Mars Exploration Rovers Update - August 25, 2006

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

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Continues Mid-Winter Studies of Martian Rocks and
Soil - sol 933-942, August 25, 2006:

Spirit continued to make progress on the rover’s winter campaign of
science observations, acquiring microscopic images and data about rock
composition with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and the
miniature
thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit took images of the spacecraft
deck
for incorporation into the “McMurdo panorama.”

Spirit remains healthy. Electrical power from the rover’s solar array
has been holding steady at about 280 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 933 (Aug. 18, 2006): Spirit acquired super-resolution images of a
basalt hill nicknamed “Dome Fuji” with the panoramic camera and
monitored dust on the pancam mast assembly. Spirit scanned the
atmosphere for opacity caused by dust and scanned the sky and ground
with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 934: Spirit acquired touch-up images for the McMurdo panorama with
the panoramic camera. Spirit scanned the atmosphere for opacity caused
by dust and scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal
emission spectrometer.

Sol 935: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a rock target
called
“Prat” and measured the magnitude of sunlight in addition to scanning
the horizon and sky with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal
emission spectrometer.

Sol 936: Spirit acquired data from a rock target called “Wasa” with the
miniature thermal spectrometer. The rover continued to make daily
observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and
miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 937: Spirit acquired microscopic images of a ripple called “Palmer”
and scanned for wind-related changes in a sand target known as
“Rothera.” Spirit continued to make daily observations of the sky and
ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission
spectrometer.

Sol 938: Spirit acquired super-resolution, panoramic camera images of a
possible meteorite candidate known as “Vernadsky.” The rover continued
to make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic
camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 939: Spirit acquired super-resolution, panoramic camera images of a
target known as “Scott Base.” Spirit continued to make daily
observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and
miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 940: Plans called for Spirit to acquire images of the rover deck
with the panoramic camera and acquire miniature thermal emission
spectrometer data on a rock target known as “Law-Racovita.” Plans
called
for continued daily observations of the sky and ground with the
panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 941: Plans called for Spirit to acquire panoramic camera images of
the rover deck as well as continue to make daily observations of the
sky
and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission
spectrometer.

Sol 942 (Aug. 27, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to continue acquiring
panoramic camera images of the rover deck, collect data about elemental
composition of the rock target called “Halley Brunt,” and make daily
observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and
miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 938 (Aug. 23, 2006), Spirit’s total odometry remained at
6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Closer and Closer to ‘Victoria’ - sol 913-919,
August 25, 2006:

Opportunity is healthy and located only 218 meters (715 feet) from the
rim of “Victoria Crater.” Opportunity’s odometer clicked past the
9-kilometer (5.5-mile) mark as it drove 237.81 meters (780 feet) during
the week. The terrain within the annulus, or ring, of material
surrounding Victoria is homogeneous and flat, which is favorable for
long drives. The team planned a trenching activity for sol 919 (Aug.
25,
2006) to prepare for a robotic arm campaign during the weekend.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 913 (Aug. 18, 2006): Opportunity used its panoramic camera to
conduct a 13-filter systematic foreground observation, gathered a
systematic foreground raster with the miniature thermal emission
spectrometer and used the navigation camera in support of that
spectrometer. The rover measured the atmosphere’s clarity (a
measurement
called “tau”) with the panoramic camera and used the miniature thermal
emission spectrometer for observations of targets “Tenerife” (a
boulder)
and “Tenerife BG” (soil near the boulder).

Sol 914: Opportunity drove 71.72 meters (235 feet) then took images
from
its new position with the navigation camera and the panoramic camera.
The rover also conducted a test to aid the design effort for NASA’s
2009
Mars Science Laboratory. Opportunity’s navigation camera took an image
of the sunset. The image was designed to help in development of an
algorithm for determining the rover’s position using the sun and the
time of day. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer observed sky
and ground during the afternoon communication-relay pass of NASA’s Mars
Odyssey orbiter.

Sol 915: The rover conducted monitoring of dust on the panoramic mast
assembly (the rover’s “neck” and “head”), used the panoramic camera to
survey clasts (rock fragments) and used the miniature thermal emission
spectrometer to observe sky and ground.

Sol 916: The rover drove backwards for 88.82 meters (291 feet).

Sol 917: Opportunity drove backwards 77.27 meters (254 feet) and took
mosaics of images with the navigation camera. Before the Mars Odyssey
pass, the rover took a panoramic camera tau measurement. During the
orbiter’s pass, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a
foreground stare. The rover also took a panoramic camera 13-filter
foreground image.

Sol 918: Opportunity did untargeted remote sensing, including: a
panoramic camera albedo measurement, a navigation camera rear-looking
mosaic, a front hazard avoidance camera image for potential robotic-arm
work, and a miniature thermal emission spectrometer seven-point sky and
ground observation. The rover also took a panoramic camera tau
measurement before the first of two Odyssey passes and a miniature
thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground observation during the
first Odyssey pass.

Sol 919: Plans call for Opportunity to take a panoramic camera image of
the location selected for trenching, then to advance 2.3 meters (7.5
feet) and use a wheel to dig the trench, pausing to take images. Next
in
the plan are navigation camera mosaics in the forward and rear
directions, then observations of sky and ground with the miniature
thermal emission spectrometer during the Odyssey pass.

As of sol 918 (August 24, 2006), Opportunity’s total odometry was
9,015.19 meters (5.60 miles).