Mars Exploration Rover Update - April 13, 2004
SPIRIT UPDATE: Refreshed and Ready to Rock and Rove - sol 98, Apr 13, 2004
On Sol 98, which ended at 10:36 p.m. PST on April 12, Spirit woke up to the song "Where Is My Mind?" by The Pixies in honor of its software transplant. The good news is that Spirit's "mind" is updated and operating as expected.
Controllers gave the go to reboot the rover's computer, which would then run the new software during the morning of sol 98. The command was sent, and a little over a half hour later, engineers saw the carrier beep that indicated that the command was received. Spirit went to sleep for several minutes after that, and then woke up, rebooting into the new software. It then initiated a high-gain antenna session at 12:30 p.m. Mars Local Solar time, and engineers saw that the new version of the rover software was running properly.
After confirmation that the new software was running as expected, engineers ran some clean-up activities and breathed a sigh of satisfaction.
The new software provides several improvements. It enhances the rovers' mobility, and should allow Spirit to go much farther each sol by reducing how often it has to take images and generate new three-dimensional maps. A deep-sleep mode has been added, mainly to resolve the heater that is stuck in the "on" position on the Opportunity rover. However, someday Spirit may find a use for this mode as well. The new software also mitigates the memory problem Spirit had on sol 18, and seems to be making a difference already. Spirit's unallocated memory jumped from 2.0 megabytes to 3.3 megabytes after the new software compacted the flash directories when it booted.
It's back to regular operations for Spirit on sol 99, ending at 11:15 p.m. PST on April 13, brushing a six-spot mosaic on the rock target "Route 66." Spirit will then take microscopic imager images and spectrometer measurements before the sol is complete.
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