Mars Exploration Rovers Update - December 4, 2006

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

SPIRIT UPDATE: More Remote Science for Spirit - sol 1017-1023,
December 04, 2006:

Spirit is healthy. Downlink of information from the rover resumed after
a 48-hour gap in downlink that resulted from NASA’s Mars Odyssey
releasing most of its Deep Space Network coverage earlier in the week
to
Mars Global Surveyor to support efforts to recover communications with
Global Surveyor.

This week, Spirit changed robotic-arm targets from “Berkner Island” to
“Bear Island” and executed a microscopic image mosaic, five hours of
data collection with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and nearly
48
hours with the M?ssbauer spectrometer. The engineering team planned
and
commanded Spirit’s second drive of the season on sol 1022.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 1017 (Nov. 12, 2006): Spirit used its microscopic imager to take
exposures for a stereo mosaic of target Bear Island, then placed the
alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on that target. After the Mars
Odyssey
pass, the rover took a tau (atmospheric clarity) measurement and then
began a five-hour reading with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1018: The panoramic camera took thumbnail images of the sky, and
the
navigation camera scanned for clouds. The team changed tools to the
M?ssbauer spectrometer and used it for a 10-hour integration on Bear
Island.

Sol 1019: In the morning, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer
assessed the sky and ground, and the panoramic camera examined the sky.
The miniature thermal emission spectrometer then stared at target
“Baudoin.” Some engineering maintenance was done and then the
M?ssbauer
spectrometer was restarted on target Bear Island.

Sol 1020: In the morning, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer
assessed the sky and ground, and the panoramic camera examined the sky.
The rover restarted the M?ssbauer data-collection on Bear Island for
a
23-hour, overnight integration.

Sol 1021: Spirit’s miniature thermal emission spectrometer assessed
light-toned material in the rover’s tracks in the morning. The
M?ssbauer
spectrometer was restarted on Bear Island. The panoramic camera
conducted a light experiment by taking multiple images throughout the
day. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer assessed target “Allan
Hills” during the communications pass with Mars Odyssey. After the
Odyssey pass, the M?ssbauer observation was completed and the
panoramic
camera took a tau measurement at sunset.

Sol 1022: Spirit’s arm was stowed before the rover began a short drive
to a nearby outcrop. After the drive the navigation and hazard
avoidance
cameras took images. A tau measurement was taken as well.

Sol 1023 (Nov. 28): The panoramic camera took images of targets “El
Dorado” and “Prat” as well as thumbnail images of the sky. The
miniature
thermal emission spectrometer conducted a sky and ground observation.

Odometry:

As of sol 1023, Spirit’s odometry is 6,877.63 meters (4.27 miles).


OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Tests New Driving Software and Helps
Its
Sister Spacecraft - sol 1002-1015, December 04, 2006:

Opportunity is healthy and making progress imaging “Victoria Crater.”
Sol 1002 began with a short drive to the edge of “Cape St. Mary” in
order to take better images of the northeast side of “Cape Verde.”

On Sols 1005 and 1006 (Nov. 21 and 22, 2006), Opportunity participated
in efforts to recover communications with NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor
orbiter, which had not communicated with Earth for more than two weeks
at that point. Mars Global Surveyor was sent a command in the blind to
try to communicate with Opportunity via their UHF radios on each of
these two sols. Alas, Opportunity never received any signal from the
orbiter on either attempt.

On Sol 1009, Opportunity departed Cape St. Mary and headed toward a
point overlooking “Bottomless Bay” (Bahia sin Fondo) more than 100
meters (328 feet) away. Drives on sols 1009, 1012 and 1014 added about
80 meters (262 feet) in the direction of Bottomless Bay.

On Sol 1013, Opportunity added to the rapidly growing list of
simultaneous, multi-spacecraft science observations with a coordinated
overflight by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of the area around
Opportunity. At a predetermined time, that orbiter’s remote sensing
instruments took measurements in the vicinity of Opportunity while
Opportunity took “ground truth” measurements of the atmosphere and
ground.

Sol 1014’s drive included the first step in a series of checkouts of
the
rover’s new “D-star” drive capability. This was added to create a more
capable autonomous navigation system. The benefits include better
hazard-avoidance capability, less user intervention and longer
hazard-avoidance traverses per sol.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 1002 (Nov. 18, 2006): The rover drove 1.04 meters (3.41 feet), then
conducted remote sensing of Cape Verde.

Sol 1003: Opportunity conducted untargeted remote sensing.

Sol 1004: Opportunity conducted untargeted remote sensing.

Sol 1005: The rover used its panoramic camera to collect images for a
mosaic of Cape Verde. This was the first sol during which Opportunity
attempted to hear from Mars Global Surveyor.

Sol 1006: This sol was the second attempt to use Opportunity to receive
a signal from Mars Global Surveyor. The rover also did targeted remote
sensing.

Sol 1007: Opportunity conducted targeted remote sensing.

Sol 1008: Opportunity conducted untargeted remote sensing.

Sol 1009: The rover drove 43.7 meters (143.4 feet) away from Cape St.
Mary toward Bottomless Bay.

Sol 1010: Opportunity conducted untargeted remote sensing.

Sol 1011: Opportunity conducted untargeted remote sensing.

Sol 1012: The rover drove 14.5 meters (48 feet) toward Bottomless Bay.

Sol 1013: The rover conducted remote sensing and did coordinated
science
observations with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Sol 1014: Opportunity drove about 22 meters (72 feet) toward Bottomless
Bay. The new “D-star” driving software was tested.

Sol 1015 (Dec. 1, 2006): Opportunity did untargeted remote science.

After the drive on sol 1014, Opportunity’s total odometery is 9,555
meters (5.94 miles).