Sol 4718 – Approaching the Head of Perseverance Valley!
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Rover Field Reports 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. Below is a brief field report summary of its latest activity.
Sol 5135 - Opportunity Continues Weathering the Global Dust Event of 2018 at Perseverance Valley
Opportunity is hunkered down in the floor of Perseverance Valley here on the inner wall of Endeavour crater waiting out the global dust storm of 2018.
The outcrop currently being investigated, “La Joya”, is exposed sitting in the floor of Perseverance Valley and is an anomalous basaltic and vesicular petrology. Meanwhile the north and south walls of the valley appear to be rather clast-poor impact breccias which we believe may not be from Endeavouur crater, but instead represent a “pre-Endeavour:” lithology. And Perseverance Valley seems to have north and south walls that line up with very noticeable faults (“Socorro” and “La Bajada”) cutting through the crater rim.
Status of Dust Storm:
- MRO/ HiRISE images acquired over the last week are mostly unusable except for the south pole and some high northern latitudes
- MRO/MARCI reports that dust was still lifting in several locations, so the storm is not abating yet
- Current assessment of the present storm by the Martian weather experts suggest that this storm is more like the 2001 storm than the 2007 storm. In that storm opacity (tau) did not drop below 2.0 (an acceptable number for Opportunity) until about 80 sols (Mars days) after the storm started.
Above is an oblique view of the current location of Opportunity on the inner wall of Endeavour crater showing the course of Perseverance valley. Also, high-lighted in cyan, are the two fractures or faults that appear to form the north and south margins of the south fork of the two-forked valley. The red and pink areas are the locations of unusual outcrops of basaltic rocks exposed in the floor of the valley. Outcrops outside the valley are largely impact breccias making up the wall of Endeavour crater.
Sol 5104, front Hazcam view from Opportunity just before the beginning of the dust storm. Opportunity is examining the outcrop target “La Joya” in the floor of Perseverance Valley. Notice the tilt. At this location Opportunity is sitting on an 18 to 20 degree tilt. Every move is calculated carefully because every move causes a down-hill slip.
View up valley from Opportunity’s current location showing the principal characteristics of Perseverance Valley at this location. This is a superposition of a color Pancam mosaic on a black and white Navcam mosaic.