Opportunity Prepares for Arrival of Phoenix While Exploring "Victoria Crater"
Nov. 06, 2007
Opportunity is healthy and receiving an average of 685 watt-hours of energy from the solar arrays (that's enough energy to run a 100-watt lightbulb for almost 7 hours). On sol (Martian day) 1327 (Oct. 18, 2007), the rover backed away from the "Steno" rock layer inside "Victoria Crater" to move within reach of the "Smith" rock layer a few meters deeper into the crater. However, the rover terminated the drive earlier than planned when stereo images in the visual odometry system, which enables the rover to use computer smarts to compare stereo images and accurately determine the rover's location, failed to line up properly. Opportunity re-pointed the cameras, acquired new stereo images for visual odometry, and completed the drive to Smith on sol 1329 (Oct. 20, 2007).
On Sol 1330 (Oct. 21, 2007), Opportunity supported a communications test on behalf of the Phoenix mission that demonstrated that large data sequences could be sent from Earth via the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter. The test involved multiple transmissions that were reassembled successfully on board by Opportunity. The rover recognized and received all four data sequences.
On sol 1332 (Oct. 23, 2007), Opportunity began a campaign that included acquiring a stereo (3D) microscopic image mosaic of Smith as well as compositional data about the rock outcrop. The following day, Sol 1333 (Oct. 24, 2007), Opportunity took panoramic camera images of a target known as "Sharp" -- a sequence of fine rock layers -- at different times of day to determine how the images were affected by changes in illumination. The day after that, sol 1334 (Oct. 25, 2007), Opportunity completed the first of a two-step process for brushing the surface of Smith. Plans called for Opportunity to finish the brushing sequence over the weekend, on sol 1336 (Oct. 27, 2007).
In addition to standard observations that included measurements of atmospheric dust with the panoramic and navigation cameras, surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and transfers of data to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter, Opportunity completed the following activities:
Sol 1329 (Oct. 20, 2007): Opportunity took pre-drive, full-color, panoramic camera images of a two-toned rock target known as "Sedgwick" as well as images of "Cape Verde," a rock promontory. The rover stowed the robotic arm and drove to Smith. Opportunity then acquired post-drive images with the hazard avoidance cameras, rearward - and forward-looking images with the navigation camera, and unstowed the robotic arm. The next morning, Opportunity took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1330: Opportunity used the navigation camera to survey surfaces in the rover's shadow to characterize the brightness of the sky as well as dust on the camera itself. After the overhead pass of the Odyssey spacecraft, the rover spent 7 hours measuring atmospheric argon using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. In the evening, Opportunity communicated with Mars Express at UHF frequencies. The next morning, the rover surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1331: After measuring atmospheric dust, Opportunity took a nap until 2:30 p.m. local Mars time. The rover surveyed the sky with the panoramic camera while continuing to monitor atmospheric dust. In the morning, Opportunity acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of iron-bearing particles accumulated on the rover's external magnets. The rover also monitored dust accumulation on the mast.
Sol 1332: Opportunity acquired a panel of stereo microscopic images of Smith, including extra images to improve the signal-to-noise ratio (eliminate random interference) resulting from dust accumulation on the microscopic imager. The rover placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on Smith, acquired panoramic camera images of a rock layer called "Lyell," and, after communicating with Odyssey, acquired data from Smith with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The next morning, the rover surveyed the sky, took spot images of the sky, and surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1333: Opportunity took panoramic camera images of both Sharp and Lyell. After transmitting data to Odyssey, the rover resumed collecting data from Smith with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The next morning, the rover took thumbnail images of the sky, spot images of the sky, and surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1334: Opportunity positioned the rock abrasion tool on Smith (the first step of the process for brushing the surface) and acquired panoramic camera images of rock targets known as "Kuenen" and "Lapworth." The next morning, the rover surveyed the sky with the panoramic camera, monitored dust accumulation on the rover mast assembly, and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1335 (Oct. 26, 2007): Plans called for Opportunity to acquire panoramic camera image mosaics of Lyell, including specific targets known as "Lyell South" and a custom mosaic of a target called "Lyell Top." The rover was also to acquire panoramic camera images of a rock target known as "Conybeare." The following morning, the rover was to take thumbnail images of the sky and survey the horizon with the panoramic camera.
As of sol 1332 (Oct. 23, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was 11,584 meters (7.2 miles).
Source: NASA / JPL