Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Dusty girl

Posted By Emily Lakdawalla

23-01-2012 17:32 CST

Topics: mission status, pretty pictures, Mars, Mars Exploration Rovers, Opportunity

Today Opportunity sent back to Earth the last few frames of the "deck pan" self-portrait she took during the waning days of 2011. Her solar panels are very dusty, which isn't helpful. It's near winter solstice in her southern location on Mars, so the angled Sun is not providing as much power as it would in a different season. That's why she's parked for a while to take it easy. She's not idle; she's shooting a panoramic photo of her surroundings, just a few frames each day, while she does some slow, paitent work with the aging Mössbauer spectrometer and other tools on her robotic arm.

Opportunity Deck Pan, December 2011 (sols 2811-2814)

NASA / JPL / Cornell

Opportunity Deck Pan, December 2011 (sols 2811-2814)
Opportunity used its Pancam to take the images combined into this mosaic view of the rover. The downward-looking view omits the mast on which the camera is mounted. Heading into its fifth Martian winter, Opportunity's solar panels were dustier than ever, requiring the team to choose an area of high northward tilt to increase power.

For those of you who are asking the inevitable, probably most Frequently Asked Question of the rover mission: why didn't they include a dust wiper on the rovers? Here's a good answer.

See other posts from January 2012


Read more blog entries about: mission status, pretty pictures, Mars, Mars Exploration Rovers, Opportunity


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join The Planetary Society

Let’s explore the cosmos together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!