Mars Exploration Rover Update - September 30, 2004

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OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Waking up from a Winter's Nap - sol 238-241,
September 30, 2004
After a well-deserved rest through solar conjunction, Opportunity is
awake again and back to work. The conjunction was the period in
mid-September when Mars was nearly behind the Sun from Earth's
perspective, causing communications to be unreliable.
Sol details:
Sol 238
Opportunity completed instrument arm operations on a soil target called
"Auk" by finishing a multi-sol M�ssbauer spectrometer integration and
collecting microscopic images of undisturbed soil. It then performing
remote sensing observations on the next target, a rock called
"Ellesmere." Once the morning activities were complete, Opportunity took
a 90-minute nap then stowed the arm and drove backwards 0.34 meters (1.1
feet). The rover used an afternoon communications session on sol 238 and
an early morning session on sol 239.
Sols 239 and 240
The planning session for sols 239 and 240 was extremely challenging for
the uplink team. As the rover project transitions to five-day-a-week
planning, the Opportunity team planned two sols of activities to be
uplinked on sol 239. Adding to the complexity, the two sols' activities
included difficult instrument arm placement activities. Rover planners
rose to the occasion. The sol started with 45 minutes of microscopic
imaging, then placement of the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on a
target area of Ellesmere called "No Coating." Opportunity performed a
couple hours of remote sensing, used an afternoon communications session
and then went into overnight deep sleep. On sol 240, Opportunity began
taking a reading with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer at 7:00
local solar time, then went back to sleep. After waking, it did an hour
of remote sensing observations, completed the alpha particle X-ray
spectrometer integration and collected more microscopic imager pictures.
The rover then placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on its next
target, "Barbeau." Another hour of remote sensing completed the sol.
Sol 241
Opportunity finished its alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration
on Barbeau, collected more microscopic images, switched tools to the
M�ssbauer spectrometer and started that integration. The rover performed
a mini deep sleep overnight. Sol 241 ended on Sept. 27.
Total odometry after sol 241 is 1,573.83 meters (0.98 miles - almost to
the 1-mile mark).
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