[meteorite-list] Mars Exploration Rover Update - July 7, 2004

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed Jul 7 20:28:32 2004
Message-ID: <200407080028.RAA06495_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Tests its Mettle on Slopes of 'Endurance
Crater' - sol 154-158, July 07, 2004

Sol 154 consisted of Opportunity completing activities on the target
"Kettlestone," including a long M?ssbauer integration, some microscopic
images and placement of the arm for a little early morning alpha
particle X-ray spectrometer integration to occur on the morning of Sol
155. The rover then went to sleep.

Sol 155 began with an early morning Mars Odyssey UHF relay of about 60
megabits of data, followed by a completion of the alpha particle X-ray
spectrometer integration on Kettlestone. The rover then performed a
calibration activity with the arm, consisiting of moving the arm into
about 20 different poses and imaging each pose with the front
hazard-avoidance cameras. From the stereo images and the reported
position of the arm, the rover team will be able to update models and
better target the instruments onto surface features in the future. Some
miniature thermal emission spectrometer activity was conducted midday,
and then the rover drove backwards about 1 meter (3.3 feet). The drive
backwards served two purposes: first, it positioned the rover to image
the most recent rock abrasion tool holes with the panoramic camera and
miniature thermal emission spectrometer; secondly, it gave the team an
opportunity to evaluate driving back up over the "curb" that was
considered so difficult before traversing on sol 150. The drive back up
over the curb went very well. Slip was estimated at around 11 percent,
admirable for such a traverse.

On sol 156, due to an incorrect time conversion, the rover team failed
to get the intended command load to the spacecraft at the right time. As
a result, the spacecraft executed a backup set of minimal activities and
returned about 80 megabits of data through Odyssey in the afternoon.

On sol 157 the rover acquired some images of the rock abrasion tool
holes from previous sols. Then it drove down the hill to approach the
next target. It drove beautifully and achieved its goal location.
However, due to the large slopes (final rover tilt was 28.6 degrees),
Opportunity ended the drive with the right rear wheel apparently
slightly above the terrain (not touching anything). Even in this state
the rover appears to be stable, but the team will likely take action on
the next sol to get the suspension squared up (six wheels touching)
before proceeding with preparations to grind with the rock abrasion tool
again. On the night of sol 157 to 158 the rover gave up deep sleep in
order to preserve an exceptional morning Odyssey pass.

The very early morning of sol 158, the rover woke up to chat with the
Odyssey spacecraft and returned over 100 megabits of data! The rover
then started the day's activities early with an attempt to image clouds
around 8:30 in the morning. It then went back to sleep until about
10:30. After the morning uplink, it acquired some microscopic images of
the new target area, then stowed its arm to allow a small mobility
maneuver to get all six wheels squarely planted on the ground. This
seemed to go as planned and reduced the total tilt of the vehicle to
only 26.4 degrees, but did not appreciably change its position. This
left the rover, as desired, in position to perform science
investigations on the next targets of interest.
Received on Wed 07 Jul 2004 08:28:27 PM PDT

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