On sol 30, which ended at 2:56 a.m. Tuesday, February 24, Opportunity performed its first rock abrasion tool operation on a rock target known as 'McKittrick Middle Rat' at the El Capitan site inside the crater. The tool shaved the rock over a period of two hours, grinding into a total depth of about 4 millimeters (.16 inches).
The auspicious day began with the song 'Rock'n Me' by Steve Miller and some miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky surveys and sky stares to study the atmosphere. After completing these activities, Opportunity took a short siesta to recharge its batteries. The rover has been doing a lot of science work at night, and the season on Mars is changing to winter, so the rover has less energy to work with than it did earlier in the mission. The martian days are getting shorter and the sun angle is not allowing either rover to power up the solar panels as much as in the past.
Opportunity woke up from its nap at 11:30 Local Solar Time on Mars to run through the series of commands required to retract the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and close its doors; take several microscopic images of another nearby rock abrasion tool target called 'Guadalupe;' flip the wrist; take a microscopic image of "McKittrick Middle Rat;" and place the rock abrasion tool on its target to run at 13:00 Local Solar Time.
After the abrasion tool was retracted, a series of microscopic images of the scene were taken, and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was successfully placed into the abrasion tool's hole late in the day.
Some additional panoramic camera, miniature thermal emission spectrometer readings, and hazard avoidance camera imagery was completed through the day.
The plan for sol 31, which will end at 3:36 a.m. Wednesday, February 25, is to continue getting long Mössbauer readings of the rock abrasion tool hole and to prepare the tool for more work again on sol 33 or 34.