Opportunity rover tops 35 kilometers of driving

Sep 03, 2012 by Nancy Atkinson, Universe Today
Opportunity rover tops 35 kilometers of driving
The Opportunity Mars rover looks back at the tracks left along the rim of Endeavour Crater. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Meanwhile, back in Meridiani Planum … the Opportunity rover keeps on trucking, and has now exceeded over 35 kilometers (21.75 miles) of driving on its odometer! Quite an accomplishment for the Energizer Bunny of Mars rovers, now operating for 3,057 Martian sols. As the MER team says, "Not bad for a vehicle designed for only about 1 kilometer (.6 miles) of distance and 90 sols (days) of lifetime."

Oppy is now moving south along the inboard edge of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater surveying exposed outcrop in search of phyllosilicate that have been detected from orbit. These outcrops are quite interesting and attention-grabbing; here's a look in color from Stuart Atkinson:

Credit: NASA/JPL

and in 3-D:

Credit: NASA/JPL


As Stu writes in his Road to Endeavour blog, "What are those rocks made of? How did this feature form? What do the diferent colours and textures mean? These are all questions which the MER team will be hoping to answer over the next few days, I'm sure. I think we'll see Oppy driving closer to this outcrop and studying it in a lot of detail."

The MER team reports that on Sol 3055 (Aug. 27, 2012), the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) on the end of the robotic arm was imaged (top image) to re-confirm the available bit for future grinding and the X- (APXS) collected a measurement of atmospheric argon.

Opportunity's energy production is good, producing about 568 watt-hours.

So, even though the Curiosity rover is grabbing the headlines, don't forget that Opportunity is still keepin' on, working hard on Mars.

Explore further: ITAR-TASS claims Russian cosmonauts have found sea plankton on outside of International Space Station

More information: marsrover.nasa.gov/mission/status.html#opportunity

Related Stories

Dark shadows on Mars: Scene from durable NASA rover

May 23, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Like a tourist waiting for just the right lighting to snap a favorite shot during a stay at the Grand Canyon, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has used a low sun angle for a memorable ...

Opportunity heads toward 'Spirit Point'

Jun 09, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- When NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity reaches the rim of a large crater it is approaching, its arrival will come with an inspiring reminder.

Paydirt at 8-year-old Mars Rover's 'new landing site'

May 04, 2012

A report in the May 4 edition of the journal Science details discoveries Opportunity made in its first four months at the rim of Endeavour Crater, including key findings reported at a geophysics conference in late 2011.

Recommended for you

Electric sparks may alter evolution of lunar soil

33 minutes ago

The moon appears to be a tranquil place, but modeling done by University of New Hampshire and NASA scientists suggests that, over the eons, periodic storms of solar energetic particles may have significantly ...

Why NASA studies the ultraviolet sun

2 hours ago

(Phys.org) —You cannot look at the sun without special filters, and the naked eye cannot perceive certain wavelengths of sunlight. Solar physicists must consequently rely on spacecraft that can observe ...

Two dynamos drive Jupiter's magnetic field

3 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Superlatives are the trademark of the planet Jupiter. The magnetic field at the top edge of the cloud surrounding the largest member of the solar system is around ten times stronger than Earth's, ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Sep 03, 2012
]Opportunity's solar array energy production is good, producing about 568 watt-hours.
Is this watt-hours per hour? Which would be simply 568 watts.

Or is this 568 watt-hours per day? Or per sol?
Nancy, please!!!
not rated yet Sep 03, 2012
@gwrede Yes, it's 568 watt-hours per day. At the start of the mission, it was 900 watt-hours per day. http://marsrovers...wer.html
not rated yet Sep 04, 2012
How does this compare with Curiosity power generation?
not rated yet Sep 04, 2012
Curiosity has power generating capacity of about 110W (initially, which will decrease as the plutonium decays). So about 2640 Watt-hours per day (or 2710 Watt-hours per sol). Since the half life of the plutonium on board is about 87 years the drop shouldn't be too much in the first few years (i.e. until useful lifetime of the rover expires).

Opportunity also generates the power very unevenly (none at night, most at midday). So there is some shuttling back and forth to batteries involved, which incurs further losses.
Curiosity generates the same power level all day (and night) long.