SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Loses, Re-Establishes Contact with Orbiter - sol 1132-1140, March 20, 2007:
Spirit is healthy but had to sit out a Martian day waiting to send data to Earth while the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was in safe mode. Both the rover and the orbiter share the same X-band frequency with Earth and must coordinate communications. Ultimately, Spirit sent data to Earth while the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was on the other side of Mars, out of reach of Earth.
Spirit drove 21.26 meters (69.75 feet) on the rover’s 1,132nd and 1,136th sols, or Martian days, of exploration (March 10 and March 14, 2007), en route to rock targets on “Mitcheltree Ridge.”
Sol 1132 (March 10, 2007): Spirit touched a soil target with the Moessbauer spectrometer, acquired microscopic images, and surveyed the sky and ground as well as a vesicular basalt known as “Faye Dancer” using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover drove 10.2 meters (33.5 feet), took images with the hazard avoidance and panoramic cameras, and acquired a 360-degree mosaic with the navigation camera.
Sol 1133: Spirit began the day by imaging the sky with the panoramic camera. The rover then pointed the navigation camera at the surrounding terrain and acquired a movie in search of dust devils. Spirit surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and monitored dust on the rover mast.
Sol 1134: Spirit searched for dust devils in the morning and spent much of the day engaged in remote targeted sensing. Spirit acquired full-color images of a knob known as “Pitchers Mound” using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover acquired images of an outcrop known as “Backstop” and conducted a survey of rock clasts using the panoramic camera. Spirit acquired data on targets known as “Shirley Jameson,” “Connie Wisniewski,” “Margaret Stephani,” and “Tjanath” using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover monitored atmospheric dust using the panoramic camera and surveyed the sky and ground as well as targets known as “Phundahl” and “Panar” using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1135: Spirit began the day by examining scattered light and searching for dust devils with the navigation camera. The rover surveyed targets known as “Ptarth” and “Thark,” a large slab of rock called “Torquas,” and the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1136: Spirit’s first task of the day was surveying the rover’s calibration target and a target known as “Toonal” using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit then drove 11.06 meters (36.29 feet) toward an outlying outcrop associated with “Home Plate” (called “outlier 2”) and acquired post-drive images using the hazard avoidance and navigation cameras. The rover surveyed the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1137: In the morning, Spirit acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera and acquired a movie in search of dust devils using the navigation camera. When Spirit did not receive the next day’s instructions as a result of being unable to establish a link with Earth while the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was in safe mode, the rover instead executed “runout” science activities for the first time in 321 sols. The pre-loaded runout activities included monitoring atmospheric dust, measuring light looking east and west, imaging the calibration target, and taking thumbnail images of the sky.
Sol 1138 (March 9, 2007): Spirit acquired full-color images of targets known as “Ompt” and “Shador” using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover studied Ompt, Shador, and additional targets known as “Zor” and “Zodanga” using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit monitored atmospheric dust using the panoramic camera and conducted an argon experiment using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.
Sol 1139: Spirit’s first activities of the day included acquiring full-color images of Zodanga and Zor using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera and searching for clouds using the navigation camera. Spirit acquired hazard avoidance camera images and navigation camera images of potential scientific targets as well as a 360-degree view of the rover’s surroundings using the navigation camera. Spirit monitored atmospheric dust using the panoramic camera.
Sol 1140 (March 19, 2007): Spirit took snapshots of the sky using the panoramic camera and acquired a dust devil movie using the navigation camera. The rover measured atmospheric dust, scanned the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and looked for clouds using the navigation camera.
As of sol 1136 (March 14, 2007), Spirit’s total odometry was 7,033.61 meters (4.37 miles).
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Conducts Imaging and Diagnostics - sol 1112-1117, March 20, 2007:
Opportunity is healthy and is positioning itself for long baseline stereo imaging of “Cape St. Vincent,” across the “Valley Without Peril.” Subsequently, the rover will drive northeast to the mouth of the Valley Without Peril for long baseline stereo imaging of the valley floor. On sol 1112 Opportunity performed another test of RAT (rock abrasion tool) grind operations. The test indicated the need to circumvent a portion of the flight software which is still trying to use the RAT’s failed encoder. The “patch” will be up-linked and tested this weekend.
On sol 1114 Opportunity attempted an 8-meter (26 feet) drive to a position on the west bank of the Valley Without Peril in order to image Cape St. Vincent to the east. The drive stopped after only a half a meter of progress because the rover failed to stay within limits placed on its heading by the rover drivers. A similar drive is planned for sol 1116.
In addition to Opportunity’s daily science observations, which include a panoramic camera tau measurement and miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground stares, the rover did the following:
Sol 1112 (March 11, 2007): On this sol, Opportunity conducted another RAT grind test, miniature thermal emission spectrometer 7-point sky and ground stares, panoramic camera high sun observation, an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration to look for Argon and panoramic camera sky thumbnail images.
Sol 1113: Opportunity used the instruments on its “head” (or panoramic camera mast assembly) to scan the sky and then used the panoramic camera to image the local foreground in 13-filters. The navigation camera was then used to prepare for miniature thermal emission spectrometer observations and to look for clouds.
Sol 1114: The rover began to drive south-southwest to the imaging position for Cape St. Vincent. The drive stalled due to Opportunity exceeding heading limitations set by rover drivers. A post-drive navigation camera image was shot for next drive.
Sol 1115: On this sol, Opportunity completed miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground stares, navigation camera search for clouds, panoramic camera sky thumbnail images and panoramic camera mast assembly dust monitoring.
Sol 1116: Opportunity drove south-southwest to the imaging position for Cape St. Vincent and then completed a post-drive navigation camera mosaic for the next drive.
Sol 1117: On this sol, Opportunity calibrated the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and then used it to assess the local sky and ground. The navigation camera was used to look for clouds.
As of sol 1114, Opportunity’s total odometry is 10,285.53 meters (6.39 miles).