OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Studies Rocks Representative of Crater Wall - sol 1171-1177, May 25, 2007:
Opportunity is healthy and continues to circumnavigate “Victoria Crater” back toward “Duck Bay.” While stationed at the “Madrid/Guadarrama” outcrop on the “Cape of Good Hope,” Opportunity has been studying a cobble with unusual spectral characteristics as measured by the panoramic camera.
The cobbles appear to be similar to two rock faces, nicknamed “Madrid” and “Guadarrama,” exposed in the wall of the crater. Because the crater walls are hard to reach, scientists hope to get an idea of their composition by examining similar cobbles nearby. These rocks have different color properties from other materials seen at Victoria Crater and are believed to be crater ejecta. They are chock full of “big blueberries” – small, round rocks.
On the rover’s 1,172nd sol, or Martian day (May 11, 2007), Opportunity performed a thermal inertia experiment on a soil target to complete measurements inside and outside of the dark streaks on the northern side of the crater. This experiment measured temperature-related properties of the soil.
In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Opportunity completed the following activities:
Sol 1171 (May 10, 2007): Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images of Guadarrama and Madrid and stowed the robotic arm. The planned drive to a cobble called “Pedriza” ended prematurely after about 0.86 meters (2.8 feet) when Opportunity’s left middle wheel snagged a rock. The rover unstowed the robotic arm, acquired post-drive navigation camera images, and measured atmospheric argon with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. Opportunity scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.
Sol 1172: In the morning, Opportunity surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera. The rover acquired panoramic camera images of targets known as “Cercedilla” and “Fuenfria” as well as Guadarrama. The rover studied Cercedilla as well as the rover’s own external calibration target and another target known as “Navacerrda” with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images of Guadarrama, searched for clouds with the navigation camera, and studied thermal inertia of soil during the day and overnight.
Sol 1173: Opportunity started the day with continued studies of thermal properties of the soil. Then Opportunity stowed the robotic arm, completed the previously planned drive, and unstowed the robotic arm. The rover acquired navigation camera images to the front and to the rear following the drive. Opportunity measured atmospheric dust levels at sunset and scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera.
Sol 1174: Opportunity spent the day acquiring detailed scans of the sky, ground, and rover mast with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and measuring atmospheric dust. The rover also scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.
Sol 1175: In the morning, Opportunity took panoramic camera images of the sky. The rover stowed the robotic arm, inched backward toward Cercedilla, acquired panoramic camera images of Cercedilla, and unstowed the robotic arm. Opportunity acquired navigation camera images after the drive and surveyed targets known as “Cardosillas,” “Quintanar,” the rover’s external calibration target, “Machotas,” and “Hierro” using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover surveyed the sky at low sun and acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera.
Sol 1176: Opportunity searched for morning clouds with the navigation camera and acquired stereo microscopic images of a particular exposure of Cercedilla known as “Penota.” The rover placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on Penota, surveyed Hierro with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera in support of observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover surveyed targets known as “Matabueyes,” “Morcuera,” “Carpetanos,” and “Somosietta” with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Opportunity then proceeded with alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer observations of Penota.
Sol 1177 (May 17, 2007): Opportunity monitored dust on the rover mast, conducted a seek/grind procedure with the rock abrasion tool, and acquired post-drive images as well as images of Mataueyes, Morcuera, Carpetanos, Somosierra, and Pedriza with the panoramic camera. The following morning, the rover was to acquire thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera.
As of sol 1177 (May 17, 2007), Opportunity’s total odometry was 10,791 meters (6.71 miles).