NASA Rover Opportunity’s Selfie Shows Clean Machine

In its sixth Martian winter, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity now has cleaner solar arrays than in any Martian winter since its first on the Red Planet, in 2005. Cleaning effects of wind events in March boosted the amount of electricity available for the rover’s work.

A new self-portrait from Opportunity’s panoramic camera (Pancam), showing the cleaned arrays, is online at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA18079

The mission is using the rover’s added energy to inspect “Murray Ridge,” on the western rim of Endeavour Crater, to learn about wet environments on ancient Mars.

During Opportunity’s first decade on Mars and the 2004-2010 career of its twin, Spirit, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Project yielded a range of findings proving wet environmental conditions on ancient Mars — some very acidic, others milder and more conducive to supporting life.

JPL manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. For more information about Spirit and Opportunity, visit http://www.nasa.gov/rovers and http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov

A self-portrait of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity taken by the rover's panoramic camera (Pancam) in late March 2014 shows effects of recent winds removing much of the dust from the rover's solar arrays. Image Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

A self-portrait of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity taken by the rover’s panoramic camera (Pancam) in late March 2014 shows effects of recent winds removing much of the dust from the rover’s solar arrays.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

This self-portrait of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows effects of wind events that had cleaned much of the accumulated dust off the rover’s solar panels. It combines multiple frames taken by Opportunity’s panoramic camera (Pancam) through three different color filters from March 22 to March 24, 2014, the 3,611th through 3,613th Martian days, or sols, of Opportunity’s work on Mars.

For a comparison to what the rover looked like before a series of cleaning events in March, see a similar self-portrait taken Jan. 3 through Jan. 6, 2014, at: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17759 .

With the cleaner arrays and lengthening winter days, Opportunity’s solar arrays were generating more than 620 watt-hours per day in mid-April 2014, compared to  less than 375 watt-hours per day in January 2014.

This image is presented as a vertical projection in approximately true color. The mast on which the Pancam is mounted does not appear in the image, though its shadow does.

This version of the image is presented in false color to make differences in surface materials easier to see. Image Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

This version of the image is presented in false color to make differences in surface materials easier to see.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.

This self-portrait of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows effects of wind events that had cleaned much of the accumulated dust off the rover’s solar panels. It combines multiple frames taken by Opportunity’s panoramic camera (Pancam) through three different color filters March 22 through March 24, 2014, the 3,611th through 3,613th Martian days, or sols, of Opportunity’s work on Mars.

This image is presented in false color to make differences in surface materials more easily visible, and as a vertical projection. The mast on which the Pancam is mounted does not appear in the image, though its shadow does. A version of this self-portrait in approximately true color is online at:  http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA18079 .

With the cleaner arrays and lengthening winter days, Opportunity’s solar arrays are generating more than 620 watt-hours per day in mid-April 2014, compared to less than 375 watt-hours per day in January 2014.

Source: NASA, 17/april/2014


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