Mars Exploration Rovers Update - May 24, 2007

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

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Continues Soil Analysis - sol 1193-1199, May 24, 2007:

Spirit is healthy and spent the last week studying light and dark soil in and around the rover’s tracks between “Home Plate” and “Mitcheltree Ridge.” Spirit collected additional soil data, including about 24 hours of data using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and 70 hours of data using the Moessbauer spectrometer. The primary soil targets examined during the week are known as “Kenosha Comets” and “Lefty Ganote.”

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels using the panoramic camera and surveys of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1193 (May 12, 2007): Spirit acquired alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer data from Kenosha Comets, miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from a target called “Alice Blaski,” and panoramic camera images of Alice Blaski and another target known as “Mantalia.” Following those tasks, Spirit napped until 11 p.m. local Mars time. Spirit then conducted a 12-hour analysis of Kenosha Comets using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1194: Spirit started the day with acquisition of full-color images of light-colored tracks using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover acquired thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera. Spirit replaced the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer with the Moessbauer spectrometer and acquired 23.3 hours of Moessbauer data from Kenosha Comets. The rover studied a target known as “Palthon” using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and took thumbnail images of the Martian sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1195: Spirit acquired another 23.3 hours worth of Moessbauer data from Kenosha Comets as well as a movie in search of dust devils using the navigation camera. The rover studied Mantalia and another target known as “Orluk” using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1196: Spirit’s first task of the day was to complete a sky survey using the panoramic camera. The rover stowed the robotic arm, drove backward 0.85 meters (2.8 feet), and autonomously put the alpha- particle X-ray spectrometer in position for further studies. Spirit acquired hazardous avoidance camera images prior to and after stopping and acquired navigation camera images of the terrain. Starting at 11 p.m. local Mars time, Spirit conducted an 11-hour study of the Martian atmosphere using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1197: Spirit began the day by searching the Martian sky for clouds using the navigation camera and surveying the horizon with the panoramic camera. Spirit acquired full-color, 13-filter images of “Gertrude Weise background 3” using the panoramic camera. The rover surveyed Kenosha Comets and targets known as “Gertrude Weise background 2,” “Kay Blumetta,” and Gertrude Weise background 3 using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1198: In the morning, Spirit acquired full-color images of Kenosha Comets using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover acquired a 360-degree panorama using the navigation camera. Spirit unstowed the robotic arm, acquired microscopic images of Lefty Ganote, and placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on Lefty Ganote. Spirit surveyed a target known as “Audrey Wagner,” Kenosha Comets, and two targets in the rover’s tracks known as “Tracks No. 1” and “Tracks No. 2” using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover completed a sky survey at low sun with the panoramic camera. After napping, Spirit awoke at 11 p.m. local Mars time and conducted an overnight study using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer that lasted 11 hours and 52 minutes.

Sol 1199 (May 18, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to begin the day with a search for dust devils using the navigation camera and a survey of a target called “Margaret Jones” using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. After that, the rover was to place the Moessbauer spectrometer on Lefty Ganote and conduct a 23 1/4 - hour analysis, acquire full-color images of targets called “Ethel Boyce” and “Joanne Weaver” using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, and conduct another search for dust devils the following morning by collecting movie frames with the navigation camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1198 (May 17, 2007), Spirit’s total odometry was 7,109.47 meters (4.42 miles).


OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Turns Up the Amps - sol 1164-1170, May 24, 2007:

Opportunity’s electrical supply returned to levels not seen since the rover first arrived on Mars. Peak electrical current from the rover’s solar arrays climbed above 4.0 amps and remained there for most of the week as a result of three recent dust-cleaning events. The last time electrical current reached similar levels was on sol 18 (Feb. 10, 2004)!

Meanwhile, Opportunity is healthy and continues to circumnavigate “Victoria Crater” back toward “Duck Bay.” On the rover’s 1,163rd sol, or Martian day of exploration (May 2, 2007), Opportunity drove 90 meters (296 feet). The following sol the rover drove toward the rim of “Cape of Good Hope” to acquire high-quality, super-resolution images of the western face of “Cape St. Vincent.” These images will enable scientists to better characterize detailed cross-bedding in the lower stratigraphic unit.

Opportunity also successfully tested a new procedure for using the rock abrasion tool to grind and seek a surface of scientific interest. At a rock target known as “Viva La Rata” (“Long Live the Rat”), the rover used software to bypass a check that was causing the grind encoder to fail. Because the RAT can no longer find the rock surface by seek/ scan, the rover used the grinding motion to do a “grind/scan.” On sol 1166 (May 4, 2007), Opportunity performed a successful grind/scan to find the target surface. Then, on sol 1168 (May 7, 2007), the rover used the rock abrasion tool to brush Viva la Ratta.

On sol 1169 (May 8, 2007), Opportunity postponed a planned drive to study some cobbles because of a joint 1 stall that occurred while stowing the robotic arm before the drive. This stall was similar to previous joint 1 stalls. On sol 1170 (May 9, 2007), Opportunity reached its destination, an outcrop known as “Madrid/Guadarrama.”

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Opportunity completed the following activities:

Sol 1164 (May 3, 2007): Opportunity stowed the robotic arm, drove approximately 15 meters (49 feet) onto “Cape of Good Hope,” acquired hazard avoidance camera images just before and after the end of the drive, and unstowed the robotic arm. The rover acquired a 3-by-1 mosaic of “Cape of Good Hope” as well as other images of the terrain with the navigation camera after the drive.

Sol 1165: Opportunity began the sol by acquiring a timed movie in search of clouds, with successive images taken after a two-minute delay. The rover completed a sky survey at high sun using the panoramic camera and measured dark current (signals received when not exposed to light) while both hot and warm. The rover enjoyed a deep sleep.

Sol 1166: Upon awakening, Opportunity surveyed the sky with the panoramic camera and acquired panoramic camera images of Cape St. Vincent. While acquiring stereo microscopic images of Viva la Rata prior to grinding the rock surface, Joint 1 stalled. The rover conducted a touch test on Viva La Rata with the rock abrasion tool and searched for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1167: In the morning, Opportunity monitored dust on the rover mast and acquired thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera. The rover acquired super-resolution images of Cape St. Vincent with the panoramic camera and searched for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1168: Opportunity completed a morning survey of the horizon with the panoramic camera and brushed Viva La Rata with the rock abrasion tool. Following that, the rover acquired stereo microscopic images of the brushed surface and studied it with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. Opportunity also surveyed a target known as “Rodrigues” with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and acquired panoramic camera images of the terrain ahead. Opportunity scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1169: Opportunity acquired sky images with the panoramic camera and checked for drift (changes with time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover did not stow the robotic arm as planned after having moved it into ready position because of the Joint 1 stall. Also as a result of the stall, the rover did not drive backward to adjust its position and proceed to “Madrid” as planned. Opportunity acquired images of Viva La Rata with the panoramic camera and post-drive images with both the panoramic and navigation cameras. The rover searched for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1170 (May 8, 2007): Opportunity acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera, conducted a diagnostic test of the robotic arm, stowed the robotic arm, acquired panoramic camera images of “Madrid,” unstowed the robotic arm, and acquired images with the navigation and panoramic cameras. The rover scanned the sky for clouds and conducted a survey of rock clasts with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1170 (May 8, 2007), Opportunity’s total odometry was 10,784.94 meters (6.7 miles).