Mars Exploration Rover Update - April 19, 2004

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SPIRIT UPDATE: 'Missoula Crater' in Sight - sol 102-104, Apr 19, 2004

Spirit had a busy weekend, culminating with a 75-meter (246-feet) drive toward "Missoula Crater" on sol 103, which ended at 2:33 a.m. PST on April 18. The sol before the drive, Sol 102, which ended at 1:54 a.m. on April 17, was an easier day for Spirit. Its main objectives were to use the panoramic camera and mini thermal emission spectrometer to acquire photometric and atmospheric measurements.

Before beginning the drive on sol 103, Spirit took panoramic camera images to help planners localize the rover during the long traverse. It then used the panoramic camera and mini thermal emission spectrometer to take a look back at the wheel tracks. Once this information was onboard, the rover began to drive.

Rover controllers planned the first 37 meters (121.4 feet) of the drive, but Spirit used the updated autonomous navigation software to see it through the remaining 38 meters (124.7 feet). Between the two drives, Sprit imaged its surroundings with the panoramic and navigation cameras for context. At the end of the 75-meter (246-feet) drive, Spirit rested a mere 40 meters (131.2 feet) from its destination at the rim of "Missoula Crater." From that spot, it took mini thermal emission spectrometer observations of the sky and ground along with panoramic and navigation camera images to plan the next drive.

Sol 104, which ended at 3:13 a.m. PST on April 19, was a remote sensing day for Spirit. It included a search for dust devils and panoramic camera imaging of Mars' moon Phobos as it transits across the sun and sets.

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