Mars Exploration Rover Update - July 7, 2006

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Continues Work As Martian Days Grow Shorter - sol 889-896, July 07, 2006:

Spirit has been busy receiving new flight software upgrades, both directly from Earth via the rover’s high-gain antenna and indirectly via relay from NASA’s Odyssey spacecraft. Engineers anticipated that all flight software upgrades would be on board the rover by early in the week of July 10, 2006.

Spirit also successfully completed a procedure to correct for drift in the inertial measurement unit, resulting in more accurate pointing of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit remains healthy and continues to make progress on the rover’s winter science campaign of experiments.

Spirit’s handlers planned to have the rover spend part of the weekend calibrating the brush on the rock abrasion tool, using images from the panoramic camera and hazard avoidance cameras to characterize dirt buildup on the instrument.

Solar array input was down to about 290 watt-hours per sol (a hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 889 (July 4, 2006): Spirit studied the rock target “Halley” with the M?ssbauer spectrometer.

Sol 890: Spirit calibrated the elevation actuator (a motor that controls horizontal tilt) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 891: Spirit made observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 892: Engineers transmitted an uplink of flight software files via X-band radio to the rover’s high-gain antenna.

Sol 893: Plans call for Spirit to calibrate and take images of the rock abrasion tool.

Sols 894 to 896 (July 9 to 11, 2006): Plans call for Spirit to continue acquiring panoramic camera images for the “McMurdo Panorama.”


As of sol 891 (July 6, 2006), Spirit’s total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).