Mars Exploration Rover Update - May 19, 2006

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

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Continues Winter Studies of Soil, Sky and Terrain

  • sol 842-846, May 19, 2006:

Spirit is healthy and making progress on a winter science campaign of
experiments in Gusev Crater on Mars. Spirit has completed the first
phase of a layer-by-layer soil study by collecting a mosaic of images
with the microscopic imager and analyzing composition of undisturbed
soil with the Moessbauer and alpha particle X-ray spectrometers. Spirit
used the rock abrasion tool to brush away the top soil layer on Martian
day, or sol, 830 (May 4, 2006). After that, the rover studied the
brushed spot with the microscopic imager and Moessbauer and alpha
particle X-ray spectrometers.

Before telling the rover to brush away a second layer, rover planners
performed a test on sol 842 (May 16, 2006) to better characterize the
position of the rock abrasion tool above the soil. The robotic arm
performed as expected during the test. Removal of the second layer was
planned for sol 845 (May 20, 2006).

Spirit also collected two additional columns of a 360-degree view
called
the “McMurdo panorama” and completed four targeted studies with the
miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 842 (May 16, 2006): Spirit conducted a positioning test of the
rover’s robotic arm, including touching the Moessbauer spectrometer to
the soil, collecting a two-by-two mosaic of images with the microscopic
imager, and suspending the rock abrasion tool just above the soil
surface. The test was successful. Spirit also conducted remote analysis
of two targets, known as “Allan Hills” and “Dome Fuji,” with the
miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 843: Spirit acquired column 12 of the “McMurdo panorama” and
conducted atmosphere studies with the miniature thermal emission
spectrometer.

Sol 844: Spirit acquired column 13 of the “McMurdo panorama” and
conducted remote sensing analysis of targets called “VonNeumayer” and
“d’Urville” with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 845: Plans called for Spirit to begin brushing away a second,
1-millimeter layer of soil from the target labeled “Progress” using the
rock abrasion tool.

Sol 846 (May 21, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to recharge its
batteries and transmit communications during an overnight pass of
NASA’s
Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Odometry:

As of sol 836 (May 11, 2006), Spirit’s total odometry remained at
6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).