Opportunity Examines Crater Ejecta
7 Aug 2006
After traversing the sandy plains of Meridiani to "Beagle Crater," Opportunity investigated a patch of outcrop pavement thought to be representative of the Martian surface beyond the reach of materials excavated by the impacts that dug Beagle and the nearby, much larger Victoria Crater. Opportunity used its rock abrasion tool to grind away the surface of rock for the first time since the rover's 691st sol, or Martian day (Jan. 3, 2006).
Both before and after grinding beneath the surface of the rock target known as "Baltra," Opportunity took microscopic images and collected data with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and the M?ssbauer spectrometer. The rover remains healthy. This weekend, the science team plans to launch a three-day imaging campaign of Beagle Crater and the surrounding area.
Sol 893 (July 29, 2006): Opportunity took microscopic images of Baltra and the grinding bit on the rock abrasion tool, ground 3 millimeters (0.12 inch) beneath the surface of Baltra, and took images of the magnets on the rock abrasion tool both before and after the grind. After communicating with NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter, the rover began a study of Baltra with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover turned off the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer at 11:13 p.m., local Mars time, before going into a mini-deep sleep.
Sol 894: Opportunity took stereo microscopic images of Baltra following the grind. The rover spent 12 hours collecting data from the freshly ground surface with the M?ssbauer spectrometer. Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images of the rim of Beagle Crater and a transitional area around Beagle Crater known as "Espa?ola."
Sol 895: Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images of a flat rock target known as "Bartolom?" and conducted M?ssbauer analysis of Baltra. Opportunity completed a very long survey of atmospheric dust, known as a tau measurement, with the panoramic camera and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover went into deep sleep to recharge the batteries.
Sol 896: Opportunity rolled back 1 meter (3.3 feet) and acquired color images of Baltra using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, then drove 21 meters (69 feet) toward the edge of Beagle Crater. At the end of the drive, the rover acquired images of the terrain using the navigation and panoramic cameras.
Sol 897: Opportunity recharged the batteries and conducted untargeted remote sensing of infrared energy and dust using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (beginning with looking at the calibration target) and the panoramic camera. The rover surveyed the ground and sky with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer while communicating with the Odyssey orbiter.
Sol 898: Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images before driving 5 meters (16 feet) toward the rim of Beagle Crater. After the drive, Opportunity acquired images with the navigation camera and data with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 899 (Aug. 4, 2006): Plans called for a deep sleep followed by turning on the miniature thermal emission spectrometer heaters at 7 a.m., surveying the sky with the panoramic camera, and collecting data from the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
As of sol 897 (Aug. 2, 2006), Opportunity's total odometry was 8,681.96 meters (5.39 miles).