[meteorite-list] Mars Exploration Rovers Update - September 4-11, 2008
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2008 15:03:22 -0700 (PDT)
SPIRIT UPDATE: Light Duty for Now - sol 1663-1668, September 05-11, 2008:
Spirit continues to conserve solar power while performing light science
activities during the Martian winter. During the past week, Spirit
studied the atmosphere and acquired two frames of the full-color image
mosaic known as the "Bonestell panorama."
Spirit is healthy and all subsystems are performing as expected as of
the relay of information from NASA's Odyssey orbiter on sol 1666 (Sept.
9, 2008). Solar-array energy and tau -- a measure of atmospheric opacity
caused by suspended dust -- are holding steady at 245 watt-hours (100
watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for
one hour) and 0.20, respectively.
In addition to taking daily measurements of dust-related changes in
atmospheric opacity (tau), Spirit completed the following activities:
Sol 1663 (Sept. 6, 2008): Spirit recharged the batteries.
Sol 1664: Spirit acquired column 18 of the Bonestell panorama, using all
13 color filters of the panoramic camera.
Sol 1665: Spirit recharged the batteries.
Sol 1666: Spirit recharged the batteries.
Sol 1667: Spirit received new instructions from Earth via the rover's
high-gain antenna and relayed data to the UHF antenna on NASA's Odyssey
orbiter to be transmitted to Earth.
Sol 1668 (Sept. 11, 2008): Spirit monitored dust accumulation on the
panoramic-camera mast assembly and acquired column 19 of the Bonestell
As of sol 1666 (Sept. 9, 2008), Spirit's total odometry was 7,528.0
meters (4.7 miles).
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Playing in the Sand - sol 1641-1647,
September 04-11, 2008:
During the past week, Opportunity performed several tests of the robotic
arm to learn how to use it with a disabled shoulder joint. Having
successfully completed those tests, Opportunity is moving on to
investigate some bright patches of dust. Scientists hope to ascertain if
the patches contain material not thoroughly analyzed in the past.
On sol (Martian day) 1641 (Sept. 4, 2008), Opportunity homed in on an
area of sand that appeared to contain a high concentration of dust. For
the next several days, sols 1642-1647 (Sept. 5-11, 2008), the rover
tested the robotic arm's ability to place scientific instruments on
specific targets in the sand. These instruments included the Moessbauer
spectrometer, microscopic imager, and alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.
Tests revealed that the robotic arm placed the instruments in position
with very little error in spite of the disabled shoulder joint. Because
the dust was not pure enough to yield the desired scientific results,
engineers decided on sol 1648 (Sept. 12, 2008) to drive the rover north
to a more promising area of apparent dust patches.
On sol 1644 (Sept. 7, 2009), Opportunity relayed data at UHF frequencies
to NASA's Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter (MRO). Typically, the rover sends
data to NASA's Odyssey orbiter for transmission to Earth. Once a month,
Opportunity is relaying data to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in
preparation for using it more in the future.
Opportunity is healthy, with all subsystems performing as expected as of
the most recent transfer of information from NASA's Odyssey orbiter on
sol 1647 (Sept. 11, 2008). Power rose to 652 watt-hours (enough energy
to light a 100-watt bulb for a tad longer than 6.5 hours).
Each Martian day, or sol, Opportunity measured dust-related changes in
atmospheric clarity with the panoramic camera. In addition, Opportunity
completed the following activities:
Sol 1641 (Sept. 4, 2008): Before driving, Opportunity acquired a 3-by-1
panel of panoramic-camera images looking north. The rover then nudged
toward a bright patch and, after stopping, acquired images of the ground
near its wheels and the area directly ahead with the hazard-avoidance
and navigation cameras, respectively. The rover relayed data to Odyssey.
Sol 1642: In the morning, Opportunity took thumbnail images and spot
images of the sky for calibration purposes with the panoramic camera.
Next, the rover tested movement and placement of the Moessbauer
spectrometer, taking images near the ground with the hazard-avoidance
cameras and images from above with the panoramic camera. Opportunity
then used the Moessbauer spectrometer to acquire compositional data from
a sand dune on the rim of "Victoria Crater." After relaying data to
Odyssey, Opportunity went into a mini-deep sleep.
Sol 1643: Opportunity acquired six, time-lapse movie frames in search of
morning clouds with the navigation camera. Opportunity continued to
acquire data from the sand dune at the rim of Victoria Crater with the
Moessbauer spectrometer. Opportunity took full-color images, using all 13
color filters of the panoramic camera, of the rover's tracks. After
sending data to Odyssey, Opportunity went into a mini-deep sleep.
Sol 1644: Opportunity acquired six, time-lapse movie frames in search of
clouds. The rover continued to collect data from the dune on the rim of
Victoria Crater using the Moessbauer spectrometer. Before communicating
with Odyssey, Opportunity relayed data to the Mars Reconnaissance
Orbiter for transmission to Earth. After sending data to Odyssey, the
rover went into a mini-deep sleep.
Sol 1645: In the morning, Opportunity acquired six, time-lapse movie
frames in search of clouds with the navigation camera. Opportunity
acquired a 1-by-3-by-15 stack of microscopic images of ripple soil. The
rover restarted the Moessbauer spectrometer and began collecting data
from the soil in the ripples. After transmitting data to Odysssey,
Opportunity acquired a 3-by-1 panel of images of a target dubbed
Sol 1646: Opportunity monitored dust accumulation on the
panoramic-camera mast assembly and restarted the Moessbauer spectrometer
for collecting data on the ripple soil. The rover used the miniature
thermal emission spectrometer to complete a mini-survey of the sky and
ground. Before sending data to Odyssey, Opportunity used the
spectrometer to characterize the external calibration target.
Sol 1647 (Sept. 11, 2008): Opportunity acquired more time-lapse, movie
frames to document potential clouds passing overhead. The rover took a
3-by-1 panel of images of Schuchert with the panoramic camera and a
time-lapse movie in search of clouds. Opportunity placed the
alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the ripple soil and, after sending
data to Odyssey, acquired compositional data. Plans for the following
morning called for the rover to study a cobble field, acquiring a 4-by-1
panel of images with the panoramic camera.
As of sol 1647 (Sept. 11, 2008), Opportunity's total odometry was
11,782.10 meters (7.32 miles).
Received on Fri 19 Sep 2008 06:03:22 PM PDT