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Entry Pool, Predict when Oppy will enter Victoria Crater
leustek
post Dec 19 2006, 01:20 AM
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With the MER operations teams stated goal of entering Victoria regardless of whether it will be possible to exit, it might be time to begin choosing when and where this will happen.

My guess is that as long as Oppy is healthy the MER team will completely circumnavigate Victoria and this will take about 20 months. My reasoning is as follows. Entering Victoria will be easy. Driving to the base of an outcrop would be impossible at every bay we have seen so far, with the possible exception of Duck Bay. My guess is that the team will try for as much reconnaissance information as possible in the hopes of finding a better location for science. But they will not find it and will take the plunge at Duck Bay on August 16, 2008.
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jamescanvin
post Dec 19 2006, 02:00 AM
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QUOTE (leustek @ Dec 19 2006, 12:20 PM) *
at Duck Bay on August 16, 2008.


2008! blink.gif Wow, that's a long time.

Can we stick to sols with predictions? I find it hard to think in earth time. rolleyes.gif wink.gif That would be sol 1621/2 for you then.

I'm going to have to think about this one... but I don't think it'll be THAT long.

James


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AndyG
post Dec 19 2006, 09:52 AM
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Why a complete circumnavigation?

Opportunity is old, and the risks of it breaking down before entering the crater rise over time. That potential loss of science doesn't justify the need for a "victory lap" to my mind. With regards to slopes and the accessibility of entry points, I suspect any benefits to be gained from ground knowledge of a complete loop will be more or less nullified by a mass of data, both from orbit and from long-baseline stereo imagery.

Personally, I think points of interest will favour a entry sooner rather than later. Once past the dark streaks to about 2 o'clock on the rim, the slumps of the Soup Dragon would be where I'd be aiming. A guess? Entry on Sol 1270, then a dander back anticlockwise along the base of the outcrops that have already been seen from above - shadows permitting, of course.

Andy
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ToSeek
post Dec 19 2006, 06:48 PM
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Sol 1365, just to have a guess in the pot.
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tuvas
post Dec 19 2006, 06:59 PM
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I'm guessing March 17, 2007, it's about the right time frame, and it happens to be the birthday of one of my sibblings (That just tossed in for dumb luck, but, well, I had to pick some day...)
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Guest_Sunspot_*
post Dec 19 2006, 07:10 PM
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I think they'll drive into Duck Bay as soon as the Sun is high enough to produce enough power on the more northward facing slopes.
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Phil Stooke
post Dec 19 2006, 07:33 PM
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Duck Bay looks good for access and for the nice outcrop on its north edge, probably the best we've seen yet for accessibility.

But one thing really worries me. All along the top, the very rim of Duck Bay, is a big drift. Endurance didn't have that. I think a way past it might be found at its northern end, but it severely limits access and might make exit completely impossible. If another bay can be found with reasonable slopes and outcrops but no drift at the top, it would make a better choice. So I expect a bit more searching.

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Guest_Edward Schmitz_*
post Dec 19 2006, 08:53 PM
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Duck Bay on Sol 1192. Entry on the north side of the bay. Exit (if that ever happens) would be at the south side.

I'm betting that they want those lower layers within reach of the arm - sooner rather than later. Duck bay looks good for several reasons.

1) the ejecta blanket looks relatively thin.
2) the exposed rock looks deepest of all the bays.
3) the slope looks favorable.
4) It is relatively near by.
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imipak
post Dec 19 2006, 09:10 PM
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Oh... go on then. Sol 1143. A good year for Portugal, apparently. From Steve Squyres' comments about where the good geology seems to be, I doubt they'll go further round than the 90 degree position. The current JPL Opportunity Status page mentions imaging Bottomless Bay partly to decide whether it would make a good entrance ramp.

I'm sure those slopes are steeper than eighteen degrees though. Could Oppy zig-zag back and forth across the slope to make it easier? The other thing that bugs me is that a wheel failure after going over the edge would mean we'll never see the surface of Meridiani again. But weighed against the prospects for a close examination of those cliff-faces... eeesh. Better to die trying to reach them than sitting on the rim, I suppose.


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WindyT
post Dec 19 2006, 09:27 PM
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Are we talking all four wheels in and going down, or toe in the water(slope) and analyze for a few sols at the entry to one of the bays? I agree that Duck Bay is a great place to come back to and start analyzing the slope under the ejecta, but I'm going to hold on any prediction for the moment to see if any bay closer to the Soup Dragon will look as good to the MER team.
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sattrackpro
post Dec 20 2006, 02:11 PM
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Well, I think there is ~some~ desire to enter the crater sooner, rather than later... but, from past experience, patience has been the ~usual~ approach. They will, I think, look longer and harder at the possibilities - and try to chose a path that at least offers the possibility of exit after entry - the best opportunity (no pun intended) to snuggle up to lowest-level exposed layers - and the best sunlight (seasonal) exposure for the attempt.

I'd guess they will circumnavigate (because they will probably need a later-in-time seasonal entry time) - and they may attempt to catch some of the cleansing winds where we see the whirlwind tracks at bays C5, D2, and D5 (with probability emphasis on D2) - which could mean a somewhat extended or slowed approach at that point (depending on the seasonal likelihood of wind at the time - and the best balance with sun position for entry.)

So - to toss out a number, I’d expect an entry decision to come no sooner than about sol 1190 - unless they stumble onto what looks to be the perfect spot sooner - maybe somewhere on the other side. But, I don’t believe that's likely.

It is likely that at current operational speed, they could take as long as 220 to 250 sols to circumnavigate the crater - or as few as 110 to 150 days - if for seasonal reasons (sun) they must hurry the trip, and because Duck Bay or other spots looked better.

Because it is of advantage to look closely at all the possibilities, and considering the advantages of a few cleaning ‘events’ - I’d tend to think an entry date further along rather than sooner may be likely - somewhere near sol 1285.

But, if the sun is best in the late spring, early summer, I’d bet against the ‘full-tour’ - and look for an early and speedy return to Duck Bay for entry - backtracking after a possible relatively-short attempt to find ‘cleaning events’ - and entry when 'acceptable' power is available, at Duck Bay.

Anything can happen to change - everything - but an August date here on earth for entry would not surprise me in the least. smile.gif
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ustrax
post Dec 20 2006, 02:27 PM
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QUOTE (imipak @ Dec 19 2006, 09:10 PM) *
Oh... go on then. Sol 1143. A good year for Portugal, apparently.


Man! Are we THAT old?! blink.gif
smile.gif
Following on the same path...sol 1139... wink.gif


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MahFL
post Dec 20 2006, 03:48 PM
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I'll say 1151.
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Ant103
post Dec 20 2006, 04:46 PM
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Hum... For me (fourmi, tiens? biggrin.gif) I say Sol 1103 biggrin.gif (without analysis of the situation, only in link to my nickname... rolleyes.gif ).


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Nirgal
post Dec 20 2006, 06:42 PM
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Sol 1111 smile.gif
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