Mars Exploration Rover Update - September 14, 2006

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

SPIRIT UPDATE: The Martian Sun Also Rises as Winter Retreats -
sol 957-963, September 14, 2006:

Spirit is beginning to see an upward trend in electrical power as
winter
slowly recedes and the sun ascends higher in the sky each day.
Electrical power from the rover’s solar array rose to 287 watt-hours on
the rover’s 958th Martian day, or sol (Sept. 12, 2006) of exploration,
compared with 277 watt-hours on sol 944 (Aug. 29, 2006). One hundred
watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt
bulb for one hour.

During the past week, Spirit conducted 10 hours of analysis of the
elemental composition of dust on the rover’s magnets using the alpha
particle X-ray spectrometer. Spirit also finished taking images of the
spacecraft deck.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 957 (Sept. 11, 2006): Spirit continues to complete the same set of
observations each sol in parallel with engineering activities such as
data management. The engineering block of activities includes
monitoring
atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, and surveying the sky and
ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. On this
particular sol, Spirit demonstrated additional multi-tasking abilities
by acquiring data on a rock target known as “Vostok” using the
miniature
thermal emission spectrometer while transmitting data to the Odyssey
spacecraft as it passed overhead.

Sol 958: Spirit acquired part 13 of the 15-part image mosaic of the
spacecraft deck with the panoramic camera. Spirit spent about five
hours
acquiring data on the elemental composition of dust on the rover’s
filter magnets using the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 959: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a soil target
consisting of bright material in the rover’s tracks known as “Tyrone.”

Sol 960: Plans called for Spirit to continue to acquire panoramic
images
of the rover deck, restart the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer
following the overhead pass of the Odyssey spacecraft, and spend 4
hours
and 50 minutes collecting elemental data of dust on the filter magnets.
Plans also called for a morning measurement of sky brightness in the
west with the panoramic camera (known as a pancam skyspot), a search
for
clouds using the navigation camera, a horizon survey with the panoramic
camera, imaging of the “El Dorado” dune field with the panoramic
camera,
and imaging of ripples with the rear hazard avoidance camera.

Sol 961: Plans called for Spirit to acquire data from a target known as
“Macquarie” with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, acquire
data from the calibration target with the miniature thermal emission
spectrometer, and search for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 962: Plans called for Spirit to acquire the last segment of the
15-part panoramic mosaic of the spacecraft deck and conduct a 4-hour
and
35-minute alpha particle X-ray spectrometer analysis of the filter
magnets. Plans also called for Spirit to acquire sky images with the
panoramic camera and validate measurements of complete darkness by the
panoramic camera.

Sol 963 (Sept. 18, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to acquire images of
the rover’s tracks with the navigation camera, take microscopic images
of the filter and capture magnets, and place the alpha particle X-ray
spectrometer on the capture magnet. Plans also called for the rover to
acquire hazard avoidance camera images of the work volume reached by
the
rover’s robotic arm, monitor dust on the panoramic camera mast
assembly,
survey the horizon with the panoramic camera, and search for morning
clouds with the navigation camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 958 (Sept. 12, 2006), Spirit’s total odometry remained at
6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).