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Daily Updates - March 16, 2004
Opportunity Status at end of sol 51

Opportunity reached the first of five targets in its current soil survey on the rover's 51st sol on Mars. The sol, which ended at 4:47 p.m. PST on March 16, began with a salute to the rover's intended target on the southern face of the crater it has been exploring since its early sols on Mars. "Song of the South" by Alabama was chosen to wake Opportunity for a busy sol that involved a 15-meter (49.2 feet) u-shaped drive toward the soil target.

Before the rover ventured away from the outcrop that has been the focus for most of its mission, alpha particle x-ray spectrometer observations were completed on the red rind dubbed "Shark's Tooth." The arm was stowed before Opportunity "scuffed" the rock "Carousel" with its front left wheel. Results of the experiment were imaged as Opportunity backed up and prepared to drive away from the outcrop.

Backing down toward the center of the crater and then arcing around the Challenger Memorial Station, Opportunity ultimately drove back up the slope to a position fairly close to the rim. On its way to the current soil target, the rover was also able to image the trench it dug on sol 23 from a different angle.

In the coming sols, Opportunity will use the instruments on its arm to examine all five soil targets identified for the soil survey.

Opportunity Daily Update Archive