Mars Exploration Rovers Update - November 13, 2006

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit’s ‘Arm’ Busy Checking New Targets - sol
November 13, 2006:

After Spirit’s successful 0.71-meter (28-inch) bump on sol 1010, the
team has new targets in the robotic arm’s work volume for the first
in 204 sols. There is some interesting light and dark material within
arm’s reach and this week the team planned a robotic arm campaign
including a microscopic imager mosaic, four hours of alpha particle
X-ray spectrometer integration and 43 hours of Moessbauer spectrometer
integration. Spirit is receiving a little over 320 Watt-hours now and
able to occasionally use the Moessbauer or alpha particle X-ray
spectrometer overnight.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1013 (Nov. 8, 2006): This sol began with the usual engineering
tau (atmospheric clarity) measurement, then a calibration of the
miniature thermal emission spectrometer before that instrument was used
to stare at the sky and ground. Spirit then used its front hazard
avoidance cameras to look at the robotic arm’s work volume, then
unstowed the arm and took a stereo microscopic image of target “Berkner
Island.” The rover then placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on
Berkner Island and integrated for four hours. Spirit used its miniature
thermal emission spectrometer to stare at target “Davis” during the
afternoon when NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft passed overhead.

Sol 1014: The rover changed tools to the Moessbauer spectrometer and
integrated for 23 hours.

Sol 1015: During the morning of this sol, Spirit conducted dust
monitoring of its panoramic camera mast assembly (its neck and head).
The rover then restarted the Moessbauer on target Berkner Island for a
10-hour integration. A panoramic camera tau measurement and a miniature
thermal emission spectrometer observation of sky and ground were
conducted around the Odyssey pass.

Sol 1016: On this sol, Spirit took images with its navigation camera.
then restarted the Moessbauer spectrometer on Berkner Island for a
10-hour integration. Total integration time is 43 hours at this target.
The rover then conducted a panoramic camera sky observation.


As of sol 1016 (Nov. 11, 2006), Spirit’s odometry is 6,976.89 meters
(4.34 miles).

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity on the Move after Solar Conjunction -
sol 968-995, November 13, 2006:

Opportunity is healthy and has driven away from the “Cape Verde”
promontory for further exploration around the rim of “Victoria Crater.”
Over the course of the next week, the rover will make its way clockwise
around Victoria Crater to the next promontory, “Cape St. Mary.”
Opportunity will then image the northeast-facing cliff of Cape Verde to
characterize lateral changes in layers of the crater wall. Along the
way, Opportunity will be using the panoramic camera to scout a safe
place to drive into the crater.

During the drive on Sol 992, rover planners performed the first step of
the in-flight checkout of one of the rover’s new technologies: visual
target tracking (VTT). This first checkout included picking a target to
track, driving, and testing the rover’s knowledge of how its position
changed relative to the target. The rover performed this activity as
planned. The next step will be to execute a drive to a VTT target.

During the solar conjunction period from sol 970 to sol 984 (Oct. 16 to
30), Opportunity used its panoramic camera to image Victoria Crater
the Cape Verde promontory, collected 3.5 hours of Moessbauer
spectrometer data each sol on the hole that the rock abrasion tool
drilled at target “Cha,” and performed its standard sol-to-sol
atmospheric and remote sensing observations. Opportunity collected more
than 50 hours of Moessbauer data on Cha.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to Opportunity’s daily science observations (checking
atmospheric clarity with the panoramic camera, monitoring for clouds
with the navigation camera, and observing sky and ground with the
miniature thermal emission spectrometer), the rover performed the
following activities:

Sol 968 (Oct. 14, 2006): The rover planning team made room in flash
memory for data to be collected during solar conjunction.

Sol 969: More room in the flash memory was freed during this sol.

Sols 970 to 984 (conjunction): The rover took images for a panorama of
the view from Cape Verde and conducted Moessbauer spectrometer
integration on target Cha.

Sol 985: The rover took images for the Cape Verde panorama.

Sol 986: Opportunity continued to work on the Cape Verde panorama and
used the Moessbauer spectrometer on target Cha.

Sol 987: Opportunity retransmitted and deleted data left from solar

Sol 988: There was more Moessbauer activity on Cha, use of the
thermal emission spectrometer, and retransmission and deletion of data
from conjunction.

Sol 989: Opportunity did more Moessbauer spectrometer observations on
Cha and used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 990: Opportunity did more Moessbauer spectrometer observations on
Cha and used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 991: On this sol, Opportunity finished acquiring the Cape Verde
panoramic image.

Sol 992: The rover drove toward Cape St. Mary and tested its visual
target tracking function.

Sol 993: Opportunity took images of the crater with its panoramic

Sol 994: The rover drove toward Cape St. Mary.

Sol 995 (Nov. 11, 2006): Opportunity used its panoramic camera to image
the crater.


Opportunity’s total odometry as of sol 992 (Nov. 8, 2006) is 9,432
meters (5.86 miles).