Mars Exploration Rovers Update - December 22, 2006

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SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Tests New Computer Smarts, Studies Rocks and
Terrain - sol 1051-1057, December 22, 2006:
Spirit is healthy and conducting scientific analysis of a rock target
known as "Palma." During the past week, Spirit tested some new software
sequences, including a "watch for dust devil" command and an automatic
placement command.
On the rover's 1052nd Martian day, or sol, of exploring Mars (Dec. 18,
2006), Spirit ran part of the dust devil watch, acquiring six images
during the process, but did not run the dust-devil detection part of
the
program. Rover handlers planned to rerun the test on sol 1058 (Dec. 24,
2006).
On sol 1053 (Dec. 19, 2006), Spirit terminated a test run of a command
sequence for autonomous placement of the rover's robotic arm on a
scientific target. The sequence involved touching a target with the
Moessbauer spectrometer, changing tools to the microscopic imager and
suspending it 10 centimeters (4 inches) above the target, changing
tools
to the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, and placing the
alpha-particle
X-ray spectrometer on the target. Spirit made preparations to run the
test again on a new target on the same day that some Earthlings
celebrate as Christmas Eve.
Sol-by-sol summary:
Sol 1051 (Dec. 17, 2006): Spirit turned to face a rock outcrop known as
"Esperanza," acquired images with the hazard avoidance cameras and a
360-degree panorama with the panoramic camera, and scanned the sky for
clouds with the navigation camera. The rover measured atmospheric dust,
looked at the sky, examined the terrain, and completed a survey of
individual rock grains, known as clasts, using the panoramic camera.
Sol 1052: Spirit conducted step No. 2 of the new capability to watch
for
dust devils and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.
Sol 1053: Spirit acquired microscopic images of Palma, conducted step
No. 2 of the autonomous placement test, monitored dust in the
atmosphere
with the panoramic camera, scanned the sky and ground with the
miniature
thermal emission spectrometer, scanned the sky for clouds with the
navigation camera, and monitored the rover mast for dust accumulation.
Sol 1054: Spirit scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal
emission spectrometer and collected miniature thermal emission
spectrometer data from a ground target known as "Melchior." The rover
continued to measure atmospheric dust opacity and take images of the
sky
with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1055 (Dec. 21, 2006): Because the rover was not stationed at the
appropriate distance from the target for the automatic placement test,
Spirit prepared to run the test with the alpha-particle X-ray
spectrometer a second time, followed by six hours of measurement with
the instrument. Spirit was slated to scan the sky, ground, and a target
known as "Druzhnaya" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer
as well as acquire frames for a dust devil movie.
Sol 1056: Plans called for four hours of analysis of Palma using the
Moessbauer spectrometer, measurements of atmospheric dust with the
panoramic camera, a check for changes over time in the miniature
thermal
emission spectrometer, and a scan of the ground and sky at various
elevations using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit
was
also to acquire panoramic camera and stereo images of a rock nicknamed
"Orcadas."
Sol 1057 (Dec. 23, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to conduct an
additional 3.5 hours of study of Palma using the Moessbauer
spectrometer,
measure atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, check for drift
(changes in time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, scan
the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer,
check the calibration target of the same instrument, and use it to scan
a rock target known as "Gueslaga."
Odometry:
As of sol 1054 (Dec. 20, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,886.80
meters (4.28 miles).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Continues to Look for Entry Point into
'Victoria Crater' - sol 1029-1037, December 22, 2006:
Opportunity is healthy and continues to gather data in search of a
potential future entry point into "Victoria Crater." The rover is
traversing the crater rim near an alcove known as "Bottomless Bay,"
assessing whether it might eventually serve as an entry point, and
collecting images of the crater's interior cliffs.
On Dec. 17, 2006, the rover's 1030th sol, or Martian day on Mars,
Opportunity began testing software to enable autonomous placement of
the
robotic arm and scientific instruments on targets of scientific
interest.
Between sols 1029 (Dec. 16, 2006) and 1034 (Dec. 21, 2006), Opportunity
drove 41 meters (135 feet).
Sol-by-sol summary:
Sol 1029 (Dec. 16, 2006): Opportunity measured atmospheric dust,
acquired navigation camera and panoramic camera images of Bottomless
Bay, scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission
spectrometer, and acquired panoramic images of points of scientific
interest known as "Malua," "Timor" and "Cebu."
Sol 1030: Opportunity measured atmospheric dust, performed step No. 3
of
the autonomous placement sequence for the robotic arm, acquired
forward-looking images following the day's drive, scanned the sky for
clouds with the navigation camera, and surveyed the sky, ground, and
external calibration target using the miniature thermal emission
spectrometer.
Sol 1031: Opportunity measured atmospheric dust, scanned the sky for
clouds, and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal
emission spectrometer.
Sol 1032: Following the day's drive, Opportunity acquired images of the
surrounding area, including rearward-looking views, using the
navigation
camera. Opportunity measured atmospheric dust and surveyed the horizon
with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1033: Opportunity measured atmospheric dust, performed step No. 2
of
the sequence for autonomous placement of the robotic arm, surveyed the
sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and
acquired panoramic camera images looking southwest at Bottomless Bay.
Sol 1034: Following another day's drive, Opportunity acquired
rearward-looking and forward-looking images of surrounding terrain
using
the navigation camera. Opportunity measured atmospheric dust, surveyed
the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer,
and
acquired images of the sky using the panoramic camera.
Sol 1035: Plans call for Opportunity to measure atmospheric dust, use
the rock abrasion tool to brush the surface of a rock target known as
"Rio de Janeiro," and acquire post-brush microscopic images of the
dust-free surface. The rover is then to collect data about the rock
using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, survey the sky at high sun
using the panoramic camera, and scan the sky and ground with the
miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1036: Plans call for Opportunity to measure atmospheric dust and
acquire a full-color, 13-filter mosaic of Rio de Janeiro using the
panoramic camera and to study the outcrop with the Moessbauer
spectrometer. The rover is instructed to scan the sky, ground, and
points of scientific interest known as "Catalonia," "Valencia,"
Andalucia," "Aragon," "Asturia," "Cantabria" and "Basque," as well as
the rover's external calibration target, using the miniature thermal
emission spectrometer.
Sol 1037 (Dec. 24, 2006): Plans call for Opportunity to measure
atmospheric dust and acquire a full-color, 13-filter mosaic of
Bottomless Bay using the panoramic camera. Opportunity is to survey the
sky, ground, external calibration target, and scientific targets
nicknamed "Murcia," "Navarra," "Catalonia" and "Valencia" using the
miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and to scan the sky for
clouds.
Odometry:
As of sol 1034 (Dec. 21, 2006), Opportunity's total odometry was 9,758
meters (6.1 miles).
Reply to
baalke
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Just cross-pollinating again, but reading this, I thought: "Lewis and Clark with GPS and a cellphone..." ;-)
Cheers! Rich
Reply to
Rich Grise

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