Status Report

Mars Exploration Rover Update – February 7, 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
February 8, 2005
Filed under , , ,

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Encounters ‘Alligator’ – sol 381-388, February 07, 2005

Spirit has completed examination of a rock target called “Alligator,” using every tool on the instrument deployment device (robotic arm). With Spirit’s batteries recharged and atmospheric dust stable again, the rover is in excellent health and ready to approach “Cumberland Ridge,” a crest on “Husband Hill.”

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Having completed close-up observations of the rock named “Peace,” Spirit stowed the robotic arm on sol 381, bumped back 1.2 meters (3.9 feet), imaged Peace, and then drove 17 meters (56 feet) toward the crest of Husband Hill. The amount of electric current drawn by the rear wheels rose higher than normal, most likely due to an 18-degree tilt during the drive. Spirit then performed 30 minutes of post-drive imaging.

On sol 382, Spirit made a 4-meter (13-foot) approach to the next target, informally named “Alligator.” The drive succeeded as planned, putting Alligator perfectly in the workspace for rover-arm operations.

On sols 383 and 384, Spirit performed a couple hours of remote-sensing observations.

On sols 385 and 386, Spirit completed complicated rover-arm operations. During 80 minutes on sol 385, Spirit scoured some side-by-side patches of Alligator’s surface with the wire bristles on the rover’s rock abrasion tool, creating a brush mosaic. Spirit took readings with the Mossbauer spectrometer for 90 minutes, switched tools to the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer for 20 minutes of data-collection with that tool, then switched back to the Mossbauer spectrometer for more observations through 3:00 a.m. Mars local solar time on sol 386. Later on sol 386, Spirit took close-up pictures of the brush mosaic using the microscopic imager. Spirit then stowed the rover arm. The rover moved 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) back away from Alligator, and then performed an hour of post-drive imaging.

Sol 387, which ended on Feb. 3, was a restricted sol because information from the previous sol’s operations could not be available in time for the team to plot further driving. So Spirit spent 2.5 hours performing remote-sensing observations using the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Total odometry as of sol 357 is 4,070 meters (2.53 miles).

SpaceRef staff editor.