Opportunity Edges Toward Crater Erebus

Jul 18, 2005

Opportunity made impressive progress toward "Erebus Crater" during the week. Four sols of driving totaled 57 meters (187 feet), while slipping less than 10 percent on each drive. A longer drive was plotted for the fifth day.

The rover has continued to drive down ripple troughs. We have a series of checks in place to prevent excessive bogging down, including, tilt, roll, pitch limit checks, current checks and slip checks (set at 40 percent slip).

We look forward to more progress south over the coming week.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 518 and 519 (July 9 and July 10, 2005): In light of extensive driving and data collection the previous week, these sols were designed to conduct light remote sensing, recharge batteries, and downlink data to free up memory space on the rover.

Sol 520: The uplink team designed a 16-meter (52-foot) drive. Opportunity completed 10.34 meters (33.92 feet) of the drive before tripping a mobility-goal error. There was a bad position estimate given to the onboard slip-checking software, so it incorrectly thought the rover was 0.5 to 1 meters (1.6 to 3.3 feet) back from its actual position, thus making insufficient progress because it thought it was slipping excessively. However, analysis by the mobility team on the ground determined the true slip, and we were "go" to drive the following sol.

Sol 521: Opportunity completed a successful drive of 15.2 meters (about 50 feet) without any faults.

Sol 522: The rover completed another successful drive of 15 meters (49 feet), with only 6.4 percent reported slip.

Sol 523: We drove 16.2 meters (53 feet) of a planned 20-meter (66-foot) drive. The drive stopped short because onboard slip-checking software was having difficulty tracking the rover's rear wheel tracks, which are used as a reference point to monitor the slip. Opportunity does not want to keep trying to drive if it is unsure of how much it is slipping, so the team sets a limit to this failure count. This prevents bogging down in the terrain.

Sol 524 (July 15):

The uplink team planned a drive of 27 meters (89 feet). The drive plan is the first in Opportunity's current terrain using a combination of short segments of blind driving followed by shorter segments (40 centimeters, or 16 inches) of slip-check driving. This drive strategy is designed to allow us to drive farther by using a less time-consuming drive option while still verifying every 5 meters that we are not bogging down.

Odometry total after sol 523 drive: 5464.09 meters (3.39 miles).

Copyright 2005 by Space Daily, Distributed by United Press International

Explore further: NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP Satellite team ward off recent space debris threat

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Large mosaic in ancient tomb uncovered in Greece

Oct 12, 2014

Archaeologists digging through a vast ancient tomb in Amphipolis in northern Greece have uncovered a floor mosaic that covers the whole area of a room seen as the antechamber to the main burial ground.

Migrating animals' pee affects ocean chemistry

Oct 09, 2014

The largest migration on the planet is the movement of small animals from the surface of the open ocean, where they feed on plants under cover of darkness, to the sunless depths where they hide from predators ...

NASA, partners target megacities carbon emissions

Sep 24, 2014

Driving down busy Interstate 5 in Los Angeles in a nondescript blue Toyota Prius, Riley Duren of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is a man on a mission as he surveys the vast urban ...

Mars Curiosity Rover Arrives at Martian Mountain

Sep 11, 2014

(Phys.org) —NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has reached the Red Planet's Mount Sharp, a Mount-Rainier-size mountain at the center of the vast Gale Crater and the rover mission's long-term prime destination.

Recommended for you

'Twisted rope' clue to dangerous solar storms

7 hours ago

A "twisted rope" of magnetically-charged energy precedes solar storms that have the potential to damage satellites and electricity grids, French scientists said on Wednesday.

User comments : 0