Mars Exploration Rover Update - April 29, 2005
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Subhead - sol 443-446, April 29, 2005
Opportunity used the spectrometers on its arm to examine the soil where
the rover stayed for six sols, then resumed driving on sol 446. However, the drive ended after 40 meters when Opportunity was crossing a dune and dug into it. Engineers are using a test rover to evaluate options for getting off the dune.
Sol-by-sol summaries:
Sol 443 (ending on April 23, 2005): IDD campaign! We started off by unstowing the instrument deployment device -- the robotic arm -- and performing a joint stare of the sky using the microscopic imager and panoramic camera. We then changed tools to the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and collected data for 5 hours and 41 minutes about the composition of the soil in front of the rover.
Sol 444: Opportunity deep-slept overnight, and woke up to perform a sky survey while the Sun was high in the sky. We then changed tools to the Mossbauer spectrometer and started a 31-hour integration on the soil.
Sol 445: In order to keep the Mossbauer integration running, the rover did not use the deep-sleep mode overnight. Today was devoted to continued Mossbauer integration on the soil. At last, we stopped the Mossbauer integration at 11:12 p.m. local time and Opportunity deep-slept for the rest of the night.
Sol 446: We planned a drive of about 90 meters (295 feet). After driving about 40 meters (131 feet), Opportunity dug into soft dune material, impeding further progress. Imaging indicates all four corner wheels have dug in by more than a wheel radius as the rover attempted to climb over a dune about 30 centimeters (12 inches) tall. Opportunity is healthy and in a stable configuration but further analysis is needed to understand this event and plan future driving. Over next several sols, Opportunity will focus on remote sensing while on Earth a series of testbed runs are in progress to simulate terrain interaction and evaluate different egress options.
As of sol 446 (ending on April 26, 2005), Opportunity's odometry total is 5,346 meters (3.32 miles).
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