Status Report

MER 2003/Athena Update Week Ending August 2, 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
August 6, 2003
Filed under , , ,
MER 2003/Athena Update Week Ending August 2, 2003

We’ve now completed checking out the science payload on Opportunity,
so both rovers are done now. On Opportunity, all of the instruments
look good. If each one operates on Mars exactly the way it’s
operating in space today, we’ll get beautiful data from each and
every one of them.

On Spirit, we’re still dealing with a problem with the Moessbauer
spectrometer. We had thought that maybe the reason the Spirit
Moessbauer data that we took a couple of weeks ago looked funny was
simply that the instrument didn’t behave the same way in zero-g that
it does on Earth. We know now that that’s not the case, since we
just learned that the instrument on Opportunity is working just the
way it did back on Earth. So something else is going on.

If we had to use the Spirit Moessbauer on Mars just like the way
it’s behaving now, we’d get science data that’s not perfect but
that’s still useable. We think that we may be able to improve the
situation by reprogramming the way the instrument operates a bit. So
that’s something that we’ll be looking at very hard in the coming
weeks and months. We’ve got five months to get this worked out, and
we’re going to take our time with it.

So: The bottom line is that out of our ten science instruments on
the two rovers, nine are working well and the other one is going to
keep us busy for awhile.

SpaceRef staff editor.