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PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE - To MARS with MER

Daily Updates - June 10, 2004
Opportunity Status at end of sol 123-126

On Opportunity’s 123rd sol the rover completed an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer activity and performed a Moessbauer spectrometer read on the target called "McDonnell." The rover also acquired microscopic images before repositioning to set up for instrument deployment device (arm) work on the target referred to as "Pyrrho." This interesting rock on the Endurance rim has a braided ripple pattern. After more remote sensing, Opportunity successfully went into "deep sleep" mode to conserve energy overnight and into the morning of sol 124.

Awakening from deep sleep on sol 124, Opportunity performed miniature thermal emission spectrometer activities, proving that the instrument was, once again, able to survive the cold martian night without its heater running. The rover also acquired 75 microscopic images and performed a Moessbauer integration on Pyrrho before executing another repositioning to put the target rock called "Diogenes" within the instrument arm’s work volume. This short drive was perfect and set the scene for rover planners to access nearly any point on this rock filled with intriguing disc-shaped cavities. Opportunity again took advantage of the deep sleep mode overnight into the morning of sol 125.

On Sol 125, the rover acquired 76 microscopic images on Diogenes. Very little else was done on this sol, as rover planners opted not to enter deep sleep in favor of waking up for the morning Mars Odyssey pass on Sol 126. Because it performed extensive instrument arm work and stayed awake for two Odyssey passes, the rover drained a fair amount from its battery.

Sol 126 was a very active sol, beginning with a quick placement of the Moessbauer instrument on Diogenes. The rover then napped for about two hours while the Moessbauer performed its integration. Upon waking, the rover stowed its arm and began a mobility test and preparation activity that will aid rover planners should they decide to traverse down steep rocky slopes in Endurance Crater. This set of activities included a draw-bar pull activity where the front rover wheels are locked and dragged back across rocks by driving the other four wheels backwards for about one meter (3.3 feet). The draw-bar pull is intended to give insight into the friction between the wheels and the rock surface at this site. The other mobility preparation activity was to scuff each wheel on the surface by driving one wheel at a time for a few rotations in each direction (with all the other wheels locked). This "pawing at the ground" activity was intended to scrub off the anodized layer on the surfaces of the wheels, which will allow for better grip. After these mobility activities, Opportunity traversed about 72 meters (236.2 feet) west around the crater towards "Karatepe." This very busy day also included relaying about 190 Megabits of data through Odyssey with two back-to-back afternoon passes. All this was made possible by having the option of deep sleep to save energy overnight, which Opportunity took full advantage of overnight into sol 127.

The plan for the coming sols involves approaching the rim of Endurance and imaging potential entry points to aid in the decision of whether or not to enter the crater.

Opportunity Daily Update Archive