Field Notes from Mars:

Status Reports for MER Opportunity Rover at Endeavour Crater, Meridiani Planum

 

L. Crumpler, MER Science Team & New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is still exploring Mars.

 


Latest Report


Sol 3848 - November 20, 2014


Opportunity finished up its work on Wdowiak Ridge and has now continued southward along the rim of Endeavour crater. The ultimate goal is a large valley cutting through the crater rim that we have informally named “Marathon Valley”.

Opportunity is making progress along the western rim. Endeavour crater is about 22 km across or about the size of the Valles Caldera west of Santa Fe  here in New Mexico. The yellow line shows the full traverse from landing site to the current location on the rim of Endeavour crater, about 25 miles of traverse.

This image shows how much we have progressed since the last report. The red line shows how far we need to go to get to Marathon Valley. We spent a lot of time at a small crater (“Ulysses crater”) there on the western end of Wdowiak ridge  where we looked at some of the ejecta blocks. Many had some strange slab-like layers on the exteriors that begged for examination. And there were so many rocks in the ejecta field around the crater that Opportunity had trouble maneuvering quickly.

 

Also, while working on the ejecta at Ulysses crater on Wdowiak Ridge, Opportunity made successful Oct 19 3AM observations of the comet Siding Springs, that zipped past Mars at 140,000 km distance. Opportunity nailed the comet precisely. 

 

Since leaving Wdowiak Ridge Opportunity has ascended along the ridge towards a series of fractures just west of the crater rim ridge crest. Other wise there has been a lot of soil/regolith obscuring the ground. These are current views from the Navcam looking north and east-southeast.

But here there is an unusual linear outcrop trending almost at right angles to the crater rim. It is a potential deep-seated fracture along which aqueous fluid moved a long time ago. So we thought that we should give it a good checkout. We may be here over the Thanksgiving holiday studying this outcrop, especially if it turns out to be interesting. Aside from the unusual linear outcrop, there is a commanding view from this elevated position on the rim. The panoramic views will get better if the dust levels ever fall from the recent dust storms that moved through here.  

Once we finish up here we expect a rapid traverse to the summit where Opportunity will have an exceptional view of the crater and the surrounding plains. In fact, this will likely be the highest point that Opportunity will ever attain. Current plans are to arrive at the summit no later than early January. But maybe the progress will be quicker. From there it will be down hill to Marathon Valley by March 2015. At least, that is the plan.


 


Archived sols



 

Sol 3808 - October 10, 2014
? still climbing the rim of Endeavour crater ? working near Ulysses crater a couple of more weeks ? Opportunity about to become a comet flyby mission
Sol 3790-September 22, 2014
? Rover memory has been re-formatted ? Ascending along Wdowiak Ridge ? Opportunity has arrived an impact crater on the ridge ? The view of the surroundings is beginning to get pretty nice
Sol 3753 - August 15, 2014
? Opportunity is now commencing ascent of a steep crater rim segment ? Opportunity has arrived at the base of an unusual outcrop ? Approximate 200 sol journey along ?mountain ridge crest? ahead
Sol 3650 - May 2, 2014
? Opportunity continues driving south along the rim of Endeavour crater ? Now approaching next area of outcrop ? Solar panels remain very clean, cleanest since about sol 1600 ? Approaching distance driving record
Sol3623 - April 3, 2014
Opportunity is several weeks past winter solstice. Solar panels are the cleanest since 2006, we are driving south along the rim near the crest of Murray Ridge

Older sols..

Sol 3572 -February 10, 2014
? The NM Museum of Natural History MER 10th Anniversary Exhibit opened here on January 24 ? Opportunity is still at its "winter haven" on the crest of Murray Ridge ? Opportunity finally finished its study of the "jelly donut" rock Pinnacle Island ? Opportunity is looking now at some odd, possibly mineralized rocks
Sol 3556 - January 24, 2014
? Today is Opportunity's tenth birthday ? Opportunity is at its "winter haven" on the crest of Murray Ridge ? Opportunity is investigating the "mystery rock" Pinnacle Island ? Power is good due to panel cleaning events
Sol 3519 - December 18, 2013
- Opportunity is near summit of this part of Endeavour crater rim - the rock types that we have searched for may be in local outcrops - winter power is looking good
Sol 3494 -  November 21, 2013
- the climb continues along the crest of the crater rim - Opportunity is now very high and the view is starting to be spectacular - possible important outcrops spotted ahead
Sol 3467 - October 24, 2013
- Opportunity has begun the ascent of Solander Point - northward tilts of 15 ? or better at the end of each drive - outcrops look like impact breccias back on the crest of Cape York
Sol 3431 - September 18, 2013
- Opportunity "wades ashore" at Solander Point on September 13 - climbing Solander Point is imminent - spectacular Navcam panorama of the major geologic contact at this location
Sol 3397 - August 13, 2013
Opportunity is at the base of Solander Point. A boulder field here appears to be mostly vesicular basalt, a rock type that is not local. Shortly Opportunity will drive northwest along the scarp at the base of Solander Point.
Sol 3385 - August 2, 2013
The opportunity is less than 100m from "landfall" on Solander Point. The next drive will put Opportunity at the "shore". A "New World" is about to be explored; what strange rocks and structures will we encounter?
Sol 3378 - July 25, 2013
The Opportunity is about to finish the last observations in the plains before arrival at the next mountain, there is a short stop here to measure one last rock in the planes.
Sol 3363 - July 10, 2013
Opportunity is only a couple of hundred meters out and closing fast on the next mountain. A short side trip east is in the works to check out an anomaly in the terrain
 Sol 3355 - July 2, 2013
Opportunity has exceeded 37 kilometers of odometry, has driven up onto the next "island" of rock, "Sutherland Point" and "Nobbys Head" as of sol 3325, and is currently is only about 700 m from the goal, the mountains to the south.
Sol 3325- June 3, 2013
Opportunity has driven up onto the bench on the east side of Sutherland Point.
Sol 3317- May 24, 2013
Since sol 3308 Opportunity has been driving south, on sol 3315 Opportunity reached the end of Cape York" and is now driving in the "plains".
Sol 3310 - May 17, 2013
Opportunity finishes studies at Matijevic Hill and begins the drive south and breaks off-Earth driving distance record set by Apollo 17.
Sol 3262- March 29, 2013
Opportunity is doing one last "hurrah" here at Cape York before solar conjunction on a particularly interesting outcrop with a composition and structure unlike anything encountered before.
Sol 3237-3239 - March 4, 2013
Rover Memory Hiccup. Flash memory or computer problems oddly occurred on both Curiosity and Opportunity around Feb 27.
Sol 3220-3236 - March 1, 2013
Clean-up activities in preparation for driving south.
Sol 3219 - February 13, 2013
We sent Opportunity a few meters uphill looking for the contact and are trying to get a quick composition and microscopic image on the outcrop.
Sol 3215 - February 6, 2013
Lots of small light-colored veins crossing through the outcrops here on Matijevic Hill, and we have tried to get a handle on the composition of these veins by doing multiple offsets with the APXS. We moved north to an outcrop we called "Flack Lake" recently and did a quick look at the rocks with the MI and APXS.
Sol 3188 - January 11, 2013
Completed the bump and may have the target in the work volume....
Sol 3185 - January 9, 2013
Another New Mexico name gets used for a Mars outcrop target.
Sol 3182 - January 6, 2013
We finished up with examination of the big outcrop ("Copper Cliff") and moved to the next target over the weekend.
Sol 3153 - December 7, 2012
Traveling towards to big outcrop "Copper Cliff".
Sol 3151-3152 - December 5-6, 2012
The decision was made to drive to the outcrop to the immediate west "Copper Cliff".
Sol 3150 - December 3, 2012
Finished Outcrop Walk, Starting Detailed Examination of Outcrops, Looking for Clays
Sol 3111- October 23, 2012
An "outcrop walk" with Opportunity on the slopes of Cape York, a small residual part of the rim on the 20+ km diameter Endeavour crater, Mars.