Mars Exploration Rovers Update - December 18, 2006

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/status.html
SPIRIT UPDATE: Relay Link Restored After Orbiter's Recovery - sol 1043-1050, December 18, 2006:
After Spirit drove on sol 1041 (Dec. 7, 2006), NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter went into safe mode before the rover's could relay data to Earth about results of the drive. (Safe mode is a protective state during which only the systems essential to spacecraft health continue operating. This incident of Odyssey temporarily going into safe mode has been attributed to a burst of solar activity.) Since the rover team didn't have current information about Spirit's position and state, the rover spent eight successive Martian days, or sols, collecting untargeted remote sensing data.
Data transmission directly to Earth from Spirit on sol 1046 (Dec. 12, 2006) confirmed that Spirit was healthy. Odyssey recovered the following day and resumed relaying data from Spirit, transmitted from the rover to the orbiter in the UHF radio band.
Sol-by-sol summary:
Sol 1043 (Dec. 9, 2006): Spirit surveyed the rover's tracks using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and measured atmospheric dust opacity with the panoramic camera. The rover surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1044: Spirit surveyed the area where the rover spent the past Martian winter with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and took panoramic camera images of the area.
Sol 1045: Spirit took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera. Spirit monitored the rover mast for dust and relayed the first bits of scientific data collected and stored on sol 1040 (Dec. 6, 2006).
Sol 1046: Spirit surveyed the rover's winter haven with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and monitored atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera. The rover scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1047: Spirit collected miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from a soil target known as "Tyrone" and continued acquiring panoramic camera images of the rover's winter haven.
Sol 1048: Spirit acquired thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera. The rover monitored atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, and surveyed the sky, ground, and calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1049: Spirit acquired navigation camera images in support of miniature thermal emission spectrometer measurements of the rover's surroundings. The rover monitored atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera and acquired panoramic images of the area ahead.
Sol 1050 (Dec. 16, 2006): Spirit's instructions call for scanning for clouds and dust devils with the navigation camera, surveying the mast for dust accumulation and observing the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Odometry:
As of sol 1048 (Dec. 14, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,885.62 meters meters (4.28 miles).
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OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Looks for Entry Point into Crater - sol 1022-1028, December 18, 2006:
Opportunity is healthy and driving toward "Bottomless Bay" to gather data on whether this would be a suitable future entry point into "Victoria Crater." The rover will continue traversing the crater rim and collecting images of the cliff walls.
On Dec. 6, 2006, corresponding to the 1020th sol, or Martian day, of Opportunity's mission on the surface of Mars, NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter entered safe mode, a protective state during which only those systems vital to the orbiter's health continue to operate. Odyssey provides the relay communications link for most data received from the Opportunity and Spirit rovers. Rover handlers responded to the temporary unavailability of Odyssey by planning only one sol of driving and limiting remote sensing activities until the orbiter returned to normal relay mode on Opportunity's sol 1026 (Dec. 12, 2006).
Between sols 1021 (Dec. 7, 2006) and 1027 (Dec. 13, 2006), Opportunity drove 84 meters (276 feet).
Sol-by-sol summaries:
Sol 1022 (Dec. 8, 2006): Opportunity took backward-looking panoramic images, monitored the rover mast for dust, acquired thumbnail panoramic images of the sky, and measured atmospheric dust.
Sol 1023: Opportunity measured atmospheric dust and acquired forward-looking images using the panoramic camera, acquired images to accompany surveys by the miniature thermal emission spectrometer using the navigation camera, and scanned the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover monitored atmospheric dust at sunset, measured atmospheric density of argon gas with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.
Sol 1024: Opportunity measured atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired panoramic camera images of the work volume to be examined using the instruments on the rover's robotic arm.
Sol 1025: Opportunity measured atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, and acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera.
Sol 1026: Opportunity measured atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, surveyed the horizon with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, and acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera.
Sol 1027: Opportunity measured atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, drove 30 meters (98 feet), acquired navigation camera images of the area ahead, and acquired post-drive panoramic camera images and atmospheric dust measurements. The rover surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.
Sol 1028 (Dec. 14, 2006): Opportunity measured atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, drove 40 meters (131 feet), took post-drive navigation camera images, monitored the rover mast for dust, and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Odometry:
As of sol 1027 (Dec. 13, 2006), Opportunity's total odometry was 9,669 meters (6.01 miles).
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