Mars Exploration Rover Update - January 6, 2006
SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Heading to 'Home Plate' - sol 708-714, Jan 06,
This week Spirit completed robotic-arm work on "El Dorado." The rover used all three of its spectrometers plus the microscopic imager for readings over the New Year's weekend. The team planned drive sols the following four days, and Spirit successfully made 198 meters (650 feet) of progress on the way to "Home Plate." On sol 715, Spirit enters restricted sols and will be able to drive only every other day, so the team made a large effort to maximize driving prior to this. (Restricted sols occur when the timing of the communications pass from NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter is too late in the day to gather vital location and health information about the rover after it executed recent commands. The team back on Earth must wait until the next sol to find out where and how the rover is.)
Sol-by-sol summaries:
Sol 708 (Dec. 30, 2006): Spirit used the Moessbauer spectrometer, miniature thermal emission spectrometer and panoramic camera to study El Dorado.
Sol 709: Spirit used the Moessbauer spectrometer, microscopic imager and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer to study El Dorado.
Sol 710: Spirit took pictures of "Edgar" with the microscopic imager, placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on Edgar, and studied El Dorado with the panoramic camera and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.
Sol 711 and 712: On sol 711, Spirit drove 56 meters (184 feet) toward Home Plate using blind driving and autonomous navigation. The autonomous-navigation portion of the drive terminated early because the rover could not find a safe path, and a limit cycle was detected. Due to the limit cycle check and automatic drive termination on sol 711, Spirit did not resume driving on sol 712.
Sol 713: Spirit drove 80 meters (263 feet). Spirit received stall warnings on the left front steer motor on hard left turns, however this did not end the drive.
Sol 714: Spirit drove 62 meters (203 feet). The team performed a steering test of the left front steering actuator because of the prior stall warnings. Preliminary results show no more stall warnings.
As of sol 714 (Jan. 5, 2006), Spirit's total odometry is 6,031 meters (3.75 miles).
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Putting the Arm on 'Ted' - sol 681-694, Jan 06, 2006:
The rover team has kept Opportunity productive while engineers continue to evaluate the best posture for carrying the robotic arm when the rover resumes driving. The arm's position can be manipulated for full use of all the tools on the arm despite symptoms that suggest a broken wire in the winding of a shoulder-joint motor of the arm. The choice of a new position for carrying the arm during drives is a precaution against having the arm stuck in a stowed position if that motor becomes unusable in the future.
Opportunity's recent activities have included imaging of Jupiter, observing the atmosphere on every sol, progress on a multi-filter panorama of "Erebus Crater," and long integrations with the Moessbauer spectrometer and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on targets "Ted" and "Hunt."
Sol-by-sol summaries:
Sols 681 to 683 (Dec. 23 to Dec. 25, 2005): Moessbauer spectrometer integration on Ted, panoramic camera observations and atmospheric observations.
Sol 684: Post-brush microscopic image of Ted and Moessbauer integration on Ted.
Sol 685: Moessbauer integration on Ted and panoramic camera images of targets "Claypool," "Paulden" and "Vernon".
Sol 686: Arm move to Hunt plus microscopic image of Hunt and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration.
Sols 687 to 690: Moessbauer integration on Hunt and remote sensing.
Sol 691: Rock abrasion tool grind of Ted, post-grind microscopic imaging of Ted, and Moessbauer integration on Ted.
Sols 692 to 694 (Jan. 3 to Jan. 5, 2006): Continued Moessbauer integration on Ted and more images for the Erebus panorama.
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