Mars Exploration Rovers Update - January 2, 2007
SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Rests During Dust Storm - sol 1058-1062, January 02, 2007:
A sudden dust storm cut short Spirit's investigation of a volcanic rock and kicked enough dust into the Martian atmosphere to drive solar power levels to an all-time low. Spirit's team of scientists and engineers decided to move the rover to a spot where the solar panels would be tilted toward the sun to increase the amount of electrical power available.
The southern hemisphere dust storm lowered power levels to 267 watt-hours on Spirit's 1,061st sol, or Martian day, of exploring Mars (Dec. 27, 2006). Spirit had been using its Moessbauer spectrometer to analyze the mineral composition of a rock nicknamed "Esperanza," a piece of lava full of tiny holes and known as vesicular basalt. Due to concern about low power, the team prepared to drive Spirit to a north-tilted spot on the way toward a new target, a layered outcrop known as "Troll."
Spirit spent the New Year's weekend in one place, monitoring dust and actually resting on a holiday.
Sol-by-sol summary:
Sol 1058 (Dec. 24, 2006): Spirit completed 4 hours and 42 minutes of analysis of a target known as "Palma" on the rock Esperanza using the Moessbauer spectrometer. The rover tested Step No. 2 of a software program to watch for dust devils and studied a target known as "Boudouin" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1059: Spirit spent an additional 3 hours and 48 minutes collecting information about Palma with the Moessbauer spectrometer, scanned rock outcrops known as "Gurruchaga" and "Oberth" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired super-resolution images of a rock target known as "Molodezhnaya."
Sol 1060: Spirit acquired an additional 4 hours and 47 minutes worth of Moessbauer spectrometer data from Palma and surveyed the Martian horizon with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1061: Spirit completed 3.5 hours of Moessbauer spectrometer analysis of Palma, bringing the total number of hours spent collecting data about the rock to 25. Spirit then acquired data from a rock target known as "Scott_Base" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and acquired a full-color image of a soil target known as "Tyrone" using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.
Sol 1062 (Dec. 28, 2006): The team prepared to send Spirit driving about 4 meters (13 feet) to a shallow slope selected because it would tilt the rover's solar arrays toward the sun, which was still fairly low above the northern horizon and dimmed by atmospheric dust.
On sol 1062 (Dec. 28, 2006), Spirit's total odometry reached 6,891.34 meters (4.28 miles).
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Continues Survey from Rim of 'Victoria Crater' - sol 1038-1042, January 02, 2007:
Opportunity remains healthy after completing a drive to a cobble nicknamed "Santa Catarina" on the way to the "Bay of Toil" at "Victoria Crater." During the holiday break on Earth, Opportunity completed a campaign of scientific study of a rock target called "Rio De Janeiro" before driving away on Sol 1039 (Dec. 26, 2006). Opportunity's next activity was to begin the drive around the Bay of Toil toward "Cape Desire," the next promontory clockwise around Victoria's rim.
Sol-by-sol summary:
Sol 1038 (Dec. 25, 2006): Opportunity acquired data from Rio de Janeiro using the Moessbauer spectrometer, acquired images of cobbles in the vicinity using the panoramic camera, and monitored the rover mast for dust accumulation.
Sol 1039: Opportunity drove about 20 meters (66 feet) to the east toward the Bay of Toil.
Sol 1040: Opportunity studied the Martian atmosphere using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and scanned the sky with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1041: Opportunity drove approximately 10 meters (33 feet) east to Santa Catarina, then updated measurements of the rover's current position.
Sol 1042 (Dec. 29, 2006): Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images and miniature thermal emission spectrometer scans of the area immediately in front of the rover and then surveyed a broader portion of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
As of sol 1042 (Dec. 29, 2006), Opportunity's total odometry was 9,793 meters (6.09 miles).
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