Mars Exploration Rover Update - September 9, 2005
SPIRIT UPDATE: Moonstruck - sol 591-598, Sept 09, 2005:
Spirit is in good health, power positive, and has no issues. This week
the telecom team changed Spirit's uplink rate from 1000 bits per second to 2000 bits per second. In its orbit around the Sun, Mars comes close to Earth for a few months once every two years. Mars is now close enough to Earth that the one-way communication travel time from the spacecraft at Mars to the Deep Space Network antennas on Earth is only about 5 minutes away (at light speed). This shorter communication travel time means that the rover team has plenty of communication-link margin to support the higher uplink rate. The new uplink rate was successful during the sol 598 uplink session.
Between Sept. 2 and Sept. 8, Spirit drove to another imaging location and completed the second stereo imaging campaign. Spirit returned to "Irvine" in order to explore what might be a dike, which is a crack-like cut that often forms when magma from a volcano travels through or over another rock. Spirit also performed more observations of the moons Phobos and Deimos, and completed three days of Moessbauer spectrometer readings on the capture magnets.
Sol-by-sol summaries:
Sol 592 (Sept. 2, 2005): Spirit drove to the second hilltop location for stereo imaging.
Sol 593: Spirit performed remote sensing observations.
Sol 594 and 595: On both sols, Spirit performed a Moessbauer spectrometer reading on a capture magnet, observed Phobos and Deimos, and did stereo imaging.
Sol 596: Spirit performed a Moessbauer spectrometer reading on a capture magnet and took images with 13 filters on the panoramic camera.
Sol 597: Spirit finished the panoramic camera imaging. Spirit used the microscopic imager to take pictures of the capture and filter magnets, and used the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on the capture magnet.
Sol 598: Spirit drove back to Irvine.
As of the end of sol 598, (Sept. 8, 2005), Spirit has driven 4,895 meters (3.04 miles).
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