Mars Exploration Rover Update - May 16, 2006

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Excellent Progress Toward ‘Victoria Crater’ -
sol 811-817, May 16, 2006:

Opportunity examined the crest of a ripple and drove about 200 meters
(656 feet), putting itself within about 1,100 meters (two-thirds of a
mile) of “Victoria Crater.” The ripple-crest inspection included a
stereo look at target “Pecos River” with the microscopic imager.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 811 (May 6, 2006): Opportunity took a stereo microscopic image of
Pecos River. During the communication-relay UHF pass with NASA’s Mars
Odyssey orbiter, the rover used its miniature thermal emission
spectrometer on a target called “Horsehead.” In the morning, the
panoramic camera took images of Horsehead and “Chadbourne” with all 13
of the camera’s filters.

Sol 812: The rover’s miniature thermal emission spectrometer observed
sky and ground targets. The panoramic camera checked dust on magnets
on the camera mast, and assessed the clarity of the atmosphere. Two
afternoon UHF passes were used. The first was a UHF forward-link
demonstration for the 2007 Phoenix Mars Lander mission, performed with
Odyssey low in the sky.

Sol 813: Opportunity conducted a morning observation with the miniature
thermal emission spectrometer during uplink of the day’s commands, then
took a pre-drive, 13-filter image of the work volume with the panoramic
camera. The rover drove backwards for one hour, covering 40.14 meters
(132 feet), and took post-drive images.

Sol 814: Opportunity did 1.5 hours of driving for 52.38 meters (172
feet) and did post-drive imaging. The drive used both blind driving
(following a route chosen by rover planners) and autonomous navigation.

Sol 815: The rover drove 1.5 hours blind for 45.61 meters (150 feet).

Sol 816: This sol was an atmospheric-science day. Opportunity stowed
robotic arm and drove 1.5 hours for 38.12 meters (125 feet). The rover
then unstowed its arm and took post-drive images. During the Odyssey
uplink, Opportunity was able to do a sky and ground observation with
miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover took a pre-sunset
image with the panoramic camera after the Odyssey pass.

Sol 817 (May 12, 2006): The activity plan for this sol included a drive
of about 22 meters (72 feet).

Opportunity’s total odometry as of sol 816 (May 11, 2006) was 7,769.52
meters (4.83 miles).