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Mars Rover Gets Clean Bill of Health After Communications Hiatus
Opportunity has resumed normal tactical operations after the solar conjunction, when the Sun is directly between Earth and Mars and disrupts communications.
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Feb 21, 2011

It's baaaaak! Opportunity communicates again after hiatus.

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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) reports that the Mars rover Opportunity emerged from the solar conjunction in good order. Solar conjunction is the period when communications between Earth and Mars are disrupted because the Sun is directly in between the two planets.

Telemetry has been returned from the two-week solar conjunction period. With the known exception of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES), all systems are healthy. Extensive moessbauer (MB) integration spectra were successfully collected from the surface target Luis de Torres.

The rover has resumed normal tactical operations. The plan ahead is to perform a rock abrasion tool (RAT) grind on the surface target Luis de Torres for follow-on microscopic imager mosaics and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer measurements.

Completing that, Opportunity will resume its trek toward Endeavour crater. As of February 15, 2011 (Sol 2511), solar array energy production was 505 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.949 and a solar array dust factor of 0.597.

Total odometry is 26,658.64 meters (26.66 kilometers, or 16.56 miles).


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