Mars Exploration Rover Update - December 14, 2007

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/status.html

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Scouts “Home Plate” for Safe Haven - sol 1390-1397, December 14, 2007:

Spirit has arrived at the north edge of “Home Plate.” The rover will spend the next few Martian days, or sols, scouting the edge of Home Plate and acquiring images of the slopes to determine the best site for “Winter Haven 3,” where Spirit will try to survive another season of minimal sunlight. Once the team selects a site, Spirit will drive down the north-facing edge of Home Plate and maneuver into position to achieve the highest northerly tilt possible.

Power levels are dropping rapidly, partly because the sun continues its retreat north on its way to winter solstice, and partly because the landscape tilts slightly southward near the rim. Drive sols are so precious and few, the team has been working long hours and weekends to make the most of the remaining sunlight.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to receiving morning instructions directly from Earth via the high-gain antenna, sending evening data to Earth at UHF frequencies via the Odyssey orbiter, and measuring atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1390 (Nov. 30, 2007): Spirit drove in search of Winter Haven 3 and acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera. Spirit acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of the low, sandy area nicknamed “Tartarus.” The rover surveyed Tartarus with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1391: Spirit continued to drive in search of Winter Haven 3 and acquire post-drive images with the navigation camera. The rover assessed atmospheric opacity caused by suspended dust with the navigation camera. Spirit acquired a mosaic of images with the panoramic camera and monitored dust accumulation on the rover mast assembly.

Sol 1392: Spirit drove in search of Winter Haven 3 and acquired a post-drive image mosaic and a rearward-looking image mosaic with the navigation camera.

Sol 1393: Spirit continued to drive in search of Winter Haven 3. Spirit acquired a post-drive image mosaic and a rearward-looking image mosaic with the navigation camera. The rover also completed a survey of rock clasts and a systematic ground survey with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1394: Spirit drove in search of Winter Haven 3 and acquired post-drive and rearward-looking image mosaics with the navigation camera. Spirit also acquired an image mosaic of Home Plate with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1395: Spirit drove in search of Winter Haven 3 and acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera. Spirit acquired a mosaic of panoramic camera images of a target known as “Hummock” and a rearward-looking mosaic of navigation camera images.

Sol 1396: Spirit continued driving in search of Winter Haven 3. The rover acquired post-drive and rearward-looking image mosaics with the navigation camera. Spirit completed a survey of rock clasts and a systematic ground survey with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1397 (Dec. 8, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to continue driving in search of Winter Haven 3, acquire post-drive images with both the navigation and panoramic cameras, and conduct a systematic ground survey as well as acquire spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1397 (Dec. 8, 2007), Spirit’s total odometry was 7495.15 meters (4.66 miles).