SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Inches Downward - sol 1457-1463, February 13, 2008:
Spirit is tiptoeing ever so carefully down the north edge of the elevated volcanic plateau known as “Home Plate.” Having completed a 4-centimeter (1.6-inch) drive on sol 1463 (Feb. 13, 2008), the rover’s current northerly tilt is 27.1 degrees. Spirit’s handlers plan to have the rover drive another 4 centimeters on sol 1464 (Feb. 14, 2008).
They expect Spirit to be at the rover’s final winter perch by the end of next week, following a few more 4-centimeter drives. Given recent progress, Spirit may achieve a northerly, Sun-facing tilt of 30 degrees, higher than originally anticipated. Spirit remains healthy.
In addition to measurements of atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera and daily communications activities, which include morning direct-from-Earth uplinks over the rover’s high-gain antenna and evening relays to Earth via the UHF antenna on the Mars Odyssey orbiter, Spirit completed the following activities:
Sol 1457 (Feb. 7, 2008): Spirit surveyed the Martian sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, stowed the rover’s robotic arm, and drove downslope.
Sol 1458: Spirit acquired images of the dune field known as “El Dorado,” surveyed the Martian horizon, and took spot images of the sky for calibration purposes using the rover’s panoramic camera. Spirit acquired movie frames in search of dust devils using the navigation camera.
Sol 1459: Spirit drove 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) further down the north edge of Home Plate. The rover surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1460: Spirit surveyed the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1461: Spirit acquired mid-field and far-field images using the panoramic camera.
Sol 1462: Spirit acquired a second set of mid-field images as well as thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera.
Sol 1463 (Feb. 13, 2008): Spirit drove another 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) downslope. Using the panoramic camera, Spirit surveyed the horizon, monitored changes in the El Dorado dune field, and took spot images of the sky.
As of sol 1463 (Feb. 13, 2008), Spirit’s total odometry was 7,528.01 meters (4.68 miles).