Mars Exploration Rovers Update - April 21, 2006

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Studies New Terrain - sol 812-819, Apr 21, 2006:

Spirit remains healthy and is enjoying the winter sun on Mars. This
week, Spirit began acquiring a full-color, high-resolution, 360-degree
panorama nicknamed the “McMurdo Pan.” The panorama campaign will take a
few weeks because of power and data limitations. In addition, Spirit
conducted a scientific study of a soil target called “Mawson” using
instruments on the rover’s robotic arm.

All the rock and soil targets in this area are being named after
Antarctic research stations and explorers.

Sol-by-sol highlights:

Sol 812 (April 16, 2006): Spirit performed targeted remote sensing with
the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and acquired microscopic
images of undisturbed soil.

Sol 813: Spirit conducted targeted remote sensing with the panoramic

Sol 814: Spirit began acquisition of the “McMurdo Pan.” The rover
studied a soil target called “Mawson” with the alpha particle X-ray

Sol 815: Spirit conducted targeted remote sensing with the panoramic
camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 816: Rather than pause for new instructions, Spirit continued to
acquire panoramic camera data following master sequences already
transmitted to the rover.

Sols 817 to 819 (April 21-23, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to
work on the “McMurdo panorama,” complete overnight studies of the soil
target called “Mawson” with the Moessbauer spectrometer, and conduct
targeted remote sensing.


As of sol 816 (April 20, 2006), Spirit’s total odometry remained at
6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Making Progress Toward ‘Victoria’ - sol 789-797,
21, 2006:

Opportunity is healthy and making good progress towards “Victoria
Crater.” The rover remains on a restricted schedule, driving only every
other day. Last weekend, the rover stopped for some brief robotic arm
work, to characterize the outcrop between “Erebus Crater” and Victoria
Crater. Next week Opportunity is back to a normal schedule, and
engineers hope to get the rover moving every day.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 789 (April 13, 2006): The plan was to drive to outcrop about 26
meters (85 feet) away. However, the drive stopped about 10 meters (33
feet) short by a slip check.

Sol 790: Opportunity conducted untargeted remote science.

Sol 791: The rover did some robotic arm work including: taking
microscopic images and using the rock abrasion tool brush. The rover
attempted a short alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration;
it failed due to a sequencing error.

Sol 792: Opportunity drove about 35 meters (115 feet) over an outcrop
and crossed a few ripples.

Sol 793: The rover conducted untargeted remote science.

Sol 794: Opportunity drove about 30 meters (98 feet) towards Victoria

Sol 795: The rover conducted untargeted remote science.

Sol 796: After taking pre-drive images of the target “Fort
the team plans to drive about 27 meters (86 feet) down a trough, with
ripple crossings at the start and end.

Sol 797 (April 21, 2006): Opportunity did untargeted remote sensing,
systematic ground surveys with the panoramic camera and miniature
thermal emission spectrometer.

As of 794, Opportunity’s total odometry was 7,334.56 meters (4.56