Opportunity Continues on the Plains After Marking One Year on Mars

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Continues on the Plains After Marking One Year on Mars – sol 353-359, January 28, 2005

After spending 25 sols at the heat shield and nearby meteorite, Opportunity has completed its investigation of both and has started a long migration south. The rover is currently heading for a small crater called “Argo.” Dust storms in the vicinity of Meridiani Planum appear to be settling down, and solar power has stabilized. On Jan. 24, 2005, the rover team celebrated Opportunity’s first anniversary (one Earth year) on Mars. The rover continues to be in excellent health for its long drives out on the plains of Meridiani.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 353 was a restricted sol. (Results of 352 drive were not known by the planning team in time to calculate the final heat shield approach). Opportunity performed over two hours of observations using the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

On sol 354, Opportunity performed 10 minutes of pre-drive remote-sensing observations, then moved forward to get in final position for extending its instrument deployment device (robotic arm) to the heat shield. A drive of 0.7 meter (2.3 feet) was successful, placing the heat shield in reach of the arm. Opportunity performed more than an hour of post-drive imaging.

Sol 355 was a restricted sol. Opportunity performed over two hours of remote sensing.

Sols 356 and 357 were planned in a single planning cycle. On sol 356, Opportunity used the microscopic imager to examine the heat shield. Using the arm to position the microscopic imager, Opportunity spent 90 minutes collecting high-resolution images of the heat shield. On sol 357, the rover performed thermal inertia measurements throughout the sol. Using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to image the same target at different times, Opportunity took measurements as late as 23:00 Mars local solar time.

On sol 358, Opportunity retook some microscopic images of the heat shield with the dust cover open. The rover then stowed its arm and began its drive south, away from the heat shield. Opportunity is now headed for a small crater called Argo, which is approximately 300 meters (about 984 feet) away. Opportunity successfully covered 86.3 meters (283 feet) on this sol.

Sol 359, which ended on Jan. 27, was another restricted sol. The rover was sent commands for over 2.5 hours of remote sensing.

Total odometry as of sol 358 is 2,200.6 meters (1.37 miles).