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Mars and Me

Opportunity Sol 931 (Spirit Sol 954)

9 Sep 2011, 09:26 UTC
Opportunity Sol 931 (Spirit Sol 954)
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

We're still not out of the dead of winter, and thus still not out of the woods. Daily energy levels aren't rising -- but they seem to have shallowed out, at least. At the same time, tau (atmospheric opacity) has spiked, and a more opaque atmosphere is bad news for solar-powered rovers.

However, tau has been on the low side lately, and is now only about average for this time of year, so it's nothing to worry about. As Oded points out, we mustn't panic about one measurement; we should wait to see if it's a sustained spike and one that causes power to drop.

And what are we going to do about it if it *is* rising, anyway? Go fly around with a vacuum cleaner and hoover the Martian atmosphere? No, we'll have to imitate a vacuum in another way, and just suck it up.

[Next post: sol 958 (Opportunity sol 938), September 13.]

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