Larry CrumplerJan 29, 2016

Field Report From Mars: Sol 4270 - January 28, 2016

On January 23rd, Opportunity celebrated its 12th anniversary of landing on Mars. During that time we have driven the rover over 42 kilometers across the surface of Mars. We have seen more terrain, and more sunrises and sunsets on Mars than anyone before. Currently Opportunity is continuing its slow winter on Mars campaign exploring the south side of Marathon Valley here on the west rim of Endeavour crater. Winter solstice was January 3rd. Endeavour is an ancient crater, dating from the time when Mars had considerably more water. Like many martian craters from this time period, there is evidence from orbital observations that the rocks were altered to clay...that’s how wet it was. Opportunity is the first explorer to have a look at these altered rocks that occur in the rims of big and old craters.

Overview of Opportunity’s traverse thus far
Overview of Opportunity’s traverse thus far NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS / NMMNH / Larry Crumpler
View of Opportunity's current position within Marathon Valley
View of Opportunity's current position within Marathon Valley NASA / JPL-Caltech / UA / NMMNH / Larry Crumpler

We are currently headed west toward a prominent outcrop on the south valley wall. Opportunity is tilted more than 20 degrees north here on the valley wall, which is very good for winter power.

Latest image from January 27, looking at the outcrop after a short drive
Latest image from January 27, looking at the outcrop after a short drive NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / ASU
Color Pancam mosaic of the western valley
Color Pancam mosaic of the western valley Opportunity will be leaving the valley in this direction at the end of the winter. NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / ASU
The latest Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) hole
The latest Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) hole This is a Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of 4 frames and is about 6 cm across. NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell / USGS

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