Mars Exploration Rover Update - September 7, 2004

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit finishes observing 'Ebenezer' and moves on to 'Tikal' - sol 232-238, September 07, 2004

Spirit found a comfortable location on a rock outcrop and spent cold autumn days performing observations of a rock called "Ebenezer" with the rover's science instruments. Spirit finished observations of Ebenezer and moved over to the next location, "Tikal," about nine meters (30 feet) away. Spirit will spend solar conjunction at Tikal. Solar conjunction is when Earth and Mars are on opposite sides of the Sun. Due the interference with the Sun, communications between Earth and the spacecraft at Mars will be minimal during solar conjunction, which occurs during Spirit's sols 244 through 255.

On sol 232, Spirit completed an overnight reading with its alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on a target dubbed "Cratchit 2," where the rover had earlier used its rock abraision tool to cut a hole exposing the rock's interior. Spirit took images of the same target with the microscopic imager. Spirit then placed the Mossbauer spectrometer on Cratchit 2 and started a very long, two-sol integration.

After the two-sol Mossbauer spectrometer activity, Spirit spent sol 234 performing 90 minutes of remote sensing. On sol 235, Spirit changed tools from the Mossbauer spectrometer to the microscopic imager and took pictures. Then Spirit used the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer for thirty minutes. After completing the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer reading, the arm was stowed so that on sol 236 the rock abrasion tool brushings could be imaged using the panoramic camera without the arm blocking any part of the image.

Spirit spent sols 236 to 238 brushing eight adjoining patches on Ebenezer to create a large enough scrubbed area for analyzing with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, then drove up to the rover's designated vacation spot for solar conjunction.

Spirit bumped backwards on sol 237, and took some navigation camera images of the brushed area of Ebenezer to support miniature thermal emission spectrometer observations on the next sol. A navigation camera panorama was taken in the expected drive direction, toward Tikal.

In the morning of sol 238, the panoramic camera imaged the brushed area of Ebenezer. A little after noon, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer took spectral readings of both the brushed area and a hole that rock abrasion tool hole had cut into Ebenezer on sol 231. At 2 p.m. Gusev time, Spirit took an afternoon drive to Tikal, about nine meters (30 feet) away.

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