Opportunity Digs; Spirit Advances

Guy Webster (818) 354-5011 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Donald Savage (202) 358-1547 NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
News Release: 2004-062 February 17, 2004
Opportunity Digs; Spirit Advances
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has scooped a trench with one of its wheels to reveal what is below the surface of a selected patch of soil.
"Yesterday we dug a nice big hole on Mars," said Jeffrey Biesiadecki, a rover planner at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
The rover alternately pushed soil forward and backward out of the trench with its right front wheel while other wheels held the rover in place. The rover turned slightly between bouts of digging to widen the hole. "We took a patient, gentle approach to digging," Biesiadecki said. The process lasted 22 minutes.
The resulting trench -- the first dug by either Mars Exploration Rover -- is about 50 centimeters (20 inches) long and 10 centimeters (4 inches) deep. "It came out deeper than I expected," said Dr. Rob Sullivan of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., a science-team member who worked closely with engineers to plan the digging.
Two features that caught scientists' attention were the clotty texture of soil in the upper wall of the trench and the brightness of soil on the trench floor, Sullivan said. Researchers look forward to getting more information from observations of the trench planned during the next two or three days using the rover's full set of science instruments.
Opportunity's twin rover, Spirit, drove 21.6 meters closer to its target destination of a crater nicknamed "Bonneville" overnight Monday to Tuesday. It has now rolled a total of 108 meters (354 feet) since leaving its lander 34 days ago, surpassing the total distance driven by the Mars Pathfinder mission's Sojourner rover in 1997.
Spirit has also begun using a transmission rate of 256 kilobits per second, double its previous best, said JPL's Richard Cook. Cook became project manager for the Mars Exploration Rover Project today when the former manager, Peter Theisinger, switched to manage NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project, in development for a 2009 launch.
Spirit's drive toward "Bonneville" is based on expectations that the impact that created the crater "would have overturned the stratigraphy and exposed it for our viewing pleasure," said Dr. Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis, deputy principal investigator for the rovers' science instruments. That stratigraphy, or arrangement of rock layers, could hold clues to the mission's overriding question -- whether the past environment in the region of Mars where Spirit landed was ever persistently wet and possibly suitable for sustaining life.
Both rovers have returned striking new pictures in recent days. Microscope images of soil along Spirit's path reveal smoothly rounded pebbles. Views from both rovers' navigation cameras looking back toward their now-empty landers show the wheel tracks of the rovers' travels since leaving the landers.
Each martian day, or "sol" lasts about 40 minutes longer than an Earth day. Opportunity begins its 25th sol on Mars at 10:59 p.m. Tuesday, PST. Spirit begins its 46th sol on Mars at 11:17 a.m. Wednesday, Pacific Standard Time. The two rovers are halfway around Mars from each other.
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. Images and additional information about the project are available from JPL at
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov
and from Cornell University at
http://athena.cornell.edu/ .
-end-
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I know that you can see for yourself, but:
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/spirit/20040217a/03-ra-3-nose-A 044R1_br.jpg
This picture reveals 'mushed'/'squashed' spheres. That would be loosely aggregated ones, or highly weakened by 'weathering'.
Carsten
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George wrote:

We're talking about raw data, there's nothing to get ready! Why can't we see the data so we can decide for ourselves what's going on? I don't need some government minder telling me what is or is not on mars. I suspect that was the whole point of Thomas's rant.
Before jumping all over nasa for withholding data, does anyone know if the raw data is available on-line?
WTF
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moment
Don't you think that those who have applied for grants to do the research, and those who have actually collected the data have a right to a first crack at it? It will come out in time, but you have to realize that NASA and JPL will not be releasing this data until their own people have a poke at it. That's just the way it works, dude.

No it is not, and not likely will not be for some time. See above. I expect that some limited amount will be released as we go, that is, after NASA and JPL have had a chance to look at it.
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February 18, 2004
WTF wrote:

I've looked everywhere. If it's not right there with the images on NASA's and JPL's website, which it isn't, there is a serious problem. This is a serious problem.
I just sent an email to the FAS to see what their opinion on the subject is, and if there was any previous agreements with the instrument developers, if they would be willing to pursue legal action against NASA and JPL to prevent this from happening to data streams on future international co-operative space missions.
Not only is the lack of timely raw spectroscopy data unfortunate, it's illegal.
Thomas Lee Elifritz http://elifritz.members.atlantic.net
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What law do you think it is violating?
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wrote:

The law according to Thomas Lees ElfDork, of course!
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Thomas Lee Elifritz wrote:

So now you're a lawyer too.
PLONK
--
Greg Crinklaw
Astronomical Software Developer
  Click to see the full signature.
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--------------CC0DF0BE9C4ACE0010AD66A9 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Without near realtime access, the ability to hide information from the public exists.
This is all I could find on the subject as far as nasa's website is concerned, but I did not do an exhaustive search. http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/FOIA /
"This Administration is dedicated to ensuring that the resources entrusted to the federal government are well managed and wisely used. We owe that to the American people."
--Persident George W. Bush "The President's Management Agenda--Fiscal Year 2002"
... from present day expereince, it is a safe bet to assume he means the opposite of what he is actually saying.
WTF
Thomas Lee Elifritz wrote:

--------------CC0DF0BE9C4ACE0010AD66A9 Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
<!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en"> <html> Without near realtime access, the ability to hide information from the public exists. <p>This is all I could find on the subject as far as nasa's website is concerned, but I did not do an exhaustive search. <br><A HREF="http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/FOIA /">http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/FOIA /</A> <p>"This Administration is dedicated to ensuring that the resources entrusted to the federal government are well managed and wisely used. We owe that to the American people." <p>--Persident George W. Bush <br>"The President's Management Agenda--Fiscal Year 2002" <p>... from present day expereince, it is a safe bet to assume he means the opposite of what he is actually saying. <p>WTF <p>Thomas Lee Elifritz wrote: <blockquote TYPE=CITE>February 18, 2004 <p>WTF wrote: <p>> George wrote: <br>> > <br>> > Just for that, you get 50 lashes from a Shuttle unbilical, dork.&nbsp; The <br>> > spectroscopy results will be available when it is ready, and not a moment <br>> > sooner. <br>> <br>> We're talking about raw data, there's nothing to get ready! Why can't we <br>> see the data so we can decide for ourselves what's going on? I don't <br>> need some government minder telling me what is or is not on mars. I <br>> suspect that was the whole point of Thomas's rant. <br>> <br>> Before jumping all over nasa for withholding data, does anyone know if <br>> the raw data is available on-line? <p>I've looked everywhere. If it's not right there with the images on NASA's and <br>JPL's website, which it isn't, there is a serious problem. This is a serious <br>problem. <p>I just sent an email to the FAS to see what their opinion on the subject is, <br>and if there was any previous agreements with the instrument developers, if <br>they would be willing to pursue legal action against NASA and JPL to prevent <br>this from happening to data streams on future international co-operative space <br>missions. <p>Not only is the lack of timely raw spectroscopy data unfortunate, it's illegal. <p>Thomas Lee Elifritz <br><a href="http://elifritz.members.atlantic.net ">http://elifritz.members.atlantic.net </a></blockquote> </html>
--------------CC0DF0BE9C4ACE0010AD66A9--
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WTF wrote:

Oh, this getting precious. The US government hiding info from the citizens? Whatever made you consider that?
giggling Jo
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February 18, 2004
Jo Schaper wrote:

Let's apply scientific methods to the problem, since you appear not to understand them very well. The evidence strongly suggests that NASA/JPL is withholding spectroscopic data from US citizens. NASA's administrator, Sean O'Keefe, is directly responsible for NASA, and he answers directly to the president, and the president is held accountable by his constituency, the US public, and is the executive of the US government. Thus, by simple logical deduction, the US government is withholding spectroscopic information from its citizens. Hopefully, MERgate will bring these bastards down. :-)
Now, is MER spectroscopy a matter of national security? I don't think so. Now, rather than going through all the trouble litigating the matter, and forcing the release of this information through the freedom of information act, I suggest that NASA start posting MER spectroscopy data in a timely fashion on its MER website at : http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov . How hard is that?
Otherwise, I suggest a lawsuit is in order, to prevent this sort of thing from happening in the future.
The American public has a fundamental right to publicly funded science data.
Otherwise, it's just another example of the dumbing down of America.
NASA has already amply demonstrated its incompetence.
The American people can do better than that.
Thomas Lee Elifritz http://elifritz.members.atlantic.net
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On a sunny day (Wed, 18 Feb 2004 23:08:45 GMT) it happened Thomas Lee Elifritz

Look, they found life, its obvious those are mushrooms, the 'hairs' are roots. But this will screw op local religion, local politicians will feel feeble knowing the universe if so vast and full of voters for others, makes them insignificant, in their own eyes, so for this siilence is now the answer.
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February 18, 2004
Jan Panteltje wrote:

I know, it's a real bitch, this thing called life, but it's even worse for these poor geologists here. Now, with this Mars thing, not only is the Earth no longer the center of the geology universe, but now it appears that on a cosmic scale, matter itself is no longer the majority constituent of the universe. An entire university education, Ph.D. thesis, and years of post doc work, under some vain, egotistical asshole, down the drain. That's the way it goes in the wonderful world of physics. You just gotta love it.
Thomas Lee Elifritz http://elifritz.members.atlantic.net .
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Of course it does. And the science team member who have spent years of 60-80 hour weeks to get the damn instruments put together and on to Mars have a right for first crack at the data. . . otherwise where is the incentive for someone in a publish or perish peer-reviewed feld to devote so much of their personal resources to making the best Mars mission they can?
Hubble data has been embargoed for a full year after observation (I think it used to be even longer) ever since it launched. Now, that does not stop earlier release when the folks who won the time OK it, but release happens after a set time period regardless. How come you have not protested this policy? What about every scrap of data produced on every publicly funded telescope, or taken by publicly funded astronomers (or chemists, or physicists or biochemists or zoologists etc...)? None of that is required by law to be made public immediately either, though that intellectual property certainly belongs to the citizens of the U.S. Why should this be any different?
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The problem is two found.
1. The US government does not wont any one to find signs of life any where but earth as it has stated there is no aliens....
2. The US government does not wont any one to know anything it does not wont you to know, or what it thinks you do not need to know.
So free your mind.. demand to know.

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Earthling! GET OFF THIS WAVELENGTH
Thanks for cooporating,
- Intergalactic Dweeb Corp.

With patience of mind comes freedom. Get a clue.
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That's bullshit. NASA in particular would absolutely LOVE to find evidence of life on other planets. In fact, they have been accused of being a bit overzealous in this area, particularly in relation to their findings on martian metor ALH 84001.
Why in the world do you think they are so obsessed with finding water on Mars?
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El Guapo wrote:

So they can split it to provide fuel for a return journey.
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That is one reason. The primary reasona are to determine if life ever existed, or exists, or CAN exist on Mars.
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Actually, I don't think government-funded IP does necessarily belong to the citizens, unfortunately. See, for instance
http://www.ryutu.ncipi.go.jp/seminar_02/pdf/29/a7/ferguson.pdf http://web.mit.edu/tlo/www/commercializingIP.pdf
It doesn't quite seem fair, but I'm not well-enough versed in the policty details to have a informed opinion.
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