[meteorite-list] From Mars Rover Opportunity: Panorama Above 'Perseverance Valley'

Ron Baalke baalke at zagami.jpl.nasa.gov
Thu Aug 24 19:37:13 EDT 2017


>From Mars Rover: Panorama Above 'Perseverance Valley'
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
July 20, 2017

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity recorded a panoramic view before 
entering the upper end of a fluid-carved valley that descends the inner 
slope of a large crater's rim.

The scene includes a broad notch in the crest of the crater's rim, which 
may have been a spillway where water or ice or wind flowed over the rim 
and into the crater. Wheel tracks visible in the area of the notch were 
left by Opportunity as the rover studied the ground there and took images 
into the valley below for use in planning its route.

"It is a tantalizing scene," said Opportunity Deputy Principal Investigator 
Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis. "You can see what 
appear to be channels lined by boulders, and the putative spillway at 
the top of Perseverance Valley. We have not ruled out any of the possibilities 
of water, ice or wind being responsible."

Opportunity's panoramic camera (Pancam) took the component images of the 
scene during a two-week driving moratorium in June 2017 while rover engineers 
diagnosed a temporary stall in the left-front wheel's steering actuator. 
The wheel was pointed outward more than 30 degrees, prompting the team 
to call the resulting vista Pancam's "Sprained Ankle" panorama. Both ends 
of the scene show portions of Endeavour Crater's western rim, extending 
north and south, and the center of the scene shows terrain just outside 
the crater.

The team was able to straighten the wheel to point straight ahead, and 
now uses the steering capability of only the two rear wheels. The right-front 
wheel's steering actuator has been disabled since 2006. Opportunity has 
driven 27.95 miles (44.97 kilometers) since landing on Mars in 2004.

On July 7, 2017, Opportunity drove to the site within upper Perseverance 
Valley where it will spend about three weeks without driving while Mars 
passes nearly behind the sun from Earth's perspective, affecting radio 
communications. The rover's current location is just out of sight in the 
Sprained Ankle panorama, below the possible spillway. Opportunity is using 
Pancam to record another grand view from this location.

After full communications resume in early August, the team plans to drive 
Opportunity farther down Perseverance Valley, seeking to learn more about 
the process that carved it.

For more information about Opportunity's adventures on Mars, visit:


News Media Contact
Guy Webster
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster at jpl.nasa.gov

Laurie Cantillo / Dwayne Brown
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1077 / 202-358-1726
laura.l.cantillo at nasa.gov / dwayne.c.brown at nasa.gov 

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