Opportunity Rover Update
15 Nov 2006
sol 968-995, November 13, 2006:
Opportunity is healthy and has driven away from the "Cape Verde" promontory for further exploration around the rim of "Victoria Crater." Over the course of the next week, the rover will make its way clockwise around Victoria Crater to the next promontory, "Cape St. Mary." Opportunity will then image the northeast-facing cliff of Cape Verde to characterize lateral changes in layers of the crater wall. Along the way, Opportunity will be using the panoramic camera to scout a safe place to drive into the crater.
During the drive on Sol 992, rover planners performed the first step of the in-flight checkout of one of the rover's new technologies: visual target tracking (VTT). This first checkout included picking a target to track, driving, and testing the rover's knowledge of how its position changed relative to the target. The rover performed this activity as planned. The next step will be to execute a drive to a VTT target.
During the solar conjunction period from sol 970 to sol 984 (Oct. 16 to 30), Opportunity used its panoramic camera to image Victoria Crater from the Cape Verde promontory, collected 3.5 hours of Moessbauer spectrometer data each sol on the hole that the rock abrasion tool drilled at target "Cha," and performed its standard sol-to-sol atmospheric and remote sensing observations. Opportunity collected more than 50 hours of Moessbauer data on Cha.
In addition to Opportunity's daily science observations (checking atmospheric clarity with the panoramic camera, monitoring for clouds with the navigation camera, and observing sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer), the rover performed the following activities:
Sol 968 (Oct. 14, 2006): The rover planning team made room in flash memory for data to be collected during solar conjunction.
Sol 969: More room in the flash memory was freed during this sol.
Sols 970 to 984 (conjunction): The rover took images for a panorama of the view from Cape Verde and conducted Moessbauer spectrometer integration on target Cha.
Sol 985: The rover took images for the Cape Verde panorama.
Sol 986: Opportunity continued to work on the Cape Verde panorama and used the Moessbauer spectrometer on target Cha.
Sol 987: Opportunity retransmitted and deleted data left from solar conjunction.
Sol 988: There was more Moessbauer activity on Cha, use of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and retransmission and deletion of data from conjunction.
Sol 989: Opportunity did more Moessbauer spectrometer observations on Cha and used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 990: Opportunity did more Moessbauer spectrometer observations on Cha and used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 991: On this sol, Opportunity finished acquiring the Cape Verde panoramic image.
Sol 992: The rover drove toward Cape St. Mary and tested its visual target tracking function.
Sol 993: Opportunity took images of the crater with its panoramic camera.
Sol 994: The rover drove toward Cape St. Mary.
Sol 995 (Nov. 11, 2006): Opportunity used its panoramic camera to image the crater.
Opportunity's total odometry as of sol 992 (Nov. 8, 2006) is 9,432 meters (5.86 miles).