Mars Exploration Rover Update - September 22, 2005

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/status.html#opportunity
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Approaching 'Erebus' - sol 586-591, Sept 22, 2005:
Opportunity is healthy and continuing its drive toward "Erebus Crater." Images taken this week show the interior of the crater. Plans for the next few sols are to get closer to the crater's edge and do extensive imaging. The team is also planning to use the tools on the robotic arm to examine a dark area of outcrop located on the way to the edge of the crater.
Sol-by-sol summaries:
Sol 586 (Sept. 16, 2005): Opportunity conducted remote sensing.
Sol 587: More remote sensing.
Sol 588: Drove about 20 meters (66 feet) at 208 degrees.
Sol 589: Drove about 22 meters (72 feet).
Sol 590: Drove 35 meters (115 feet).
Sol 591 (Sept. 22, 2005): Drove about 17.5 meters (57 feet), turned for weekend work with robotic arm. As of sol 591, Opportunity has traveled 5,933.69 meters (3.69 miles).
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote:

Just curious.
A day does not quite equal a sol, so a Mars weekend will steadily get out of phase with an Earth weekend. So is Opportunity observing a Mars weekend or an Earth weekend?
For the pedants - this query should not be taken too seriously:-)
Jack
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The scientists that are on the teams "driving" the rovers are not on eaqrth time. They're on mars time. So it's a martian weekend, though sometimes it cycles to the point where you can rest and sync up earth and mars somewhat.
--Andy P
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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No, they went back to Earth time quite a while back (I think it was at the end of the 90-day primary mission). Living on Mars time was convenient for getting the most out of the rovers, but it was hard on the people to be out of sync with the world they live in. When the rovers' lives were expected to be short, it made sense, but when it became clear that rover operations might go on for quite a while, they had to change to more sustainable working practices.
It's not as big a problem as you might think. The bulk data transmission goes via the various Mars orbiters, and there are only a few orbiter passes per day. They're more or less running the rovers by email: they send up some orders, and some hours later, maybe even the next day if the timing doesn't work out right, pictures (and other data) come back showing the results. People aren't sitting around watching the results roll in minute by minute; the pace is more relaxed. So being on Earth time means occasional delays when the schedules don't line up well -- e.g., the next batch of pictures comes in after people have gone to bed -- but that just means the rover sits and waits for orders a bit longer than usual.
--
spsystems.net is temporarily off the air; | Henry Spencer
mail to henry at zoo.utoronto.ca instead. | snipped-for-privacy@spsystems.net
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So then they did find martian alien bears.
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