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Mars Rover Opportunity Working at 'Matijevic Hill'

NASA's Mars rover Opportunity, well into its ninth year on Mars, will work for the next several weeks or months at a site with some of the mission's most intriguing geological features.
The site, called "Matijevic Hill," overlooks 22-kilometer-wide Endeavour Crater. Opportunity has begun investigating the site's concentration of small spherical objects reminiscent of, but different from, the iron-rich spheres nicknamed "blueberries" at the rover's landing site nearly 35 driving kilometres ago.
The small spheres at Matijevic Hill have different composition and internal structure. Opportunity's science team is evaluating a range of possibilities for how they formed. The spheres are up to about 3 millimetres in diameter.

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NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Reveals Geological Mystery

NASA's long-lived rover Opportunity has returned an image of the Martian surface that is puzzling researchers.
Spherical objects concentrated at an outcrop Opportunity reached last week differ in several ways from iron-rich spherules nicknamed "blueberries" the rover found at its landing site in early 2004 and at many other locations to date.
Opportunity is investigating an outcrop called Kirkwood in the Cape York segment of the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The spheres measure as much 3 millimetres in diameter. The analysis is still preliminary, but it indicates that these spheres do not have the high iron content of Martian blueberries.

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The First Extraterrestrial Marathon

More than 8 years after landing on the Red Planet, Mars rover Opportunity is still running. Indeed, mission planners say the tireless robot is poised to complete a full marathon--the first ever long-distance race on an alien planet.



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Nasa Mars image 'next best thing to being there'

Nasa has released a new full-circle image of planet Mars, which it says is the "next best thing to being there".
The view comes from the panoramic camera on Nasa's Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, combining 817 images.

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Opportunity, MER-B (Mars Exploration Rover - B), is a robotic rover on the planet Mars, active since 2004. It is the remaining rover in NASA's ongoing Mars Exploration Rover Mission. Launched from Earth on 7 July 2003, it landed on the Martian Meridiani Planum on 25 January 2004 at 05:05 Ground UTC (about 13:15 local time), three weeks after its twin Spirit (MER-A) touched down on the other side of the planet.
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Mars Rover launch



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OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Drives A Little - sols 2981-2989, June 12-20, 2012:

Opportunity has been exploring the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

With Mars Odyssey still working to recover from their safe mode event, Ultra High Frequency (UHF) relay for the rover has been limited to just two UHF relay passes per week from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. From a combination of the limited MRO relay and the use of Direct-to-Earth X-band passes on the rover, Opportunity was able to perform some driving.
On Sol 2981 (June 12, 2012), the rover drove a little over 17 metres to the north, approaching the boundary between the Cape York geologic unit and the Meridiani plains. On Sol 2989 (June 20, 2012), Opportunity bumped just over 5 metres north to straddle the contact unit between Cape York and Meridiani, and position a candidate target within the work volume of the robotic arm. Opportunity also performed two atmospheric argon measurements on Sols 2982 and 2987 (June 13 and June 18, 2012), using the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer.
The rover continues to benefit from solar array dust cleaning events, which have greatly increased the daily energy production. As of Sol 2989 (June 20, 2012), solar array energy production was 526 watt-hours with a lower atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.229 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.684.

Total odometry is 34,491.99 metres.



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OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  On The Hunt For Light-Toned Veins Of Gypsum- sols 2962-2968, May 24-30, 2012:

Opportunity completed her in-situ (contact) investigation of a dust patch on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover is now on the hunt for more light-toned veins of gypsum.

On Sol 2963 (May 25, 2012), Opportunity headed north with an approximately 25-metre drive, keeping a careful watch on the terrain. With the season still early spring, the rover must keep a small bias towards northerly tilts in order to generate healthy energy margins.
On Sol 2965 (May 27, 2012), Opportunity headed further to the north end of Cape York, in an area referred to as "the bench," a flat curb-like unit that forms the perimeter of Cape York. With the arrival in the bench area, Opportunity is spying several vein candidates, looking for one that is wide enough to grind with the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) and sample with the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS).

The plan ahead is to approach some of these vein candidates for closer inspection. The recent driving has shallowed out the northerly tilt somewhat, so energy levels have moderated a bit.

As of Sol 2968 (May 30, 2012), solar array energy production was 345 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.413 and a solar array dust factor of 0.538.

Total odometry is 34,456.53 metres.

Navigation Camera Sol 2965 
OppSol2965ab.jpg
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OppSol2965bb.jpg
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Dark Shadows on Mars: Scene from Durable NASA Rover

pia15684-640.jpg

Like a tourist waiting for just the right lighting to snap a favourite shot during a stay at the Grand Canyon, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has used a low sun angle for a memorable view of a large Martian crater.
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Mars rover late in the day

More than eight years into its mission, Nasa's Opportunity rover still gets stunning views of Mars. This three-wavelength, false-colour image captures the rover's own shadow in light from the end of its 2,888th Martian day.
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Opportunity Rover (Trance Remix)


Image Credit NASA/JPL 

The first few images from the Opportunity rover.

Music via an Amiga 1200.



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