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Emily LakdawallaJanuary 19, 2006

An update on Opportunity

Before I turn to watching (I hope) a successful New Horizons launch this morning, I want to mark what looks like (I hope) a significant development in Opportunity's mission to Mars yesterday. There were several Navcam pictures returned that showed the business end of Opportunity's robotic arm stowed with the "hand" apparently resting (or maybe poised just above) the rover's deck. This may be the new stowed position for the robotic arm that the engineers have devised -- and it looks like they may be getting ready to try to move Opportunity. If they do move I am sure they will be moving very, very cautiously for a while to make sure that that configuration is stable. But we can wait and watch to see if we see those polygonal Erebus rock outcrops moving under Opportunity's wheels very shortly, I hope. Good luck, Opportunity!
View from Opportunity's Navcam, sol 706

NASA / JPL

View from Opportunity's Navcam, sol 706
On its 55th sol parked at Erebus crater after a problem developed with the robotic arm, Opportunity's engineers stowed the arm in a new position, tilted back over the rover deck.

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
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