[meteorite-list] From Mars Rover Opportunity: Panorama Above 'Perseverance Valley'

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2017 16:37:13 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201708242337.v7ONbDNo026775_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


>From Mars Rover: Panorama Above 'Perseverance Valley'
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
July 20, 2017

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity recorded a panoramic view before
entering the upper end of a fluid-carved valley that descends the inner
slope of a large crater's rim.

The scene includes a broad notch in the crest of the crater's rim, which
may have been a spillway where water or ice or wind flowed over the rim
and into the crater. Wheel tracks visible in the area of the notch were
left by Opportunity as the rover studied the ground there and took images
into the valley below for use in planning its route.

"It is a tantalizing scene," said Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator
Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis. "You can see what
appear to be channels lined by boulders, and the putative spillway at
the top of Perseverance Valley. We have not ruled out any of the possibilities
of water, ice or wind being responsible."

Opportunity's panoramic camera (Pancam) took the component images of the
scene during a two-week driving moratorium in June 2017 while rover engineers
diagnosed a temporary stall in the left-front wheel's steering actuator.
The wheel was pointed outward more than 30 degrees, prompting the team
to call the resulting vista Pancam's "Sprained Ankle" panorama. Both ends
of the scene show portions of Endeavour Crater's western rim, extending
north and south, and the center of the scene shows terrain just outside
the crater.

The team was able to straighten the wheel to point straight ahead, and
now uses the steering capability of only the two rear wheels. The right-front
wheel's steering actuator has been disabled since 2006. Opportunity has
driven 27.95 miles (44.97 kilometers) since landing on Mars in 2004.

On July 7, 2017, Opportunity drove to the site within upper Perseverance
Valley where it will spend about three weeks without driving while Mars
passes nearly behind the sun from Earth's perspective, affecting radio
communications. The rover's current location is just out of sight in the
Sprained Ankle panorama, below the possible spillway. Opportunity is using
Pancam to record another grand view from this location.

After full communications resume in early August, the team plans to drive
Opportunity farther down Perseverance Valley, seeking to learn more about
the process that carved it.

For more information about Opportunity's adventures on Mars, visit:


News Media Contact
Guy Webster
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster at jpl.nasa.gov

Laurie Cantillo / Dwayne Brown
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1077 / 202-358-1726
laura.l.cantillo at nasa.gov / dwayne.c.brown at nasa.gov
Received on Thu 24 Aug 2017 07:37:13 PM PDT

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