Mars Exploration Rovers Update - February 1, 2007

http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/status.html
SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Examines Churned-Up Martian Soil - sol 1091-1096,
February 01, 2007:
Spirit is healthy and continues to scan the Martian terrain for the dust devils of spring. The rover has completed its scientific studies of a layered rock exposure known as "Montalva" on an outcrop called "Troll."
The rover is now en route toward a patch of bright soil churned up by the rover's wheels in March 2007. Known as "Tyrone," the patch of bright material, white and yellow in color, is possibly analogous to salty soils discovered by the rover earlier in the mission. Scientists plan to have the rover conduct remote sensing from a distance of about 10 meters (33 feet) in order to avoid getting mired in the sand. The rover will use its scientific instruments to get a better look at the soil exposure and determine whether it contains sulfates.
Spirit acquired movies with the navigation camera in search of dust devils on the rover's 1091st, 1093rd, and 1095th sols, or Martian days (Jan. 27, Jan. 29, and Jan. 31, 2007). The risk of dust storms is predicted to increase through mid-October 2007.
The rover drove 12 meters (39 feet) between sols 1092 (Jan. 28, 2007) and 1094 (Jan. 30, 2007).
Sol-by-sol summary:
In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:
Sol 1091 (Jan. 27, 2006): Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a rock target known as "Zucchelli" as well as images for building a digital elevation model of the terrain between the rover and a rock of vesicular basalt known as "Esperanza." Spirit acquired movie frames with the navigation camera in search of dust devils and used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to acquire data on rock targets known as "Troll 1," "Macquarie," and "Troll 2."
Sol 1092: Spirit acquired navigation camera images following the day's drive and panoramic camera images of the sky for calibration purposes.
Sol 1093: Spirit acquired movie frames with the navigation camera in search of dust devils and navigation camera images in support of observations to be made with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit scanned the foreground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, monitored for dust on the rover mast with the panoramic camera, and conducted a survey of rock clasts with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1094: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a rock target called "Druzhnaya," drove closer to Tyrone, and acquired post-drive images of the rover's surroundings using the navigation camera.
Sol 1095: Spirit acquired data on Tyrone using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, acquired movie frames with the navigation camera in search of dust devils, acquired data on a rock outcrop known as "Oberth," and acquired full-color images of Tyrone using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.
Sol 1096 (Feb. 1, 2007): Spirit "bumped," or rolled a short distance, toward a scientific target to be examined with instruments on the rover arm, acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera, scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, and acquired thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.
Odometry:
As of sol 1094 (Jan. 30, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,915 meters (4.3 miles).
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OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Hones Reckoning Skills, Tests Computer Smarts - sol 1063-1069, January 27, 2007:
After driving around the "Bay of Toil" onto "Cape Desire," a promontory overlooking "Victoria Crater," Opportunity began testing various techniques for visually determining the rover's precise location after moving across sandy, somewhat slippery terrain. Because the sandy surface is largely flat and featureless (except for the dropoff into "Victoria Crater"), the rover's primary reference points are the long rows of repeating ridges and holes in its own tracks. They all look pretty much the same, repeating the same pattern every 80 centimeters (2.6 feet). The rover is working on ways to make its tracks look different at every step, which will remove any ambiguities in the images of the tracks.
Opportunity continued to test new computer smarts to enable automated placement of instruments on a target of scientific interest.
Sol-by-sol summary:
In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, searching for clouds with the navigation camera, surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and imaging the sky with the panoramic camera, Opportunity completed the following activities:
Sol 1063 (Jan. 19, 2007): Opportunity measured atmospheric argon with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and acquired part of a panoramic postcard of Victoria Crater using the panoramic camera. Opportunity surveyed rock targets known as "Gomes," "Gomes Background" (the surface area around Gomes), "Santandres," "Deseado," "Narrows," "Sardines," and "Trabajo" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1064: Opportunity drove 4.21 meters (13.8 feet) around the Bay of Toil toward Cape Desire. The drive included a test to allow the rover to make unique track patterns for better determination of its position. The drive test had two legs: one in which the rover dragged the right front wheel for 5 centimeters (2 inches) and then drove on all 6 wheels for 55 centimeters (1.8 feet), and a second in which the rover drove 60 centimeters (24 inches) and then spun both front wheels 23 degrees, or approximately 5 centimeters (2 inches).
Sol 1065: Opportunity acquired a full-color image using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera of the foreground area, then surveyed the foreground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover monitored dust on the mast and acquired panoramic camera images of the sky at sunset.
Sol 1066: Opportunity drove 25.38 meters (83.27 feet) away from the rim of Victoria Crater to continue testing and determining the best method for visual odometry -- determining the precise position by imaging the rover's tracks. The rover did a series of 5 tests, each covering 5 centimeters (2 inches) and each designed to produce a different pattern in the tracks. All of the driving was backward. During the first test, the rover created scuffs with both front wheels. During the second test, the rover wiggled the left wheel and scuffed with the right wheel. The third test was a "drunken sailor" test in which the rover drove in small curves. During the fourth test, the rover turned in place 10 degrees at specific intervals, or "steps." The fifth test was a combination of the previous four tests.
Sol 1067: Opportunity drove 40.43 meters (132.6 feet) to set up for the approach to the edge of Cape Desire. The rover acquired panoramic camera images of "Guam," a chevron-shaped rock outcrop.
Sol 1068: Opportunity drove backward 7.8 meters (26 feet) toward the tip of Cape Desire.
Sol 1069 (Jan. 26, 2007): Plans called for Opportunity to drive a short distance of 7 meters (23 feet) to an imaging position about 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) away from the left edge of Cape Desire. From this vantage point, Opportunity was to acquire images of "Bahia Blanca," the next bay to the north. The rover was also slated to survey the horizon with the panoramic camera and complete Step 4 of the automatic placement test, the first attempt at actually reaching and touching a target autonomously. During the test, the rover was to acquire images with the hazard avoidance camera, swing back the robotic arm, touch the target with the Moessbauer spectrometer, and acquire microscopic images.
Odometry:
As of sol 1068 (Jan. 25, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was 9,918 meters (6.2 miles).
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