Status Report

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Underbelly Photography – sols 1920-1926, May 28 – June 03, 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
July 5, 2009
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Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Underbelly Photography – sols 1920-1926, May 28 – June 03, 2009

Although Spirit has yet to begin to extricate herself from the loose, soft terrain on the west side of Home Plate, the rover has been active using her instruments to assess her embedded state.

This week the robotic arm (Instrument Deployment Device, IDD) with the Microscopic Imager (MI) were used to take a mosaic of images of the rover’s underbelly. The MI, a short focus camera, was never designed to take these types of long-focus images. This technique was first tested by Opportunity and the test demonstrated that although the images will not be sharply focused, sufficient detail can be seen.

Spirit’s first MI mosaic of the underbelly was collected on Sol 1922 (May 30, 2009). The IDD then positioned the MI to collect a stack of images of a science soil target and placed the Mössbauer (MB) spectrometer on the science target for a multi-sol integration. Spirit collected a second underbelly image mosaic on Sol 1925 (June 2, 2009). This time the IDD extended further under the rover to capture more detail. The IDD then collected another MI stack of images of a science target followed by the placement of the Alpha-Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) on the same target. Frames of a 360-degree color panorama, called the Calypso panorama, were collected. Targeted observations were made with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

The project was successful in restoring files to a computer server so that the surface system testbed (SSTB) rover at JPL could be operated. Soil simulant tests with the SSTB were performed on “Bag House” dust simulant. Unfortunately, the test results show that the Bag House dust is not suitable as a simulant for Spirit’s situation. A new simulant is being formulated and will be tested shortly.

As of Sol 1926, solar array energy production was generous at 884 watt-hours with atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.458 and a dust factor of 0.772. Spirit’s total odometry remains at 7,729.93 meters (4.80 miles).

SpaceRef staff editor.