SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Independently Approaches and Studies A Rock Outcrop - sol 1234-1239, July 02, 2007:
Spirit remains healthy after attempting to wrap up scientific studies on an outcrop that contains several tantalizing, high-silica targets. High-silica targets are of interest to scientists because water might have been involved in forming them. Spirit still has some work to do on two targets, known as “Eileen Dean” and “Innocent Bystander,” before moving on to the elevated, circular plateau known as “Home Plate.”
On Spirit’s 1,235th sol, or Martian day of exploration (June 24, 2007), the rover successfully completed Step 4 of a new computer sequence called “IDD Autoplace.” (IDD stands for Instrument Deployment Device, the technical name for the rover’s robotic arm.) During the test, Spirit drove to a pre-selected target and autonomously gathered scientific data. The sequence enables the rover to select a substitute “target of opportunity” if the pre-selected target is out of range, which is exactly what happened during the first two tests.
Over the next month, Spirit will collect data in support of future Mars rover missions by taking images of the Sun each day with the navigation camera. These images are being used to develop an alternate method for orienting the rover.
In addition to daily remote science observations of the atmosphere and terrain using the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and communication activities including morning direct-from-Earth uplinks via the rover’s high-gain antenna and evening downlinks at UHF frequencies via the Mars Odyssey orbiter, Spirit completed the following activities:
Sol 1234 (June 23, 2007): Spirit acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of outcrop exposures known as “Virginia Bell,” “Nancy Warren,” and “Innocent Bystander.” The rover acquired panoramic camera images of a target known as “Eileen Dean.” Spirit surveyed several targets using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, including “Mary Dailey,” “NancyWarren3,” “Dolores Moore,” “Louella Daetweiler,” “NancyWarren_background,” “MaryDailey2,” and “Eileen Dean.”
Sol 1235: Upon awakening, Spirit surveyed the sky with the panoramic camera. Spirit then moved slightly closer to Eileen Dean. The rover completed Step 4 of the automatic targeting test by touching a spot that was offset from the target by about 5 centimeters (2 inches) with the Moessbauer spectrometer, acquiring a 1-by-1-by-seven mosaic of microscopic images, and placing the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the spot and collecting data with the instrument. Spirit acquired navigation camera images and conducted a sky survey at low sun with the panoramic camera. Prior to the overpass of the Odyssey orbiter, the rover took images of the sky, known as “sky flats,” for calibration purposes.
Sol 1236: Spirit used on-board software to watch for dust devils in addition to completing standard remote-science observations.
Sol 1237: Spirit rotated in place toward Eileen Dean, completing a final yaw, or pivot, of 42.8 degrees. Working autonomously, Spirit touched Eileen Dean with the Moessbauer spectrometer, acquired a 1-by-1-by-7 mosaic of microscopic images of the target, and completed alpha- particle X-ray spectrometer studies on the target. Spirit acquired images with the navigation camera. Spirit examined the rover’s external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to verify that there was no dust contamination on the mirror as a result of recent dust-cleaning events related to Martian winds. Spirit acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of the rover’s solar arrays, also to characterize changes in dust accumulation on the surface. Prior to the overpass of the Odyssey spacecraft, Spirit observed the Sun with the navigation camera in support of the Mars Science Laboratory rover scheduled for launch in 2009. The goal of these observations is to see if navigation camera images of the sun can be used to orient the rover.
Sol 1238: In the morning, Spirit monitored dust build-up on the rover’s mast, surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera, and acquired movie frames with the navigation camera in search of dust devils. Spirit acquired microscopic images of the solar arrays, capture magnet, and filter magnet to document dust levels since the most recent dust-cleaning events on sols 1233 and 1234 (June 22-23, 2007). The rover acquired microscopic images of Eileen Dean and collected data on the target using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. Spirit acquired four sets of comparative measurements with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer early in the day, in the afternoon, overnight, and early the next sol. Spirit observed the Sun with the navigation camera in support of the Mars Science Laboratory rover scheduled for launch in 2009. The goal of these observations is to see if navigation camera images of the sun can be used to orient the rover.
Sol 1239 (June 28, 2007): The activities for this day were mostly a repeat of those of the previous sol, except for the four sets of measurements with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit acquired 15 hours and 23 minutes of data from Eileen Dean using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.
As of sol 1237 (June 26, 2007), Spirit’s total odometry was 7,147.93 meters (4.44 miles).