progress and direction, had difficulty converging on the featureless terrain around the rover. Visual Odometry works by tracking local surface features in the terrain as the rover moves. Another drive was sequenced on Sol 4328 (March 27, 2016), for about 79 feet (24 meters), but again the drive stopped after only 55 feet (16.9 meters) again due to lack of VO convergence on the featureless terrain. More progress was made on the next sol with a 22-foot (6.6-meter) drive to the southwest and on Sol 4330 (March 29, 2016), with a 43-foot (12.9-meter) drive also to the southwest.

Opportunity is now believed to be in the area of the clay minerals seen from orbit. The rover is documenting the terrain with extensive Pancam color (multi-filter) panoramas. Energy levels have also improved markedly, a combination of improving solar insolation with season and dust cleaning events on the solar arrays.

As of Sol 4330 (March 29, 2016), the solar array energy production has increased to 650 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.589 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.857 (although this number may be affected by atmospheric clouds).

Total odometry is 26.55 miles (42.74 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4317-4323, March 16, 2016-March 22, 2016: Opportunity Moves to New Locations to the Southwest

Opportunity is exploring the south side of "Marathon Valley" located on the rim of Endeavour crater. The rover is up on the slopes of 'Knudsen Ridge."

The objective is to identify specific outcrops for evidence of clay minerals. Opportunity recently backed down off of some of the steepest slopes of the mission and has begun the move to new locations to the southwest. Supporting Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images were collected on Sols 4318 and 4319 (March 17 and March 18, 2016), to identify future targets and drive paths.

On Sol 4320 (March 19, 2016), the rover drove about 31 feet (9.5 meters) to the southwest towards areas of putative phyllosilicate clays. Again, supporting Navcam and Pancam panoramas were collected after the drive to set up for the next drive. On Sol 4323 (March 22, 2016), Opportunity headed due west about 41 feet (12.5 meters). An atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was sequenced for that evening.

As of Sol 4323 (March 22, 2016), the solar array energy production was 576 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.423 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.764.

Total odometry is 26.53 miles (42.69 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4311-4316, March 10, 2016-March 15, 2016: Rover Goes Back Downhill

Opportunity is exploring within 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater. The rover is up on the slopes of 'Knudsen Ridge.'

The primary objective is to examine specific outcrop types for evidence of clay minerals. The current objective had been to reach the surface science target 'Pvt. Joseph Whitehouse' (named after a member of the Corps of Discovery). However, with slopes in excess of 30 degrees and some gravel terrain under the wheels, Opportunity was unable to reach the intended target.

On Sol 4311 (March 10, 2016), the rover made only 3.5 inches (9 centimeters) of progress after almost 66 feet (20 meters) of commanded wheel motion. This was the third attempt to reach this very interesting target. In the end, the team decided to abandon this target and back away. On Sol 4313 (March 12, 2016), the rover backed down from this target with a 7-foot (2-meter) drive.

Documentary imagery in both Navigation Cameras (Navcams) and Panoramic Cameras (Pancams) where collected. An overnight Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measure of atmospheric argon was also collected. More readouts of Flash memory were performed. On Sol 4316 (March 15, 2016), the rover moved further downhill, driving about 22 feet (6.7 meters) north to set up for a longer drive towards the next science target along Knudsen Ridge.

As of Sol 4316 (March 15, 2016), the solar array energy production was 559 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.524 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.760.

Total odometry is 26.51 miles (42.67 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4304-4310, March 02, 2015-March 09, 2016: Rover on Slippery Slopes

Opportunity is exploring within 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater. The rover is up on the slopes of 'Knudsen Ridge.'

On Sol 4303 (March 1, 2016), a 6-feet (1.9-meter) drive repositioned the rover for a better angle on 'Pvt. Joseph Whitehouse,' a small cobble named for a member of Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery. Post-drive imagery of the new position was then collected. Slippage from the steep slopes required another 4 feet (1.2 meter) drive on Sol 4304 (March 2, 2016). That drive also experienced significant slip but continued to make uphill progress toward the cobble. More local imagery was taken after the drive. The following Sol, a Panoramic Camera (Pancam) mosaic was taken of the Pvt. Joseph Whitehouse environs and the rover deck was imaged for dust monitoring. On Sol 4306 (March 4, 2016), missed frames from the Whitehouse mosaic were retaken.

Another approach drive was attempted on Sol 4307 (March 6, 2016), but slip caused the drive to end prematurely. Afterwards post-drive imaging was taken. The following Sol additional frames of the Knudsen Ridge mosaic were taken. On Sol 4308 (March 7, 2016), more Navigation Camera (Navcam) images were taken of the immediate area and more images were taken of the deck for dust monitoring. Yet another drive was attempted on Sol 4309 (March 8, 2016), only to be terminated again by high tilts and slip. The following morning a Navcam cloud movie was taken and later Pancam multi-filter images of the foreground. That afternoon, more Pancam dust monitoring images were taken.

As of Sol 4310 (March 9, 2016), the solar array energy production was 548 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.431 and a solar array dust factor of 0.716.

Total odometry is 26.51 miles (42.66 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4297-4303, February 24, 2016-March 01, 2016: Seeking Clay Minerals on Steeper Slopes

Opportunity is exploring steep outcrops within Marathon Valley on the rim of Endeavour crater.

The rover is up on the very steep slopes of 'Knudsen Ridge'. The objective is to examine specific outcrop types for evidence of clay minerals. On Sol 4297 (Feb. 24, 2016), the rover performed its first contact measurements of an exposed rock named 'Charles Caugee' (named for a member of the Corps of Discovery). At this site, Opportunity used her robotic arm to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and then place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same for a multi-hour integration. Opportunity collected Pancam and Navcam images on the following sol of the area around the rover. On Sol 4299 (Feb. 26, 2016) Opportunity bumped about 1 meter (3 feet) towards a target up a steep slope and took more images. Another bump up the slope by the rover on Sol 4302 (Feb. 29, 2016) brought the rover 1.9 meters (6.2 feet) closer towards the intended target, named 'Pvt. Joseph Whitehouse' (another member of the Corps of Discovery).

As of Sol 4303 (March 1, 2016) the solar array energy production was 585 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.429 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.736.

Total odometry is 26.51 miles (42.66 kilometers) more than a marathon.




sols 4290-4296, February 17, 2016-February 23, 2016: Rover Begins Contact Science of Rock Target on 'Knudsen Ridge'

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater. The rover is up on the very steep slopes of 'Knudsen Ridge.'

Opportunity has begun the in-situ (contact) investigation of the current site. On Sol 4291 (Feb. 18, 2016), the rover bumped about 27 inches (68 centimeters) towards the first surface target, called 'Charles Caugee' (named for a member of the Corps of Discovery). After the successful bump, more documentary imagery was collected using both the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam).

Then, on Sol 4295 (Feb. 22, 2016), the robotic arm was used to collect a detailed Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic. The plan ahead is to place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) to collect elemental information about this target.

As of Sol 4296 (Feb. 23, 2016), the solar array energy production was 543 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.409 and a solar array dust factor of 0.707.

Total odometry is 26.51 miles (42.66 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4283-4289, February 10, 2016-February 16, 2016: Prepping for Slope Investigations

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater. The rover is perched on the steep slopes of 'Knudsen Ridge'.

For the past week, Opportunity has continued to collect extensive color Pancam panoramas of the location around the rover in preparation for in-situ (contact) investigation of the different rock units. On Sol 4284 (Feb. 11, 2016) Opportunity did not Deep Sleep, but just napped overnight so that engineers could collect battery information throughout that night. The rover is expected to 'bump' on Sol 4291 (Feb. 18, 2016) to the first of several targets.

As of Sol 4289 (Feb. 16, 2016), the solar array energy production was 506 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.433 and a solar array dust factor of 0.677.

Total odometry is 26.51 miles (42.66 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4276-4282, February 03, 2016-February 09, 2016: Taking Panoramic Views and Prepping for Science

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater. The rover is up on very steep slopes to reach high-value science targets on 'Knudsen Ridge.'

For the past week, Opportunity has been collecting extensive Pancam panoramas of the location all around Knudsen Ridge. One important purpose is to collect detailed imagery of the surface targets that the rover will approach next for detailed in-situ (contact) investigation.

As of Sol 4282 (Feb. 9, 2016), the solar array energy production was 493 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.443 and a solar array dust factor of 0.675.

Total odometry is 26.51 miles (42.66 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4269-4275, January 26, 2016-February 02, 2016: Climbing Steeper Slopes to Reach Science Targets

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater. The rover is climbing up steep slopes to reach high-value science targets up on 'Knudsen Ridge.'

Opportunity performed the first of two steep climbs on Sol 4269 (Jan. 26, 2016), with just less than 16 feet (5 meters) for progress on slopes nearing 30 degrees. On the next sol, the rover ascended further up slope about 14 feet (4.4 meters) reaching tilts just under 30 degrees. For the next fives sols Opportunity conducted extensive Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) imaging surveys of the potential rock targets and ridge outcrop in front of the rover in preparation for extensive in-situ (contact) science campaigns on the geologic units high up on this ridge line.

As of Sol 4275 (Feb. 2, 2016), the solar array energy production was 498 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.459 and a solar array dust factor of 0.683.

Total odometry is 26.51 miles (42.66 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4263-4268, January 20, 2016-January 25, 2016: Opportunity Reaches 12 Years on Mars!

Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater. The rover is up on north-facing slopes for improved solar array energy production.

The rover is conducting an in-situ (contact) science campaign on the surface target 'Joseph Collin' (informally named for members of the Lewis and Clark expedition).

The target appears as a curious, unconsolidated pile of coarse, dark grains. On Sol 4263 (Jan. 20, 2016), Opportunity began two sols of investigation using the robotic arm instruments. On each sol, extensive Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaics were collected. Each was followed with a unique placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for elemental identification. Over the next 3 days (sols), the rover attitude was updated and a series of Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas were collected.

On Sol 4268 (Jan. 25, 2016), the final work on this in-situ target was completed with the raising of the robotic arm off the target and the collection of some documentary imagery. The rover is now set to drive away from this site towards new targets up-slope from the current location.

As of Sol 4268 (Jan. 25, 2016), the solar array energy production was 469 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.478 and a solar array dust factor of 0.691.

Total odometry is 26.50 miles (42.65 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4256-4262, January 13, 2016-January 19, 2016: Rock Abrasion Tool Conducts Two Rock Grinds

Opportunity is inside 'Marathon Valley,' up on north-facing slopes for improved solar array energy production.

The rover is conducting an in-situ (contact) science campaign on the surface target 'Pvt. John Potts' (informally named for members of the Lewis and Clark expedition). Previously, Opportunity had performed two successful Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) grinds on this target totaling over 1 millimeter of grind depth.

On Sol 4257 (Jan. 14, 2016), the rover used the RAT again to grind another millimeter. With the grinding complete, the RAT brushed the target on Sol 4259 (Jan. 16, 2016), sweeping away the grind tailings. Then, a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic was collected followed with the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) inside the ground target.

Also during this time, the rover continued collecting color Panoramic (Pancam) images of 'Knudsen Ridge' to form a large panorama mosaic of the valley ridge. With the in-situ work now complete on this target, on Sol 4262 (Jan. 19, 2016), the rover bumped only 2 inches (5 centimeters) to position for another target for in-situ investigation.

As of Sol 4262 (Jan. 19, 2016), the solar array energy production was 454 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.471 and a solar array dust factor of 0.670.

Total odometry is 26.50 miles (42.65 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4247-4255, January 04, 2016-January 12, 2016: Rover Uses Rock Abrasion Tool to Grind Rocks

Opportunity is inside 'Marathon Valley' on north-facing slopes for improved solar array energy production.

The rover is engaged in an in-situ (contact) science campaign investigating the surface target 'Pvt. John Potts' (informally named for members of the Lewis and Clark expedition).

Opportunity is performing successive grinds into the target to prepare a clean surface for elemental analysis by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). An initial grid by the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) had been previously completed, so a survey of the grind was performed on Sol 4248 (Jan. 5, 2016), with the Microscopic Imager (MI) with an initial analysis with the APXS. Color Pancam panoramas of various targets were collected on Sols 4249 and 4250 (Jan. 6 and 7, 2016). On Sol 4253 (Jan. 10, 2016), a seek scan with the RAT bit was performed in setup to another RAT grind on a subsequent sol. On Sol 4255 (Jan. 12, 2016), two steps of a deeper grind were performed on the target. The RAT was left in place so even deeper grinding could be performed later.

As of Sol 4255 (Jan. 12, 2016), the solar array energy production was 452 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.446 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.666.

Total odometry is 26.50 miles (42.65 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4229-4246, December 16, 2015-January 03, 2016: Opportunity Welcomes Winter Solstice

Opportunity is inside 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover is positioned on steep, north-facing slopes for improved solar array energy production.

The winter solstice occurred on Sol 4246 (Jan. 3, 2016), although solar insolation already started to improve. The near-term objective is to position the rover to be able to grind a high-value surface target with the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT). This target may hold some of the clues as to the origin of the clay spectral signature detected in Marathon Valley.

On Sol 4229 (Dec. 16, 2015), Opportunity bumped about 14 inches (35 centimeters) to set up for an extended in-situ (contact) science campaign through the holiday season. Over the holiday period, Opportunity proceeded to use the robotic arm to collect Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaics of the surface targets as well as place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for surface elemental analysis. Winter power levels and late Odyssey passes made planning difficult with some sols being used as recharge days.

On Sol 4234 (Dec. 22, 2015), Opportunity was able to use the RAT to brush the surface target 'Pvt. John Potts.' This was followed with more MI mosaics and APXS measurements. On Sol 4244 (Jan. 1, 2016), the RAT was used again, this time to grind (1 millimeter) into the surface target. More MI mosaics and APXS elemental analysis of the ground target followed.

As of Sol 4246 (Jan. 3, 2016), the solar array energy production was 449 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.414 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.658.

Total odometry is 26.50 miles (42.65 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4222-4228, December 9, 2015-December 15, 2015: Rover On Steeper Slopes

Opportunity is inside “Marathon Valley” on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned on steep slopes for improved solar array energy production. The near-term object is to position the rover to be able to grind a high-value surface target with the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT). This target may hold some of the clues as to the origin of the clay spectral signature detected in Marathon Valley.

On Sol 4222 (Dec. 9, 2015), Opportunity bumped back about 12 feet (3.65 meters) to set up for an approach to this target on a very steep slope. On the next sol, the rover bumped forward about 28 inches (70 centimeters), but because of the steep slopes the drive stopped as wheel currents exceeded protective set points for this steep terrain. A second attempt was made on the next sol to approach this same target. Again the steep terrain caused the drive to stop after only 3.6 feet (1.1 meters) of wheel motion. Slips as high as 50 percent (not uncommon for this steep terrain) were seen on the last drive step.

The rover used the next sol to perform a robotic arm salute to allow unobstructed imagery in front of the rover. Then on Sol 4227 (Dec. 14, 2015), Opportunity backed down slope about 10 feet (3 meters), collecting both pre-drive and post-drive imagery. On the next sol, the rover drove about 14 feet (4.4 meters) to approach the target from a more lateral direction. An approach bump is planned for the next sol.

As of Sol 4221 (Dec. 8, 2015), the solar array energy production was 407 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.438 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.660.

Total odometry is 26.50 miles (42.65 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4215-4221, December 2, 2015-December 8, 2015: A Week of Robotic Arm Activities

Opportunity is inside “Marathon Valley” on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned on a steep slope with an approximately 19-degree northerly tilt for improved solar array energy production. On Sol 4215 (Dec. 2, 2015), the robotic arm was used to collect imaging of the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) bit. That imagery will allow the assessment of remaining grind bit life before the next RAT grind. Also, with the robotic arm out of the way, unobstructed Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images of the surface target, "Pvt. Hugh McNeal" were taken. Finally, the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was placed on the surface target by the robotic arm for the next sol's integration. More Pancam imagery was collected over subsequent sols.

On Sol 4219 (Dec. 6, 2015), the RAT was used to brush the surface target and then the APXS was placed, slight offset, on the surface target. On Sol 4220 (Dec. 7, 2015), another tuck of the robotic arm was done to allow unobstructed images of the surface to be taken. Then, the Microscopic Imager (MI) was used to collect a detailed surface mosaic, followed by the placement of the APXS for a short integration. On the next sol, another MI mosaic was collected and more color Pancam panoramas were taken.

As of Sol 4221 (Dec. 8, 2015), the solar array energy production was 419 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.430 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.660.

Total odometry is 26.49 miles (42.63 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4202-4214, November 19, 2015-December 01, 2015: Arm Raised to Take in the View

Opportunity is inside 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover is positioned on steep, north-facing slopes for improved solar array energy production. On Sol 4202 (Nov. 19. 2105), the robotic arm was raised so Panoramic Camera (Pancam) color images could be collected without an obstructed view of the foreground. On Sol 4206 (Nov. 23, 2015), a small bump of less than 3 feet (a meter) was performed to position some surface targets within the work volume of the robotic arm.

Additional Flash bank readouts were performed to support the Flash memory diagnostics. On subsequent sols, both Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Pancam imagery were collected. On Sol 4211 (Nov. 28, 2015), the robotic arm was used to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target, named 'Pvt. Hugh McNeal.' This was followed with the placing of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same for multi-sol integration.

As of Sol 4214 (Dec. 1, 2015), the solar array energy production was 387 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.544 and a solar array dust factor of 0.643.

Total odometry is 26.49 miles (42.63 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4194-4201, November 10, 2015-November 18, 2015: Returning to RAM

Opportunity is within 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

After several sols of operating using Flash storage, the rover switched to using just RAM during Sol 4194 (Nov. 10, 2015), in order to safely use the robotic arm. The Microscopic Imager (MI) collected a mosaic of the surface target, 'Pvt. Ebenezer Tuttle' which was followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for several sols on integration.

On Sol 4195 (Nov. 11, 2015), Opportunity switched back to using Flash memory in order to recover many important science data products still stored in the Flash memory. A reset of the vehicle occurred on Sol 4196 (Nov. 12, 2015), but was quickly recovered to master sequence control by the ground team. On Sol 4200 (Nov. 17, 2015), the rover was configured back to using RAM only. A 43-foot (13-meter) drive to a new location with steeper north-facing slopes was performed on that sol.

As of Sol 4201 (Nov. 18, 2015), the solar array energy production was 376 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.494 and a solar array dust factor of 0.612.

Total odometry is 26.49 miles (42.63 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4188-4193, November 04, 2015-November 09, 2015: Opportunity Dips Back Into Flash

Opportunity is within 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The rover has been switched to using Flash again. The plan for this week is to return some high-value science data products stored in Flash memory. On Sol 4188 (Nov. 4, 2015), an atmospheric argon measurement was collected using the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer. On Sol 4189 (Nov. 5, 2015), a problem with the Deep Space Network station transmitter prevented our sequence plan from being sent to the rover. Independently on that sol, Opportunity experienced a reset, not unexpected since Flash memory was enabled. New sequences and a recovery plan were sent to the rover on Sol 4190 (Nov. 6, 2015). But a timing error prevented the master sequence from starting. A team came in over the weekend and built a real-time sequence activation command that was sent on Sol 4191 (Nov. 7, 2015), restoring the rover to master sequence operation.

As of Sol 4193 (Nov. 9, 2015), the solar array energy production was 359 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.511 and a solar array dust factor of 0.609.

Total odometry is 26.48 miles (42.62 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4181-4187, October 28, 2015-November 03, 2015: Just In Time For Halloween, A Network Problem And An Amnesia Event Slows Down Robotic Arm Work

Opportunity is within 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

The plan ahead was for Opportunity to use the robotic arm to place the Alpha Particle X-ray spectrometer down on a target for a week while the project conducted a weeklong test and readout of Flash memory. However, a Deep Space Network problem prevented the rover's plan from being radiated, so the rover executed run out plans on Sols 4184 and 4185 (Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, 2015).

On Sol 4186 (Nov. 2, 2015), commands were sent to the rover to enable the use of Flash memory and to spend the week returning science data already in Flash memory. Although those commands were successful, the rover experienced an amnesia event on Sol 4186 (Nov. 2, 2015). As contingency, Flash Bank 7 readouts were performed instead. On Sol 4187 (Nov. 3, 2015), the rover successfully mounted Flash and began the return of the science data. The plan for the balance of the week is to continue with the return of science data from Flash.

As of Sol 4187 (Nov. 3, 2015), the solar array energy production was 344 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.472 and a solar array dust factor of 0.574.

Total odometry is 26.48 miles (42.62 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4174-4180, October 21, 2015-October 27, 2015: A Week of Imaging From South Side of Valley

Opportunity is within 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater conducting a valley floor survey for clay minerals.

From a location on the south side of the valley, the rover has been conducting a campaign of Panoramic (Pancam) Camera color imaging of Marathon Valley with panorama frames collected on Sols 4175, 4177 and 4180 (Oct. 22, Oct. 24 and Oct. 27, 2015).

The rover has also been conducting an in-situ (contact) science campaign at the current location. On Sols 4175, 4177 and 4180, using the robotic arm, Opportunity collected a 2x2 Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on a different surface target. On Sols 4177, 4178 and 4179 (Oct. 24, Oct. 25 and Oct. 26, 2015), additional readouts of Flash Bank 7 were performed.

As of Sol 4180 (Oct. 27, 2015), the solar array energy production was 332 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.539 and a solar array dust factor of 0.576.

Total odometry is 26.48 miles (42.62 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4168-4173, October 15, 2015-October 20, 2015: Power Levels Low Due to Winter Setting In

Opportunity is within 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater conducting a valley floor survey for clay minerals.

Low-elevation orbiter relay passes to the west continue to result in little to no data return on some relay passes. This is just a function of orbit geometry and the high valley wall to the west within Marathon Valley.

From a location on the south side of the valley, the rover has been conducting a campaign of Panoramic (Pancam) Camera color imaging of Marathon Valley with panoramas collected on Sols 4169, 4171 and 4173 (Oct. 16, Oct. 18 and Oct. 20, 2015). A salute (raise) of the robotic arm on Sol 4173 (Oct. 20, 2015) was performed so the rover's work volume for the arm could be imaged ahead on an in-situ (contact) science activities.

Further readouts of Flash Bank 7 were attempted on Sol 4170 (Oct. 17, 2015). The rover's activities are being constrained by the winter power levels. Opportunity will remain on north-facing slopes for the balance of the winter.

As of Sol 4173 (Oct. 20, 2015), the solar array energy production was 337 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.522 and a solar array dust factor of 0.568.

Total odometry is 26.48 miles (42.62 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4162-4167, October 09, 2015-October 14, 2015: The Rover Is Now On North-Facing Slopes To Charge The Solar Panels For The Winter

Opportunity is within 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater completing a valley floor survey for clay minerals before moving to the winter location on the south side of the valley.

Low-elevation orbiter relay passes to the west have resulted in little to no data return on some relay passes. This is a function of orbit geometry and the high valley wall to the west within Marathon Valley. On Sol 4163 (Oct. 10, 2015), Opportunity drove over 33 feet (10 meters) in a dogleg maneuver, first north then east, avoiding some terrain obstacles. The rover collected some mid-drive images of the departed location to assist analysis of some wheel/terrain interaction during the last turn in place.

On the next sol, the rover collected both Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas and continued with the diagnostic readout of Flash Bank 7. More Pancam panoramas were taken on the sol after that.

On Sol 4166 (Oct. 13, 2015), Opportunity drove again, this time about 66 feet (20 meters) to the southeast. Afterward, more Pancam and Navcam panoramas where collected. The rover is now on some favorable northerly tilted terrain. Opportunity will remain on northerly slopes for the balance of the winter.

As of Sol 4166 (Oct. 13, 2015), the solar array energy production was 325 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.557 and a solar array dust factor of 0.577.

Total odometry is 26.48 miles (42.62 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4154-4161, September 30, 2015-October 07, 2015: Opportunity Doing Work at 'Marathon Valley' Before Moving to Winter Location

Opportunity is within 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater conducting a valley floor survey for clay minerals before moving to the winter location on the south side of the valley.

The rover just completed a 9-sol test using the Flash file system on Sol 4155 (Oct. 1, 2015). On Sol 4154 (Sept. 30, 2015), a Flash-related reset prevented the rover from driving that sol. On Sol 4155 (Oct. 1, 2015), the rover returned to RAM-only mode (no Flash for storage) and the drive originally planned for the previous sol successfully completed on this sol achieving 28 feet (8.5 meters). Post-drive Navigation (Navcam) Camera panoramas were collected. On the next sol, a targeted color Panoramic (Pancam) Camera panorama was collected. On Sol 4157 (Oct. 3, 2015), Opportunity drove again, performing a dog-leg maneuver to avoid some obstacles. More color Pancam panoramas were collected. This was followed on the next sol with more Navcam panoramas. On Sol 4159 (Oct. 5, 2015), the rover moved again toward the east, traveling over 48 feet (14.5 meters). As with the other recent drives, pre- and post-drive Pancam and Navcam panoramas were collected.

As of Sol 4161 (Oct. 7, 2015), the solar array energy production was 327 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.553 and a solar array dust factor of 0.569.

Total odometry is 26.46 miles (42.59 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4147-4153, September 23, 2015-September 29, 2015: Rover Back to Normal Operations After Vehicle Reset Due to Flash System

Opportunity is within 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater conducting a walk-about survey for clay minerals before moving to the winter location on the south side of the valley.

The rover has been operating with its Flash file system in order to assess its current health and usability for data storage. Sols 4147 and 4148 (Sept. 23 & Sept. 24, 2015), plans contained remote sensing panoramas by both the Panoramic (Pancam) Camera and Navigation (Navcam) Camera.

On Sol 4149 (Sept. 25, 2015), a vehicle reset occurred, stopping all on board sequences. Further, the Pancam Mast Assembly (PMA) was flagged with its position unknown, likely a result of imaging when the reset occurred. The suspected cause of the reset is the Flash system. Because of this reset, the plans for Sols 4150 and 4151 (Sept. 26 & Sept. 27, 2015) were not uplinked. The rover was restored to master sequence control on Sol 4152 (Sept. 28, 2015). On that sol, the rover drove about 39 feet (12 meters) and collected post-drive panoramas. A Flash-related amnesia event prevented the downlink of the drive results until Sol 4153 (Sept. 29, 2015). Another drive is planned for the next sol with the rover continuing to use Flash for storage.

As of Sol 4153 (Sept. 29, 2015), the solar array energy production was 352 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.555 and a solar array dust factor of 0.557.

Total odometry is 26.44 miles (42.55 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4140-4146, September 16, 2015-September 22, 2015: Rover's Current Location Makes Communications a Challenge

Opportunity is within 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater conducting a walk-about survey for clay minerals.

The rover's current location within Marathon Valley with its high walls to the north and west presents a challenge for low-elevation Ultra-High-Frequency (UHF) relay passes to the west. On Sol 4141 (Sept. 17, 2015), no data were received as the orbiter's flight path was below the elevation on the valley ridgeline. On that sol, the rover did successfully perform an in-situ science campaign on the surface target, 'Pvt. George Gibson' that included a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). Some of those data were received on subsequent sols. On Sol 4144 (Sept. 20, 2015), another MI mosaic was taken and the robotic armed stowed for a future drive. Once again, the high ridgeline of the valley obscured the low-elevation pass on Sol 4145 (Sept. 21, 2015), and little data were received.

On Sol 4146 (Sept. 22, 2015), Opportunity was configured from RAM-only operation to Flash as a planned test of the non-volatile storage system. The drive on that sol completed successfully, but an amnesia event with Flash prevented a return of drive-related data on that sol. Those data are expected to be received on subsequent sols. The plan forward is to continue to operate in Flash for one week in order to gain information and statistics on the state of the Flash storage system.

As of Sol 4146 (Sept. 22, 2015), the solar array energy production was 335 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.539 and a solar array dust factor of 0.569.

Total odometry is (26.43 miles) 42.53 kilometers, more than a marathon.




sols 4133-4139, September 09, 2015-September 15, 2015: Search for Clay Minerals Continues

Opportunity is within 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater conducting a walk-about in search of clay minerals.

The rover is operating in persistent RAM mode (not using Flash for data storage). On Sol 4133 (Sept. 9, 2015), the rover used the robotic arm to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of a surface target and then place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same. A Navigation Camera (Navcam) panorama was collected on the morning of the next sol. The APXS integrated on the surface target through the evening of Sol 4135 (Sept. 11, 2015). On Sol 4136 (Sept. 12, 2015), another MI mosaic was collected and the APXS placed on a target offset from the previous.

Both Navcam and Pancam panoramas were collected on the morning of Sol 4138 (Sept. 14, 2015). Also on that sol, the project commanded the rover to switch to using the Flash memory as a 'toe dip' diagnostic test of the state of Flash. With the exception of a benign amnesia event, the Flash functioned normally. The project then commanded the rover back into RAM-only mode on Sol 4139 (Sept. 15, 2015). A long test of Flash memory is planned for next week. Also on Sol 4139 (Sept. 15, 2015), the rover completed a 13-foot (4-meter) bumped to a new surface target.

As of Sol 4139 (Sept. 15, 2015), the solar array energy production was 345 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.585 and a solar array dust factor of 0.552.

Total odometry is 26.43 miles (42.53 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4126-4133, September 02, 2015-September 09, 2015: Team Continues to Operate Rover in RAM Mode

Opportunity is within 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater exploring for clay minerals.

The rover is operating in persistent RAM mode (not using Flash for data storage). On Sol 4127 (Sept. 3, 2015), Opportunity bumped just 26 inches (65 centimeters) towards the surface target, 'Pvt. Silas Goodrich' to begin an in-situ (contact) science campaign.

On Sols 4130 and 4131 (Sept. 6 and Sept. 7, 2015), the rover conducted a 2-sol robotic arm activity. On the first sol, the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was placed on the target for an overnight integration. On the second sol, the Microscopic Imager (MI) was used to collect an extensive mosaic of the surface target.

Flash Bank 7 continues to be readout and downlink as part of the ongoing diagnostics investigation of Flash memory. Other than Flash, Opportunity is in good health.

As of Sol 4133 (Sept. 9, 2015), the solar array energy production was 356 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.631 and a solar array dust factor of 0.562.

Total odometry is (26.42 miles) 42.52 kilometers, more than a marathon.




sols 4120-4125, August 26, 2015-September 01, 2015: Driving West To Reach New Rock Target

Opportunity is within 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater exploring for phyllosilicate clay minerals.

The rover is operating in persistent RAM mode (not using Flash for data storage). On Sol 4120 (Aug. 26, 2015), Opportunity used the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to brush the freshly ground surface target, 'Pvt. Robert Frazer' to prepare it for in-situ (contact) measurements. After the surface was cleaned, the Microscopic Imager collected an image mosaic. This was followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS). The APXS integration was performed on the evening of the next sol. Both Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas were sequenced over several sols along with additional readouts of Flash Bank 7 memory.

On Sol 4125 (Sept. 1, 2015), the rover drove to the west about 46 feet (14 meters) in order to approach a new geological contact that may exhibit characteristics of alternation.

As of Sol 4125 (Sept. 1, 2015), the solar array energy production was 384 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.668 and a solar array dust factor of 0.582.

Total odometry is 26.42 (42.52 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4113-4119, August 19, 2015-August 25, 2015: Brushing a Rock and In-Situ Studies

Opportunity is in 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater exploring for phyllosilicate clay minerals.

The rover is operating in persistent RAM mode (not using Flash for data storage). The rover is in the midst of a grind campaign on the surface target, 'Pvt. Robert Frazer.' On Sol 4114 (Aug. 20, 2015), Opportunity ground about 2.5 millimeters into the surface to expose fresh outcrop using the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) on the end of the robotic arm. This was to be followed on the next sol by a brushing to remove the grind tailings from the surface site. But, a sequencing error prevented the RAT from initiating the brush activity. The project diagnosed the problem on the Surface System Testbed (SSTB) rover at JPL and confirmed the corrective action.

Meanwhile, the rover continued the remote sensing of the valley with several Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panoramas collected of the North Wall of Marathon Valley plus some 13-filter Pancam images of selected surface targets. An Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer APXS measurement of atmospheric argon was collected on the evening of Sol 4116 (Aug. 22, 2015). The plan ahead is to complete the brushing of the freshly ground surface target for detailed in-situ (contact) measurements.

As of Sol 4119 (Aug. 25, 2015), the solar array energy production was 404 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.652 and a solar array dust factor of 0.590.

Total odometry is 26.41 miles (42.51 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4106-4112, August 12, 2015-August 18, 2015: Clay-Mineral Rocks Get Closer Inspection

Opportunity is in 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater exploring for phyllosilicate clay minerals.

The rover is operating in persistent RAM mode (not using Flash for data storage). Winter power levels have been constraining some rover activities. The rover is conducting both an in-situ (contact) science investigation of a surface target within the central unit of the valley and a Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panorama survey of the North Wall of the valley.

On Sol 4107 (August 13, 2015), Opportunity used the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to brush a surface target. This was followed by the collection of a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) placement on the same. On Sol 4110 (August 16, 2015), the rover continued with more MI mosaics of the target and an offset placement of the APXS for a multi-hour integration. Further Pancam images of the North Wall were taken.

On Sol 4111 (August 17, 2015), the RAT was used to grind 1 millimeter into the surface rock unit. Documentary MI imagery was taken and the APXS placed again. Some diagnostic readouts of Flash memory Bank 7 were performed. Additional readouts will be done on subsequent sols. On Sol 4112 (August 18, 2015), a complete MI mosaic was collected of the RAT grind was made along with another APXS placement. Deeper grinding is expected in the coming sols. Other than the Flash, Opportunity is in good health.

As of Sol 4112 (August 18, 2015), the solar array energy production was 416 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.650 and a solar array dust factor of 0.597.

Total odometry is 26.41 miles (42.51 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4099-4105, August 05, 2015-August 11, 2015: The Challenges of RAM Mode

Opportunity is in Marathon Valley on the west rim of Endeavour Crater exploring for clay minerals. The rover is operating in persistent RAM mode (not using Flash memory for data storage). In RAM mode, it is sometimes challenging to collect images at the right time of day to send them back to Earth via the orbital relay passes.

On Sol 4099 (August 5, 2015), Pancam images were taken of the North Wall within Marathon Valley. On Sol 4100 (August 6, 2015) the robotic arm was used to conduct contact science on a surface target. The Microscopic Imager (MI) collected a mosaic and then the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was placed for a multi-hour integration. Navcam panoramas are also being collected from this site.

On Sol 4102 (August 8, 2015), another set of MI images along with an offset placement of the APXS were performed. The APXS integration was sequenced on the next sol. On Sol 4104 (August 10, 2015), more Pancam images of the North Wall were taken. Then on Sol 4105 (August 11, 2015), Opportunity turned just slightly more than 1.5 degrees using a tank turn to allow the robotic arm to reach an exposed outcrop that will be brushed by the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) on a subsequent sol.

Other than the Flash, Opportunity is in good health. As of Sol 4105 (August 11, 2015), the solar array energy production was 420 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.736 and a solar array dust factor of 0.608.

Total odometry is 26.41 miles (42.51 kilometers) more than a marathon.




sols 4094-4098, July 31, 2015-August 04, 2015: Looking Forward to Contact Science in 'Marathon Valley'

Opportunity is in 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater, searching for clay minerals.

The rover is operating in persistent RAM mode (not using Flash for data storage). This requires the rover to stay awake all the way up to the Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) relay passes on each sol. With Mars Odyssey now in a later orbit, relay passes come much later in the day. With winter coming and less sunlight for energy production, these late relay passes cause the rover to consume more energy from the batteries. Therefore, Sols 4095 and 4097 (Aug. 1 and Aug. 3, 2015) had little science and a shorter relay pass to save energy for a drive on Sol 4096 (Aug. 2, 2015). The drive successfully completed, moving the rover over 65.6 feet (20 meters) towards a new geologic unit within the valley. Extensive post-drive Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas were also collected.

With a good state of charge after the recharge sol on Sol 4097 (Aug. 3, 2015), Opportunity drove again on Sol 4098 (Aug. 4, 2015), moving just under 19.7 feet (6 meters) to reach an exposed outcrop within this new rock unit. The plan ahead is to perform some contact science measurements on the targets in this area.

During the winter, Opportunity will rely more on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for relay, which occurs earlier in the day. Other than the Flash, Opportunity is in good health.

As of Sol 4098 (Aug. 4, 2015), the solar array energy production was 431 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.639 (from Sol 4096, Aug. 2, 2015) and a solar array dust factor of 0.614.

Total odometry is 26.41 miles (42.51 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4085-4093, July 21, 2015-July 30, 2015: Beginning to Explore 'Marathon Valley'

Opportunity has entered 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater and has begun the search for clay minerals.

Previously, the project tested returning to using Flash memory for data storage. The Flash exhibited instability after a few sols, so the project returned Opportunity to operating in RAM-only mode on Sol 4085 (July 21, 2015). Over the next two sols a 360-degree Navigation Camera (Navcam) panorama was collected.

On Sol 4088 (July 24, 2015), the rover resumed contact science with the collection of a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of a surface target followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same for a multi-hour integration. Additional MI images were collected on the next sol to complete the mosaic. Atmospheric observations were also made as part of this multi-sol plan.

On Sol 4091, (July 28, 2015), the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) was used to brush the surface target to prepare it for further investigation. This was followed by another MI mosaic and the placement of the APXS. On Sol 4093 (July 30, 2015), an offset MI mosaic was collected and the APXS placed on the offset target. Other than the Flash, Opportunity is in good health.

As of Sol 4092 (July 29, 2015), the solar array energy production was 424 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.695 and a solar array dust factor of 0.611.

Total odometry is 26.40 miles (42.48 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4080-4084, July 16, 2015-July 20, 2015: Experimenting with Flash Memory

Opportunity has entered 'Marathon Valley' on the west rim of Endeavour Crater.

On Sol 4081 (July 17, 2015), the rover drove 96.7 feet (29.47 meters) to the northeast to enter the valley and collected spectacular imagery. The project has been experimenting with the Flash file system on the rover to understand its current usability.

On Sol 4082 (July 18, 2015), Opportunity mounted its non-volatile Flash file system, instead of using volatile RAM for telemetry storage. The Flash seemed to work, although a benign 'amnesia' event did occur later on the sol. On the next Sol the rover was unable to mount the Flash at all and used RAM instead, still able to carry out the science plan that day.

On Sol 4084 (July 20, 2015), a short bump was sequenced, but because of an amnesia event later on the sol, the telemetry from the bump was not received on the ground, although other data showed the drive completed as expected and the rover moved to the planned location.

The Flash file system will continued to be investigated by the project as the science mission in Marathon Valley continues. Other than the Flash, Opportunity is in good health.

As of Sol 4084 (July 20, 2015), the solar array energy production was 432 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.645 and a solar array dust factor of 0.607.

Total odometry is 26.40 miles (42.48 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4072-4079, July 08, 2015-July 15, 2015: A Week of Imaging and Driving

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading into 'Marathon Valley.'

On Sol 4072 (July 8, 2015), the rover collected some targeted 13-filter Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images and some Navigation Camera (Navcam) cloud and dust devil movies (if any were present). On Sol 4073 (July 9, 2015), Opportunity bumped only about 10 inches (25 centimeters) to position the robotic arm to reach some new targets within the so-called 'Red Zone' along the edge of the 'Spirit of St. Louis.' Also, some post-drive targeted Pancam observations were made. An atmospheric argon measurement was collected that night by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument. On Sol 4074 (July 10, 2015), more targeted 13-filter Pancam observations were made along with more Navcam cloud and dust devil movies.

On Sol 4075 (July 11, 2015), the rover began some in-situ (contact) science investigation of the new 'Red Zone' target, first by collecting a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic, then by placing the APXS for a multi-hour integration. On the next sol, more Navcam cloud and dust devil movies were collected.

On Sol 4077 (July 13, 2015), Opportunity headed around the 'Spirit of St. Louis' to the east with a 90-foot (27.5-meter) drive. Post-drive Navcam panoramas were collected from that new vantage point. On Sol 4078 (July 14, 2015), the rover departed the 'Spirit of St. Louis' and headed northeast towards 'Swan Hill' with a 120-foot (36.7-meter) drive, collecting post-drive Navcam panoramas. On the next sol, Opportunity first collected some pre-drive targeted Navcam and Pancam images, then drove almost 62 feet (19 meters) heading into Marathon Valley. Following the drive, a 360-degree Navcam panorama was collected.

As of Sol 4079 (July 15, 2015), the solar array energy production was 421 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.634 and a solar array dust factor of 0.612.

Total odometry is 26.38 miles (42.45 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4059-4064, June 25, 2015-June 30, 2015: Opportunity Gets Back to Work

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater at the 'Spirit of St. Louis' crater near the entrance of 'Marathon Valley.'

The Earth-Mars Solar Conjunction command moratorium and communication blackout is over and the rover has resumed normal operations and science planning.

On Sol 4059 (June 25, 2015), the rover conducted targeted remote sensing including capturing a spectacular Phobos transit of the Sun. The next sol had the rover collecting change-detecting imagery to compare to imagery collected before solar conjunction. On Sol 4061 (June 27, 2015), Opportunity bumped just over a meter to reach some new surface targets just the other side of the 'Red Zone' unit that had been previously investigated. Post-dump targeted Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images and a 360-degree Navigation Camera (Navcam) panorama were collected. With the new position, the rover on Sol 4064 (June 30, 2015), used the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to brush the surface target, named 'Ryan NYP.' This was followed with a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and a placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an evening integration.

The rover continues to operate in RAM-only mode while the on-board Flash storage system is being investigated. The rover is otherwise in good health.

As of Sol 4064 (June 30, 2015), the solar array energy production was 465 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.725 and a solar array dust factor of 0.628.

Total odometry is 26.33 miles (42.37 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4053-4058, June 19, 2015-June 24, 2015: Rover In Good Health After Communication Blackout

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater at the 'Spirit of St. Louis' crater near the entrance of 'Marathon Valley.'

The Earth-Mars Solar Conjunction command moratorium and communication blackout has just ended. Telemetry is again being received from the Opportunity and the rover is in good health. Normal tactical planning has resumed with the Sol 4059 (June 25, 2015) plan.

As of Sol 4055 (June 21, 2015), the solar array energy production was 477 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.797 and a solar array dust factor of 0.644.

Total odometry is 26.33 miles (42.37 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4043-4052, June 08, 2015-June 17, 2015: Rover Remains in Solar Conjunction Communication Blackout

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater at the 'Spirit of St. Louis' crater near the entrance of 'Marathon Valley.' We are inside the Earth-Mars Solar Conjunction command moratorium and communication blackout.

Solar conjunction is when the Sun comes between Earth and Mars, which occurs about once every 26 months. During this time there will be diminished communications to Opportunity. More on solar conjunction here:
http://mars.nasa.gov/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1824

Opportunity will be executing a basic set of activities from on-board sequences for the remainder of the solar conjunction period, including some Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) integration on a selected surface target.

As of the last returned telemetry on Sol 4042 (June 7, 2015), the solar array energy production was 490 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.768 and a solar array dust factor of 0.643.

Total odometry is 26.33 (42.37 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4039-4042, June 04, 2015-June 07, 2015: For Next Three Weeks, Rover in Quiet Period of Operations

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater at the 'Spirit of St. Louis' crater near the entrance of 'Marathon Valley.' The rover is now in the Solar Conjunction command moratorium.

Solar conjunction is when the Sun comes between Earth and Mars, which occurs about once every 26 months. During this time there will be diminished communications to Opportunity. More on solar conjunction here:
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1824

Opportunity will be executing a basic set of activities for the remainder of the solar conjunction period, including some Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurements of a surface target.

As of the last returned telemetry on Sol 4042 (June 7, 2015), the solar array energy production was 490 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.768 and a solar array dust factor of 0.643.

Total odometry is 26.33 miles (42.37 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4030-4038, May 26, 2015-June 03, 2015: Rover Ready for Solar Conjunction and Period of Curtailed Operations

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater at the 'Spirit of St. Louis' crater near the entrance of 'Marathon Valley.' The rover is now configured for Solar Conjunction with all sequences onboard for the next three weeks.

Solar conjunction is when the Sun comes between Earth and Mars, which occurs about once every 26 months. During this time there will be diminished communications to Opportunity. More on solar conjunction here:
http://mars.nasa.gov/news/whatsnew/?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1824

The last drive was on Sol 4031 (May 27, 2015). The rover moved 19 meters to approach a surface target that will be the subject of investigation during solar conjunction. On Sol 4034 (May 30, 2015), the robotic arm was used to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target. Then, the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was placed for a multiple hour integration. The next robotic arm activity will actually occur during Solar Conjunction on Sol 4047 (June 12, 2015). On that sol, Opportunity will perform a small, less than an inch (1 cm) offset of the APXS placement and perform another long integration. As of the entry into the Solar Conjunction communication moratorium, Opportunity was in good health operating in persistent RAM-mode to avoid the use of Flash memory.

As of Sol 4037 (June 2, 2015), the solar array energy production was 500 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.952 and a solar array dust factor of 0.688.

Total odometry is 26.33 miles (42.37 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4024-4029, May 20, 2015-May 25, 2015: Preparing for Solar Conjunction

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater at the 'Spirit of St. Louis' crater near the entrance of 'Marathon Valley.' The rover had been exploring the outcrops inside the Spirit of St. Louis crater and preparing for solar conjunction.

Solar conjunction is when the Sun comes between Earth and Mars, which occurs about once every 26 months. During this time there will be diminished communications to Opportunity. More on solar conjunction here:
http://mars.nasa.gov/allaboutmars/nightsky/solar-conjunction/.

The intent on Sol 4025 (May 21, 2015) was to drive out of the Spirit of St. Louis crater, but a vehicle reset and associated amnesia event occurred on the evening of Sol 4024 (May 20, 2015), stopping all onboard sequences. The rover was restored to master sequence control on Sol 4026 (May 22, 2015). In light of the recent unexplained vehicle resets, the project made the decision to configure the rover in RAM-only mode, avoiding the use of non-volatile Flash memory for storage. That configuration change was made on Sol 4027 (May 23, 2015).

On Sol 4029 (May 25, 2015), Opportunity successfully completed a 157-foot (48 meter) drive, putting the rover outside of the Spirit of St. Louis crater. Another drive is planned before stopping for solar conjunction. Other than the Flash memory related issues, the rover is in good health.

As of Sol 4028 (May 24, 2015), the solar array energy production was 558 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.962 and a solar array dust factor of 0.728.

Total odometry is 26.31 miles (42.35 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4018-4023, May 14, 2015-May 19, 2015: Rover Restored to Normal Operations After a Reset Error

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater at the 'Spirit of St. Louis' crater near the entrance of 'Marathon Valley.' The rover had been exploring the outcrops inside the Spirit of St. Louis crater.

On Sol 4018 (May 14, 2015), the project attempted to restore the rover to master sequence control after an unexplained reset on Sol 4017 (May 13, 2015). However, an operational error prevented the use of the high-gain antenna (HGA), and the rover did not receive subsequent recovery commands.

The rover was successfully restored to normal operations on Sol 4020 (May 16, 2015). On that sol, Opportunity executed a very small turn-in-place of only 4.6 degrees to position a surface target within reach of the robotic arm instruments. That evening, an overnight atmospheric argon measurement using the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was made. Another amnesia event occurred on the evening of Sol 4021 (May 17, 2015), but it was benign with no loss of data. On Sol 4023 (May 19, 2015), the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) was used to brush a surface target for in-situ (contact) investigation. After the brushing, a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic was collected, followed by the placement of the APXS for a multi-hour integration.

As of Sol 4023 (May 19, 2015), the solar array energy production was 536 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.105 and a solar array dust factor of 0.727.

Total odometry is 26.28 miles (42.30 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4011-4017, May 06, 2015-May 13, 2015: Exploring the 'Spirit of St. Louis' Crater

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater at the 'Spirit of St. Louis' crater near the entrance of 'Marathon Valley.' The rover had been exploring the outcrops inside the Spirit of St. Louis crater.

On Sol 4011 (May 6, 2015), Opportunity drove 25 feet (7.6 meters) to approach the target, named 'Harold M. Bixby.' The drive was preceded with targeted color Panoramic Camera (Pancam) imagery and followed by post-drive Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas. On Sol 4013 (May 8, 2015), the rover began the in-situ (contact) investigation of the same target with a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and then the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for a multi-hour integration. Additional Navcam panoramas were collected on Sol 4014 (May 9, 2015).

On Sol 4016 (May 12, 2015), Opportunity drove again toward some hummocky terrain, driving about 30 feet (9 meters) to the south. This drive too was preceded with targeted color Pancam imagery and followed with post-drive Navcam panoramas.

On the morning of Sol 4017 (May 13, 2015), the rover experienced a vehicle reset during the high-gain antenna (HGA) pass. A bad address was reported with a range outside of any address space used by the rover's avionics. The cause of the reset is not known at this time. The project is in the process of restoring the rover back to master sequence control.

As of Sol 4016 (May 12, 2015), the solar array energy production was 526 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.146 and a solar array dust factor of 0.734.

Total odometry is 26.28 miles (42.30 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 4004-4010, April 29, 2015-May 05, 2015: Opportunity Getting Ready to Enter 'Spirit of St. Louis' Crater

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater at the 'Spirit of St. Louis' crater near the entrance of 'Marathon Valley.' The rover had been exploring the outcrops just outside the Spirit of St. Louis crater, so now its time to enter the crater.

On Sol 4004 (April 29, 2015), Opportunity performed a toe-dip maneuver to test the physical nature of the crater interior, then backed out and drove along the rim towards another entry point. On the next sol, here, the rover entered the crater with a 30 feet (9-meter) drive toward the interior crater mound, called 'Lindbergh.' On Sol 4006 (May 1, 2015), Opportunity performed a dog-leg approach to Lindbergh mound to reach some surface targets. The next sol, the rover collected an atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and performed a late-night Panoramic Camera (Pancam) observation of a Phobos eclipse. Now in position at the mound, Opportunity performed some in-situ (contact) science at a target, called 'Roosevelt Field.' Using the robotic arm, a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the target was collected with the placement of the APXS on the same for a multi-hour integration.

With each drive the rover made, both pre-drive targeted Pancam images and post-drive Navigation Camera (Navcam) panoramas were collected. The rover did experience one benign amnesia event on the evening of Sol 4004 (April 29, 2015), but otherwise the rover is in great health.

As of Sol 4010 (May 5, 2015), the solar array energy production was 508 watt-hours with an increased atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.333 and a solar array dust factor of 0.729.

Total odometry is 26.27 miles (42.28 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 3999-4003, April 24, 2015-April 28, 2015: 4,000+ Martian Days of Work on Mars!

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater next to the "Spirit of St. Louis" crater near the entrance of "Marathon Valley." The rover has been exploring the outcrops in this area.

On her 4,000th day on Mars, Opportunity drove about 16 feet (5 meters) to approach a new outcrop for investigation, called "Lambert Field." A post-drive 360-degree Navigation Camera (Navcam) panorama was collected and the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was used to collect an atmospheric argon measurement. On Sol 4003 (April 28, 2015), the rover used the robotic arm to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the new in-situ (contact) target and then placed the APXS on the same for a multi-hour integration. Some Panoramic Camera (Pancam) color imagery was also collected.

Another amnesia event occurred on the evening wake up on Sol 4002 (April 27, 2015). This event, like the others, was benign. Regional dust storms have been kicking up dust into the atmosphere. The atmospheric opacity over the rover's site has increased along with some modest cleaning of the rover's solar arrays.

As of Sol 4003 (April 28, 2015), the solar array energy production was 526 watt-hours with an increased atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.395 and a solar array dust factor of 0.830.

Total odometry is 26.25 miles (42.25 kilometers), more than a marathon.



sols 3990-3998, April 15, 2015-April 23, 2015: Rover on the Lookout for Dust Devils!

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater next to the "Spirit of St. Louis" crater near the entrance of "Marathon Valley."

The rover had been conducting an in-situ (contact) science campaign at the outcrop named "Thermopylae."

On Sol 3991 (April 16, 2015), the robotic arm was used to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and then place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for a multi-hour integration. A small Navigation Camera (Navcam) mosaic was also collected on that sol. On the next sol, a new Navcam Dust Devil Watch was sequenced. On Sol 3993 (April 18, 2015), further MI mosaics were collected followed by another APXS placement. For the next sol, the APXS was offset to an adjacent target for another integration.

However, during the preparation for the afternoon UHF relay pass the rover experienced a reset, stopping all sequences. The cause of the reset is unknown and still under investigation. Further, an amnesia event occurred later that night for the wakeup to start Deep Sleep. The rover was restored to master sequence control on Sol 3996 (April 21, 2015). On Sol 3998 (April 23, 2015), Opportunity drove a little over 26 feet (8 meters) to reach the rim of the Spirit of St. Louis crater.

As of Sol 3998, the solar array energy production was 620 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.766 and a solar array dust factor of 0.731.

Total odometry is 26.25 miles (42.24 kilometers), more than a marathon.



sols 3983-3989, April 8, 2015-April 14, 2015: Robotic Arm Gets Busy on Rock Outcrop

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater near the entrance of "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals.

The rover is positioned on a light-toned outcrop next to the feature called "The Spirit of St. Louis" crater. The rover is continuing a campaign to investigate surface targets in this outcrop.

On Sol 3984 (April 9, 2015), Opportunity examined the surface target called "Thermopylae" using the robotic arm to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and later perform a placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for a multi-sol integration. On Sol 3986 (April 11, 2015), the rover repeated this set of science observations on a different target within the rover's work volume. Another MI mosaic and APXS integration were collected. On Sol 3989 (April 14, 2015), Opportunity bumped about 24 inches (60 centimeters) to position to reach some other surface targets in the same outcrop. The rover has implemented a supplementary way of collected additional battery data and has also been acquiring some atmospheric opacity measurements to support the Insight mission.

The rover experienced two more amnesia events on the evenings of Sols 3987 and 3988 (April 12 and April 13, 2015). Both were benign and resulted in no loss of science data. The rover is otherwise in excellent health.

As of Sol 3989 (April 14, 2015), the solar array energy production was 561 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.813 and a solar array dust factor of 0.714.

Total odometry is 26.24 miles (42.24 kilometers), more than a marathon.




sols 3976-3982, March 31, 2015-April 7, 2015: Examining Rock Outcrop at 'The Spirit of St. Louis' Crater

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater near the entrance of "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals.

The rover is positioned on a light-toned outcrop next to the feature called "The Spirit of St. Louis" crater. The rover is continuing a campaign to investigate surface targets in this light-toned outcrop.

On Sol 3977 (April 1, 2015), the rover began two sols of Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurements with offset placements between sols. On Sol 3979 (April 3, 2015), the rover bumped to a new surface target, moving almost 20 feet (6 meters). For the next two evenings, atmospheric argon was measured using the APXS. Additional in-situ (contact) science with the robotic arm instruments was planned for Sol 3982 (April 7, 2015), but a DSN problem prevented the sequence plan from being transmitted to the rover. Opportunity instead executed on-board run-out sequences. The missed plan will be repeated in the next uplink planning opportunity. Two more amnesia events occurred in the evenings of Sols 3979 and 3980 (April 3 and April 5, 2015). Both events were benign with no loss of science data.

As of Sol 3982 (April 7, 2015), the solar array energy production was 559 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0971 and a solar array dust factor of 0.732.

Total odometry is 26.24 miles (42.24 kilometers).




sols 3970-3975, March 25, 2015-March 30, 2015: Rover Explores 'The Spirit of St. Louis' Crater

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater near the entrance of "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals. The rover has driven around the feature called "The Spirit of St. Louis" crater and approached a light-toned rock outcrop.

On Sol 3970 (March 25, 2015), Opportunity started the in-situ (contact) examination of the rock outcrop with a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for a multi-hour integration. On the next sol, the rover performed a small turn to reach other targets with the instruments on the robotic arm. After assessing that those new targets were not accessible, the rover bumped again on the next sol. With good targets now within reach, Opportunity used the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) to brush another surface target and followed that with the collection of a MI mosaic and the placement of the APXS for another multi-hour integration.

Although the Flash files system has been functioning since the reformat and masking of Bank 7 back on Sol 3964 (March 19, 2015), a single amnesia event did occur at the rover wake up on the evening of Sol 3969 (March 24, 2015). The amnesia event was benign and did not impact rover operations nor result in any loss of science data. The project continues to investigate this.

As of Sol 3975 (March 30, 2015), the solar array energy production was 562 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.010 and a solar array dust factor of 0.744.

Total odometry is 26.24 miles (42.23 kilometers).




sols 3963-3969, March 18, 2015-March 24, 2015: Flash Reformatted and Marathon Completed

The Opportunity mission is now the first human enterprise to exceed marathon distance of travel on another world.

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater near 'Marathon Valley', a putative location for abundant clay minerals. The rover is approaching a feature called 'Spirit of St. Louis Crater' at the entrance to Marathon Valley.

On Sol 3964 (March 19, 2015), the flash-memory file system was reformatted using new flight software. The reformat was successful. The rover is again using flash for nonvolatile data storage. On Sol 3966 (March 21, 2015), Opportunity began approaching the Spirit of St. Louis Crater with a 177-foot (54-meter) drive, avoiding some obstacles along the way. The drive was preceded with some targeted Pancam imagery and followed by a Navcam panorama, which is typical practice when driving.

On Sol 3968 (overnight March 23 to March 24), Opportunity made history. The rover the rover drove 154 feet (46.9 meters) in a dog leg around the crater. With that drive, Opportunity exceeded the distance for a marathon (26.219 miles or 42.195 kilometers). On Sol 3959 (March 24), the rover continued to advance with a 28-foot (8.5-meter) approach to a light-toned rock outcrop.

As of Sol 3969, the solar array energy production was 610 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.678 and a solar array dust factor of 0.717.

Total odometry as of Sol 3969 (March 24, 2015) is 26.241 mile (42.230 kilometers).




sols 3957-3962, March 12, 2015-March 17, 2015: Approaching 'The Spirit of St. Louis' Crater

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater near 'Marathon Valley,' a putative location for abundant clay minerals. Opportunity in less than 328 feet (100 meters) away from the feature called 'The Spirit of St. Louis' at the entrance to Marathon Valley.

The rover completed the near-term science campaign this past week. On Sol 3957 (March 12, 2015), Opportunity bumped only a few centimeters to position a surface target within reach of the robotic arm instruments. Sol 3959 (March 14, 2015), began two days of in situ (contact) investigation of the rock target named 'Sgt. Nathaniel Pryor.' On each sol, the robotic arm used the Microscopic Imager (MI) to collect an image mosaic, then placed the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) to collect a multi-hour measurement of the elemental composition of the target. With the in-situ work complete, Opportunity drove 98 feet (30 meters) west to line up for the approach to the Spirit of St. Louis crater. The project is preparing to mask off the troubled Bank 7 sector of the Flash file system with a new version of the flight software on Sol 3964 (March 19, 2015).

As of Sol 3962 (March 17, 2015), the solar array energy production was 607 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.759 and a solar array dust factor of 0.740.

Total odometry is 26.17 miles (42.12 kilometers).




sols 3949-3956, March 4, 2015-March 11, 2015: Sampling Mars Rocks

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater near "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now only about 394 feet (120 meters) away.

The project is preparing to mask off the troubled Bank 7 sector of the Flash file system with a new version of the flight software (FSW) after the project completes the near-term science campaign.

The rover has sampled an unusual rock composition in the rim region near Marathon Valley. The near-term plan is to sample more rocks exhibiting the purple and bluish coloring that is apparent at this site.

On Sol 3950 (March 5, 2015), we began robotic arm work with a Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) brush and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurement of “blue rock” target “Sgt. Charles Floyd.” Due to Ultra High Frequency antenna data volume constraints we postponed doing a full Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic on the target until Sol 3952 (March 7, 2015). Depending on the results of the APXS measurement, the team was considering a follow-up grind on Sol 3955 (March 10, 2015). However as the subsequent analysis showed that Sgt. Charles Floyd appeared similar to another rock that we encountered out on the plains, and since it seemed to be very hard and would cause excessive wear on the RAT grind bit, we decided to move on to a “purple rock” target instead. On Sol 3955 (March 10, 2015), we bumped to target “Sgt. Nathaniel Pryor.” While the bump was successful, wheel straightening knocked the Instrument Deployment Device slightly out of alignment with the target and required us to do a small tank turn, which has been implemented in the Sol 3957 (March 12, 2015), plan.

As of Sol 3956 (March 11, 2015), the solar array energy production was 577 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.658 and a solar array dust factor of 0.725.

Total odometry is 26.15 miles (42.09 kilometers).




sols 3944-3948, February 27, 2015-March 3, 2015: Taking a Closer Look at Purple-Bluish Rock Formation

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater near "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now only about 394 feet (120 meters) away.

The project is preparing to mask off the troubled Bank 7 sector of the Flash file system with a new version of the flight software (FSW) after the project completes the near-term science campaign.

The rover has sampled an unusual rock composition in the rim region near Marathon Valley. The near-term plan is to sample more rocks exhibiting the purple and bluish coloring that is apparent at this site. On Sol 3945 (Feb. 28, 2015), Opportunity drove over 98 feet (30 meters) to the south to approach more of the purple and blue rock types. Supporting Navigation Camera (Navcam) and Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panoramas were also collected. On Sol 3848 (March 3, 2015), the rover bumped forward just under 13 feet (4 meters) to reach these rocks and place candidate targets within reach of the robotic arm instruments.

The plan ahead is to brush the surface targets with the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) and collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for a multi-hour integration.

As of Sol 3948 (March 3, 2015), the solar array energy production was 545 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.708 and a solar array dust factor of 0.687.

Total odometry is 26.15 miles (42.09 kilometers).




sols 3937-3943, February 19, 2015-February 26, 2015: New Flight Software to Fix Memory Issues is Onboard Rover

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater near "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now only about 492 feet (150 meters) away.

The project is preparing to mask off the troubled Bank 7 sector of the Flash file system with a new version of the flight software (FSW). The preparations for the FSW load and build were to begin with the 3-sol plan on Sol 3938 (Feb. 20, 2015). However, bad weather and a complex power outage in Canberra, Australia prevented the plans from being sent. The rover was allowed to safely execute its onboard runout plan for the weekend.

On Sol 3941 (Feb. 23, 2015), preparations were restarted for the FSW build. Remote sensing observations of Marathon Valley were also performed. On Sol 3942 (Feb. 24, 2015), the FSW patch was uploaded and the new FSW was successfully built and saved onboard. On the next sol, Opportunity successfully booted onto the new version of FSW and is running without error. Further remote observations of Marathon Valley with the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and the collection of an atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer were also commanded. The plan ahead is to allow a few days to confirm all aspects of the new FSW before performing the reformat of the Flash file system with the new software.

As of Sol 3943 (Feb. 26, 2015), the solar array energy production was 559 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.734 and a solar array dust factor of 0.674.

Total odometry is 26.13 miles (42.05 kilometers).




sols 3928-3936, February 10, 2015-February 18, 2015: Solar Panels Get a Small Energy Boost

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now only about 492 feet (150 meters) away.

The project is preparing to mask off the troubled Bank 7 sector of the Flash file system with a new version of the flight software to be uploaded shortly. On Sols 3928 and 3929 (Feb. 10 and 11, 2015), Opportunity performed some targeted color Panoramic Camera (Pancam) observations. On Sol 3930 (Feb. 12, 2015), the rover drove about 66 feet (20 meters) to get a view into Marathon Valley. This was followed by a post-drive Navigation Camera (Navcam) panorama. Opportunity drove again on Sol 3932 (Feb. 14, 2015), bumping near a potential surface target. An atmospheric argon measurement with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was made. On the following two sols a 360-degree Navcam panorama was collected.

A small dust cleaning events occurred on Sol 3934 (Feb. 16, 2015) improving energy production by about 12 percent. On Sol 3935 (Feb. 17, 2015), the robotic arm was used to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the surface target "Jean Baptiste Charboneau" followed by an APXS placement on the same for a multi-hour integration. Opportunity drove again on Sol 3936 (Feb. 18, 2015), with a 9.8-meter drive to get a better view into the interior of Marathon Valley.

As of Sol 3936 (Feb. 18, 2015), the solar array energy production was 559 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.816 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.695.

Total odometry is 26.13 miles (42.05 kilometers).




sols 3922-3927, February 4, 2015-February 9, 2015: Latest Drive Puts Rover Within Marathon-Distance Record

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now only about 656 feet (200 meters) away.

The project is operating the rover without using the Flash storage system to avoid resets associated with a corrupted portion of Flash. The project is preparing to mask off the troubled sector of Flash and resume using the remainder of the Flash file system.

On Sol 3923 (Feb. 5, 2015), Opportunity drove 72 feet (21.7 meters) south, following the drive with post-drive Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam) drive-direction panoramas. On the following sol, the rover completed the Navcam 360-degree panorama with more imagery.

On Sol 3925 (Feb. 7, 2015), Opportunity performed the first sol of a two-sol "touch 'n go" using the robotic arm (the "touch") to collect Microscopic Imager frames and then place the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer on a surface target for a multi-hour integration. On the next sol (the "go"), the rover drove over 102 feet (31 meters) and then collected more drive direction imagery. With this drive Opportunity exceeded (26 miles) 42 kilometers of driving distance on Mars.

As of Sol 3927 (Feb. 9, 2015), the solar array energy production was 479 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.824 and a solar array dust factor of 0.606.

Total odometry is 26.11 miles (42 kilometers).




sols 3915-3921, January 28, 2015-February 3, 2015: Rover Continues Driving While Team Works on Rover Memory Issues

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now only about 656 feet (200 meters) away.

The project is operating the rover without using the Flash storage system to avoid resets associated with a corrupted portion of Flash. The project is preparing to mask off the troubled sector of Flash and resume using the remainder of the Flash file system.

Opportunity drove on Sols 3916, 3918 and 3921 (Jan. 29, Jan. 31 and Feb. 3, 2015), totaling about 282 feet (86 meters). The operations strategy has been to perform pre-drive targeted imaging, then drive on the first sol of a multi-sol plan, collecting post-drive Panoramic Camera (Pancam) and Navigation Camera (Navcam) imagery in the forward direction for data return that evening. Then, on the next sol, complete the 360-degree Navcam panorama with images in the rearward direction.

As of Sol 3921 (Feb. 3, 2015), the solar array energy production was 484 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.949 and a solar array dust factor of 0.632.

Total odometry is 26.08 miles (41.97 kilometers).




sols 3909-3914, January 22, 2015-January 27, 2015: Several Drives This Week Put Opportunity Near Marathon Distance

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now about 984 feet (300 meters) away.

The project is operating the rover without using the Flash storage system to avoid reset problems and is using instead random access memory (RAM) for temporary storage of telemetry. The project is preparing to mask off the troubled sector of Flash and resume using the remainder of the Flash file system in normal operations.

Opportunity drove on Sols 3909, 3911 and 3914 (Jan. 22, Jan. 24 and Jan. 27, 2015), totaling almost 279 feet (85 meters). On the evening of Sol 3912 (Jan. 25, 2015), an atmospheric argon measurement was collected with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer. Targeted color imagery is being collected as the rover makes progress towards the "Spirit of St. Louis" crater and Marathon Valley.

As of Sol 3914 (Jan. 27, 2015), the estimated solar array energy production was 534 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.891 and an inferred solar array dust factor of 0.636.

Total odometry is 26.02 miles (41.88 kilometers).




sols 3902-3908, January 14, 2015-January 21, 2015: Team Has Plan to Fix Flash Memory Issue

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now less than 1,312 feet (400 meters) to the south.

The Flash memory degradation causes multiple resets of the rover on each wake-up. To mitigate this, the project is operating the rover without using the non-volatile Flash storage system, and using instead the volatile random access memory (RAM) for temporary storage of telemetry. Recently, the project was able to configure the rover to use this mode at every wakeup without the need to set this mode each time with a ground command.

Meanwhile, the project is preparing to mask off the troubled sector of Flash and resume using the remainder of the Flash file system in normal operations. The plan to implement the masking was reviewed last week by an independent panel and the project was given the go ahead.

Opportunity drove on Sols 3902, 3905 and 3908 (Jan. 14, Jan. 16 and Jan. 21, 2015), totaling over 574 feet (175 meters).

As of Sol 3908 (Jan. 21, 2015), the solar array energy production was 440 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.037 and a solar array dust factor of 0.596 (from Sol 3906/Jan. 18, 2015).

Total odometry is 25.97 miles (41.80 kilometers).




sols 3895-3901, January 7, 2015-January 13, 2015: Team Working on Strategy to Fix Flash Memory Issue

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now less than 1,969 feet (600 meters) to the south.

The Flash memory degradation is causing multiple resets of the rover on each wake-up. To mitigate this, the project is operating the rover without using the non-volatile Flash storage system, and using instead the volatile random access memory (RAM) for temporary storage of telemetry. This requires real-time commanding the rover on the first day (sol) of each plan.

Meanwhile, the project has developed the strategy to mask off the troubled sector of Flash and resume using the remainder of the Flash file system in normal operations. The project plans to implement the masking after an independent review is held later this week.

Using RAM storage, Opportunity drove on Sol 3895 (Jan. 7, 2015), to do a small turn in place. Since arriving on the summit of "Cape Tribulation" on Sol 3894 (Jan. 6, 2015), Opportunity has been collecting a full color, 360-degree Panoramic Camera (Pancam) panorama.

As of Sol 3901 (Jan. 13, 2015), the solar array energy production was 395 watt-hours, an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.056 and a solar array dust factor of 0.606.

Total odometry is 25.86 miles (41.62 kilometers).




sols 3875-3894, December 18, 2014 - January 6, 2015: Rover Reaches the Summit of 'Cape Tribulation' After Several Drives this Week

Opportunity is on the west rim of Endeavour Crater heading towards "Marathon Valley," a putative location for abundant clay minerals now only about 1,969 feet (600 meters) to the south.

The Flash memory continues to degrade causing multiple resets of the rover on each wake-up. To mitigate this, the project is operating the rover without using the non-volatile Flash storage system, and instead relies on the volatile random access memory (RAM) for temporary storage of telemetry. This requires real-time commanding the rover on the first sol of each plan. Meanwhile, the project is developing a strategy to mask off the troubled sector of Flash and resume using the remainder of the Flash file system in normal operations.

Using RAM storage, Opportunity drove on Sols 3875, 3881, 3893 and 3894 (Dec. 18, 24, 2014 and Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2015), totaling over 656 feet (200 meters). With the drive on Sol 3894 (Jan. 6, 2015), Opportunity is now on the summit of "Cape Tribulation," the highest point so far on the western rim of Endeavour Crater. This point is 443 feet (135 meters) above the plain of "Botany Bay" before the rover started climbing the rim.

As of Sol 3894 (Jan. 6, 2015), the solar array energy production was 438 watt-hours, an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 1.041 and a solar array dust factor of 0.631.

Total odometry is 25.86 miles (41.62 kilometers).


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