[meteorite-list] Mars Rover Opportunity Update: November 26-December 5, 2013

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2013 17:11:04 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <201312070111.rB71B4iR027234_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Team Conducts Wheel Checkouts - sols 3499-3507,
Nov. 26, 2013-Dec. 05, 2013:

Opportunity is ascending 'Solander Point' at the rim of 'Endeavour Crater.'

The rover is maintaining favorable northerly tilts for improved energy
production. In place for the long Thanksgiving Holiday, Opportunity
conducted some in-situ (contact) science at another exposed rock
outcrop. On Sol 3502 (Nov. 29, 2013), the rover used the Microscopic
Imager (MI) to collect a mosaic of the target named 'Mount Tempest.'
That was followed by the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray
Spectrometer (APXS) on the same for a multi-sol integration. After the
holiday pause, the rover began moving again toward the winter destination.

On Sol 3505 (Dec. 2, 2013), Opportunity drove over 115 feet (35 meters)
towards another energy lily pad that provide a view of the winter
destination location. On Sol 3506 (Dec. 3, 2013), the rover pushed
another 98 feet (30 meters) south up the grade of Solander Point.
However, on that sol higher than expected currents were seen in the
right-front wheel. The right-front wheel has exhibited higher than
expected currents for years, but had been well behaved recently. So this
sudden jump up in current does raise some concerns. Because the rover
was in an unfavorable tilt at the end of this drive and the need to get
more information about the wheel, a 66 feet (20-meter) drive was
sequenced on Sol 3507 (Dec. 5, 2013). This drive included several
diagnostic elements. First, we increased the sampling rate on the wheel
current to watch it closely. Second, we added a short 3 feet (1-meter)
back and forth at the end of the drive. This would provide some insight
into the directional behavior of the higher currents. We have been
driving backward for years now, so have put more odometry on the rover
going backward than forward. The Sol 3507 (Dec. 5 2013), drive show
elevated but stable right-front wheel current for the 66-feet (20-meter)
backward drive, but reduced current for the short 3-feet (1-meter)
forward drive, then elevated again for the 3-feet (1-meter) backward
movement. It is too early to say what this means. More investigation,
analysis and diagnostics are to be done.

As of Sol 3507 (Dec. 5, 2013), the solar array energy production was 270
watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.549 and a solar array
dust factor of 0.467.

Total odometry is 24.05 miles (38.70 kilometers).
Received on Fri 06 Dec 2013 08:11:04 PM PST

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