The Opportunity team continues working with an engineering test rover on Earth to determine the safest way to attempt to drive the rover out of the dune where it's currently parked on Mars. In the meantime, Opportunity is collecting science data with its instruments and cameras.
Sol 447 (April 27, 2005): Opportunity performed detailed remote sensing to support drive analysis, including images of the left and right tracks taken with the front hazard-avoidance camera, the rear hazard-avoidance camera and the panoramic camera. Opportunity also took panoramic camera images of the rippled dunes.
Sol 448: Opportunity performed additional remote sensing. Opportunity used the panoramic camera to acquire images of the rover's far tracks, where Opportunity had performed a successful "K-turn" at the start of the drive on sol 446.
A "K-turn" is the technique engineers have figured out for safely turning the rover 180 degrees while the right front wheel is stuck in a position of 7 degrees left of straight ahead.
To turn 180 degrees, the rover makes smaller arcing movements without cranking the wheels as much as a normal during a 180-degree turn. These movements create a "K" shape in the soil.
In addition, Opportunity acquired another panoramic camera image of the right track and a navigation camera image covering 360 degrees of the near deck of the rover.
As of sol 448 (ending on April 28, 2005), Opportunity's odometry total is 5,346 meters (3.32 miles).
Mars Rovers at JPL
Mars Rovers at Cornell
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Opportunity used the spectrometers on its arm to examine the soil where the rover stayed for six sols, then resumed driving on sol 446. However, the drive ended after 40 meters when Opportunity was crossing a dune and dug into it. Engineers are using a test rover to evaluate options for getting off the dune.
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