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PRESS RELEASE
01.01.2014
Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Clues from Orbit Aiding Exploration

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:
sols 3520-3534, Dec. 18, 2013-Jan. 01, 2014

Artist's Concept of Rover on Mars
Artist's Concept of Rover on Mars

The rover is maintaining favorable northerly tilts for energy production. Opportunity is positioned on the edge of an exposed outcrop where orbital observations suggest the possible presence of small amounts of clay minerals.

The rover's activities have been relatively uncomplicated over the holiday period. On Sol 3521 (Dec. 19, 2013), the robotic arm was used to collect a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic, followed by an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) placement for multiple sols of collecting information about composition. A similar activity using both instruments was performed on Sol 3530 (Dec. 28, 2013). An outage at an antenna station of the Deep Space Network prevented uplink of a remote sensing plan, but that plan was recovered in subsequent sols.

Some small but welcome dust-cleaning events occurred during sols 3533 and 3534 (Dec. 31, 2013, and Jan. 1, 2014). As of Sol 3534, solar-array energy production improved to 371 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.569 and an improved solar array dust factor of 0.566. Just prior to these cleaning events, solar-array output per sol was about 35 watt-hours lower, and the dust factor was about 0.50. Perfectly clean solar arrays would have a dust factor of 1.0, so the larger the dust factor, the cleaner the arrays.

Total odometry is 24.07 miles (38.73 kilometers).


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