Mars Exploration Rover Update - December 7, 2006

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/status.html#opportunity

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity’s Odometer Reaches Six-Mile Mark at
‘Bottomless Bay’ - sol 1016-1021, December 07, 2006:

Opportunity is healthy and wrapping up imaging of “Bottomless Bay”
(Bahia sin Fondo) at “Victoria Crater.”

On Sol 1016, Opportunity arrived at Bottomless Bay and began making
science observations. Opportunity also performed step one of a series
of
checkouts of its new capability for more autonomous assessment of where
it is safe to place its robotic arm. This test did not involve any arm
motion.

On Sol 1018, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer measured the
atmosphere’s argon density. While pointed at the atmosphere, the
instrument was turned on and left integrating for almost three hours.
With the temperature and argon density in hand, scientists can
calculate
what percentage of the atmosphere at the rover site is argon. By doing
measurements of this nature, scientists can get a better understanding
of how atmospheric gases mix between the poles and the equator.

On Sols 1019, 1020 and 1021 Opportunity was busy completing photography
of Bottomless Bay.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Daily, Opportunity completes science observations that include: tau
(atmospheric clarity) measurements with the panoramic camera, cloud
searches with the navigation camera, and stares at the sky and ground
with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1016 (Dec. 2, 2006): Opportunity drove for two hours, adding 30
meters (98 feet) onto its drive toward Bottomless Bay. The rover then
took a navigation camera mosaic in the drive direction and completed
step one of checking the capability for autonomous placement of the
robotic arm.

Sol 1017: Opportunity used part of this sol to conduct the daily
science
observations and then used the rest of the sol to recharge.

Sol 1018: The rover examined the ground in front of it with the
panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Those
instruments were also used to monitor dust accumulation on the solar
panels. The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer began a 2.5-hour argon
density measurement.

Sol 1019: The panoramic camera took images for the first half of a
stereo mosaic of Bottomless Bay. Opportunity then turned so it would be
in a better position for communication.

Sol 1020: Opportunity used part of this sol to conduct the daily
science
observations and then used the rest of the sol to recharge.

Sol 1021 (Dec. 7, 2006): The rover took a 2-meter (6.6 feet) drive
along
Bottomless Bay and the panoramic camera took the second half of the
stereo mosaic of Bottomless Bay.

As of sol 1016’s drive, Opportunity’s total odometry is 9,584.69 meters
(6 miles)!