OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Heads to Matijevic Hill - sols 3248-3254, Mar. 13, 2013-Mar. 20, 2013:
After returning to the location called 'Kirkwood,' Opportunity completed a busy contact investigation of the mysterious 'newberry' spherules seen there. On Sol 3248 (March 13, 2013), using the robotic arm, the rover collected a Microscopic Imager (MI) finder frame image before placing the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) for an overnight integration on the 'newberry'-rich surface target, called 'Sturgeon River 2.'
On the next sol, Opportunity repositioned the robotic arm, collecting another MI finder frame before placing the APXS on the offset target 'Sturgeon River 1a.' On Sol 3250 (March 15, 2013) the rover continued the in-situ investigation with examination of nearby targets, collecting MI mosaics of targets 'Lake Laurentian' and 'South Range' before placing the APXS back on 'Sturgeon River 1a' for further integration.
On Sol 3251 (March 15, 2013), Opportunity performed the first of two geology 'streak' tests with a grind by the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) on target 'Sturgeon River 3.' The grind did not generate sufficient rock dust, so it was repeated again on Sol 3253 (March 19, 2013). Each grind was followed by an MI mosaic and an overnight APXS integration. A 13-filter Panoramic Camera (Pancam) image was collected on the RAT dust.
With the 'streak' test complete, Opportunity was commanded on Sol 3255 (March 21, 2013) to drive away from this location towards the final in-situ investigation at Matijevic Hill.
As of Sol 3253 (March 19, 2013), the solar array energy production was 490 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.771 and a solar array dust factor of 0.590.
Total odometry: 22.14 miles (35625.03 meters)