12 Oct 2012
(Source: NASA / JPL)
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: ROBOTIC ARM TOOLS GET TO WORK ON ROCK OUTCROP -- sols 3091-3097, Oct. 3, 2012-Oct. 9, 2012:
Opportunity is conducting an in-situ (contact) science campaign at a location where orbital observations show the presence of clay minerals at the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.
The rover is positioning near a large, light-toned block of exposed rock outcrop, called "Whitewater Lake." Opportunity previously moved around the outcrop to reach some of the dark rinds that cover portions of the outcrop unit.
On Sol 3092 (Oct. 4, 2012), the rover moved, likely the smallest amount ever, with less than an inch (1 centimeter) of total motion in order to position the robotic arm favorable on a dark-rind surface target called "Chelmsford." On Sol 3094 (Oct. 6, 2012), Opportunity performed a 15-minute brush of a surface target with the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT). That was followed with the collection of a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic and then the placement of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration. On Sol 3096 (Oct. 8, 2012), the robotic arm selected a slightly offset target and performed another Rock Abrasion brush of the surface. Again, this was followed with a Microscopic Imager mosaic and APXS placement.
The plan ahead is a drive around "the loop" that encompasses the terrain mapped by the orbital clay observations and survey the area with rover imagery.
As of Sol 3097 (Oct. 9, 2012), the solar array energy production was 531 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.722 and a solar array dust factor of 0.629.
Total odometry is 21.78 miles (35,050.07 meters).