Mars Exploration Rovers Update - April 10, 2007

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Studies Rocks En Route to “Home Plate” - sol 1152-1158, April 10, 2007:

Spirit is healthy and performing scientific studies of an outcrop of light-toned clasts and cobbles nicknamed “Elizabeth Mahon” on the edge of “Home Plate” as well as a pockmarked rock outcrop nicknamed “Madeline English.”

To get around obstacles and make progress over rough terrain using only five wheels, Spirit drove backward a few meters, pivoted around the front wheel, drove backward another few meters, pivoted again to face Madeline English, and finally pushed forward to reach the rock with scientific instruments on the robotic arm.

After investigating Madeline English, the rover will head back north to one of several possible “on-ramps” for driving onto Home Plate.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels and surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit conducted the following activities:

Sol 1152 (March 31, 2007): Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a rock exposure known as “Clara Zaph” in addition to miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from “Clara Zaph 1,” “Clara Zaph 2,” and “Clara Zaph 3.” The rover surveyed the sky and ground and targets known as “Rita Briggs” and “Twila Shively” using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and completed a survey with the sun low in the sky using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1153: Spirit turned southeast and drove backward 4 meters over the target Elizabeth Mahon to place it within the work volume of the rover’s scientific instruments. Spirit acquired post-drive images using the navigation camera and relayed data to the Odyssey orbiter overnight.

Sol 1154: Spirit acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera and measured argon using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1155: Spirit unstowed the robotic arm, placed the Moessbauer spectrometer on Elizabeth Mahon, and acquired data overnight. The rover acquired a mosaic of panoramic camera images facing the drive direction and relayed data to Odyssey overnight.

Sol 1156: Spirit continued to acquire overnight data from Elizabeth Mahon using the Moessbauer spectrometer. Spirit acquired full-color images using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera of a target known as “Madeline English 2.” The rover acquired miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from Madeline English 2 and targets known as “Betty Hill” and “Madeline English 3.”

Sol 1157: Spirit changed tools from the Moessbauer spectrometer to the microscopic imager and acquired a mosaic of microscopic images of Elizabeth Mahon. The rover placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the target and collected data overnight while also relaying relayed data to the Odyssey orbiter. Spirit scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera and acquired full-color images of white soil using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 1158 (April 6, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to acquire overnight data using the Moessbauer spectrometer, panoramic camera images of Madeline English, and miniature thermal emission spectrometer data on targets known as “Noreen Arnold,” “Carol Habben,” and “Phyllis Wise.”


As of sol 1153 (April 1, 2007), Spirit’s total odometry was 7,077.10 meters (4.40 miles).

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Characterizing Wind Streaks - sol 1131-1138, April 10, 2007:

Opportunity is healthy and is attempting to characterize the dark wind streak material which emanates from Victoria Crater as seen from orbital images.

On Sol 1132 the team planned a four-hour alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration to measure atmospheric Argon. The purpose of this measurement is to determine the atmospheric mixing processes and track their changes with time.

Sol 1137 included a test of a fix for a steering bias bug in the mobility flight software. This is the fix for the problem the team saw on sol 1114, when the software selected an arc that was 13 degrees off course from the goal.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to Opportunity’s usual observations of panoramic camera tau, navigation camera cloud captures, miniature thermal emission sky and ground stares, and panoramic camera sky spots, the rover did the following:

Sol 1131 (March 30, 2007): On this sol, Opportunity’s panoramic camera began to take the first half of a long baseline stereo image of “Valley Without Peril.” The navigation camera was used to fill gaps in the previous sol’s panorama. The panoramic camera was then used again to image target “Almeria.” The miniature thermal emission spectrometer also observed Almeria.

Sol 1132: Opportunity bumped 5.6 meters (18.4 feet) to the second eye location of the stereo panorama of Valley Without Peril. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer observed target “Barcelona.” The alpha particle X-ray spectromter completed a four-hour atmospheric Argon measurement.

Sol 1133: On this sol, the rover continued the long baseline stereo second eye image of Valley Without Peril and also conducted remote sensing.

Sol 1134: Opportunity drove to a bright spot between wind streaks to set up for microscopic imaging and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer measurements on sol 1135. The rover took panoramic camera images at three different times during the sol as part of a photometry experiment.

Sol 1135: On this sol, Opportunity used the microscopic imager to examine the soil target “Salamanca,” in the bright spot area between wind streaks.

Sol 1136: Opportunity used the microscopic imager and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on soil target “Sevilla.” The miniature thermal emission spectrometer did a foreground survey and the panoramic camera was used to image the rover tracks.

Sol 1137: The rover drove about 35 meters (115 feet) to middle of a wind streak and then took images with its panoramic camera as part of a photometry experiment.

Sol 1138: On this sol, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer completed a foreground survey. The panoramic camera conducted a 13-filter foreground survey and took more images for the photometry experiment.

Current Odometry:

As of sol 1134, Opportunity’s total odometry is 10,373.19 meters (6.45 miles).