Mars Exploration Rovers Update - November 13, 2006
SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit's 'Arm' Busy Checking New Targets - sol 1013-1016,
November 13, 2006:
After Spirit's successful 0.71-meter (28-inch) bump on sol 1010, the team has new targets in the robotic arm's work volume for the first time in 204 sols. There is some interesting light and dark material within arm's reach and this week the team planned a robotic arm campaign including a microscopic imager mosaic, four hours of alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration and 43 hours of Moessbauer spectrometer integration. Spirit is receiving a little over 320 Watt-hours now and is able to occasionally use the Moessbauer or alpha particle X-ray spectrometer overnight.
Sol-by-sol summary:
Sol 1013 (Nov. 8, 2006): This sol began with the usual engineering block tau (atmospheric clarity) measurement, then a calibration of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer before that instrument was used to stare at the sky and ground. Spirit then used its front hazard avoidance cameras to look at the robotic arm's work volume, then unstowed the arm and took a stereo microscopic image of target "Berkner Island." The rover then placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on Berkner Island and integrated for four hours. Spirit used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer to stare at target "Davis" during the afternoon when NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft passed overhead.
Sol 1014: The rover changed tools to the Moessbauer spectrometer and integrated for 23 hours.
Sol 1015: During the morning of this sol, Spirit conducted dust monitoring of its panoramic camera mast assembly (its neck and head). The rover then restarted the Moessbauer on target Berkner Island for a 10-hour integration. A panoramic camera tau measurement and a miniature thermal emission spectrometer observation of sky and ground were conducted around the Odyssey pass.
Sol 1016: On this sol, Spirit took images with its navigation camera. It then restarted the Moessbauer spectrometer on Berkner Island for a 10-hour integration. Total integration time is 43 hours at this target. The rover then conducted a panoramic camera sky observation.
As of sol 1016 (Nov. 11, 2006), Spirit's odometry is 6,976.89 meters (4.34 miles).
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity on the Move after Solar Conjunction - sol 968-995, November 13, 2006:
Opportunity is healthy and has driven away from the "Cape Verde" promontory for further exploration around the rim of "Victoria Crater." Over the course of the next week, the rover will make its way clockwise around Victoria Crater to the next promontory, "Cape St. Mary." Opportunity will then image the northeast-facing cliff of Cape Verde to characterize lateral changes in layers of the crater wall. Along the way, Opportunity will be using the panoramic camera to scout a safe place to drive into the crater.
During the drive on Sol 992, rover planners performed the first step of the in-flight checkout of one of the rover's new technologies: visual target tracking (VTT). This first checkout included picking a target to track, driving, and testing the rover's knowledge of how its position changed relative to the target. The rover performed this activity as planned. The next step will be to execute a drive to a VTT target.
During the solar conjunction period from sol 970 to sol 984 (Oct. 16 to 30), Opportunity used its panoramic camera to image Victoria Crater from the Cape Verde promontory, collected 3.5 hours of Moessbauer spectrometer data each sol on the hole that the rock abrasion tool drilled at target "Cha," and performed its standard sol-to-sol atmospheric and remote sensing observations. Opportunity collected more than 50 hours of Moessbauer data on Cha.
Sol-by-sol summary:
In addition to Opportunity's daily science observations (checking atmospheric clarity with the panoramic camera, monitoring for clouds with the navigation camera, and observing sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer), the rover performed the following activities:
Sol 968 (Oct. 14, 2006): The rover planning team made room in flash memory for data to be collected during solar conjunction.
Sol 969: More room in the flash memory was freed during this sol.
Sols 970 to 984 (conjunction): The rover took images for a panorama of the view from Cape Verde and conducted Moessbauer spectrometer integration on target Cha.
Sol 985: The rover took images for the Cape Verde panorama.
Sol 986: Opportunity continued to work on the Cape Verde panorama and used the Moessbauer spectrometer on target Cha.
Sol 987: Opportunity retransmitted and deleted data left from solar conjunction.
Sol 988: There was more Moessbauer activity on Cha, use of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and retransmission and deletion of data from conjunction.
Sol 989: Opportunity did more Moessbauer spectrometer observations on Cha and used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 990: Opportunity did more Moessbauer spectrometer observations on Cha and used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 991: On this sol, Opportunity finished acquiring the Cape Verde panoramic image.
Sol 992: The rover drove toward Cape St. Mary and tested its visual target tracking function.
Sol 993: Opportunity took images of the crater with its panoramic camera.
Sol 994: The rover drove toward Cape St. Mary.
Sol 995 (Nov. 11, 2006): Opportunity used its panoramic camera to image the crater.
Opportunity's total odometry as of sol 992 (Nov. 8, 2006) is 9,432 meters (5.86 miles).
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