Opportunity Front Hazcam photo taken on Sol 4941.
Credit: NASA/JPL

NASA’s veteran Mars rover, Opportunity, is continuing her winter exploration of “Perseverance Valley” on the west rim of Endeavour Crater. Next month is will celebrate 14 years of planet prowling.

The robot landed on the Red Planet on January 25, 2004. It has snapped over 223,760 images and wheeled over 28 miles (45 kilometers).

Sols past “warranty”: 4855.

Fork in the road

The rover is positioned upstream of a fork in the flow channels. The team is collecting imagery to decide which fork, the north fork or the south fork, to explore next. To support that decision, extensive imagery is being collected on almost every sol.

Traverse map.
Credit: NASA/JPL

On Sol 4941 (Dec. 17, 2017), the robotic arm was used to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of a surface target within the work volume of the arm. The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) was then placed on that target.

With the upcoming holidays, the plan calls for the rover to remain in place for a period of time. This will allow multiple sols of APXS integration on this target.

Opportunity Mars rover is nearing 14 years of wheeling and dealing with Mars.
Credit: NASA/JPL


Twilight panorama

Late on Sol 4942 (Dec. 18, 2017), Opportunity collected a twilight panorama using the Panoramic Camera (Pancam) color stereo imager.

As of Sol 4942 (Dec. 18, 2017), the solar array energy production was 390 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.459 and a solar array dust factor of 0.622.

3 Responses to “Opportunity on Mars: Nearing 14 Years of Planet Prowling”

  • Linda (Kimura) says:

    Hi Leonard!
    Just got a note from our neighbor…Dot Jensen. She mentioned how famous you are with Mars & NASA. Thought I would drop you a note.
    My parents were your parents neighbor…across the street…and next to the Jensens. And I remember you & Felice. Not sure if you remember me since you were already graduated from Madison High…I think.
    Anyway, retired 16 years ago & moved back to Kauai. Love it.
    Mele Kalikimaka!
    Linda & Alan…Derek & Ray, too.

    • Leonard David says:

      Hi Linda: Thanks for the message. Thanks to your dad and mom – they made possible my first “real” job at the nearby hospital. And in bookkeeping! I have fond memories of your parents as they were great neighbors. Felice still lives in San Diego and is married to Ian Kay. My wife, Barbara and I, live up here in the Colorado mountains – closer to the stars.

      Thanks for the surprise message.

      Happy holidays and onward into 2018!


      • Linda says:

        Hi Leonard
        Thank you for your reply. Please keep in touch via email. I need to let Kento…our one & only grandchild via Derek…about all that you do. He is in 9th grade at Coronado HS…and I am sure will be very interested.
        Yes…heard about Felice & Ian via Dot. I believe Ian is an architect…so is Derek.

        Hauoli Makahiki Hou,

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