Mars Exploration Rover Update - April 13, 2007

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Continues Studies En Route to ‘Home Plate’ - sol 1159-1163, April 13, 2007:

Spirit is healthy and has completed a campaign of scientific studies of a rock outcrop known as “Elizabeth Mahon,” on the edge of “Home Plate.” Spirit is now en route to another outcrop nicknamed “Madeline English.” The route involves driving backward, turning around, backing up, parking in parallel between two sizable rocks flanking the target, pivoting clockwise on the stuck right front wheel, and finally “crabbing” forward to the target. Spirit performs crabbing by steering the two rear wheels toward the stuck right front wheel, thus opposing resistance from the right front wheel and keeping yawing (swinging from side to side) to a minimum.

Spirit executed the “parallel parking” portion of the trip on the rover’s 1,162nd Martian day, or sol, of exploration (April 10, 2007). The final “crab” portion was planned for sol 1164 (April 12, 2007). After the investigation of Madeline English, plans called for the rover to head north to one of several possible “on-ramps” for driving onto Home Plate.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels and surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit conducted the following activities:

Sol 1159 (April 7, 2007): Spirit acquired data from Elizabeth Mahon using the M?ssbauer spectrometer, acquired panoramic camera images of a target known as “Tars Tarkas,” and studied a rock known as “Johanna Hargraves” using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1160: Spirit acquired full-color images using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera of Elizabeth Mahon before driving south and taking a mosaic of navigation camera images.

Sol 1161: Spirit acquired a survey of rock clasts using the panoramic camera, a survey at high sun with the panoramic camera, data using the M?ssbauer spectrometer from a target known as “Muriel Coben” and a rock called “Elise Harney,” and data on atmospheric density of argon gas using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1162: Spirit drove north toward Madeline English and acquired a mosaic of navigation camera images.

Sol 1163: Spirit watched for dust devils using the WATCH computer program, acquired full-color images of Madeline English using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, studied a rock exposure known as “Phyllis Wise 2” using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired full-color panoramic camera images of the rock known as “Phyllis Wise.”


As of sol 1162 (April 10, 2007), Spirit’s total odometry was 7,092.29 meters (4.41 miles).