Status Report

NASA Mars Exploration Rover Spirit Status: 24 February 2006

By SpaceRef Editor
March 1, 2006
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NASA Mars Exploration Rover Spirit Status: 24 February 2006

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Races Against Time and Dwindling Sunlight – sol 758-763, Feb 24, 2006:

In a race to collect as much scientific data as possible before the onset of Martian winter, Spirit climbed to the top of “Home Plate” and acquired images of the surrounding terrain. Each day, Spirit logs a reduction in the total amount of solar energy collected as the sun sinks lower on the planet’s northern horizon.

The science team’s objective is to do as much science as possible while concentrating on a drive campaign that will move the rover to the north-facing slopes of “McCool Hill.” The team has already begun mapping routes to McCool, where Spirit will attempt to survive a second Martian winter with its solar panels tilted toward the sun.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 758 (Feb. 19, 2006): Spirit conducted targeted remote sensing and acquired 13-filter images of a target dubbed “Wilmington,” as well as mosaics of the surrounding terrain, with the panoramic camera.

Sol 759: Spirit edged closer to a rock nicknamed “James ‘Cool Papa’ Bell.”

Sol 760: Spirit acquired images of its work area with the navigation and panoramic cameras. The rover also conducted atmospheric observations.

Sol 761: Spirit used the microscopic imager to acquire images of a rock target called “Stars.” Then the rover brushed that target with the rock abrasion tool and examined it again with the microscopic imager after the brushing. Spirit then began checking the mineral composition of the Stars target with the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 762 (Feb. 23): Spirit continued the Mössbauer study of Stars. Following an overhead pass of the Odyssey orbiter, Spirit began an analysis of Stars with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. Scientists planned to have the rover continue collecting scientific data over the weekend from another target, nicknamed “Crawfords.”

As of sol 762 (Feb. 23, 2006), Spirit’s total odometry was 6,589.83 meters (4.09 miles).

SpaceRef staff editor.