Status Report

MER 2003/Athena Update Week Ending January 11, 2003

By SpaceRef Editor
January 13, 2003
Filed under , ,
MER 2003/Athena Update Week Ending January 11, 2003

At this stage in a project, it’s all about working out the little
details, making sure we’ll be ready to ship the rovers to the Cape
when the time comes. And there sure are a lot of details! One of the
ones we took care of this week involves our magnet experiment. To do
the magnet experiment when we get to Mars, we’ll use the Pancam
cameras every few days to take a look at the magnets that are mounted
on the rover. Once we see enough martian dust sticking to the
magnets, we’ll look at them with the APXS and the Mössbauer
Spectrometer to find out what the magnetic stuff in the dust is made

It’s simple, but to do that experiment we need to know which
direction to point the cameras so that the magnets will be in the
field of view. It’d be easy to just wait until the rovers on Mars to
figure it out, but time then will be even more precious than it is
now. So we swung the cameras around to where we thought the magnets
ought to be, and took a few pictures. In the first one, we missed! In
the second one we at least managed to get both magnets in the frame
(they’re the two round things on the right side of the picture).
They’re not centered, but it’s good enough for now. We can center
them up better once we get to Mars.

And if you see off-center magnet pictures after we land a year from
now, you’ll know we didn’t have time to make it pretty, and decided
to just go with what we learned this week!

SpaceRef staff editor.