Status Report

NASA Mars Exploration Rover Status 17 June 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
June 18, 2005
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NASA Mars Exploration Rover Status 17 June 2005

SPIRIT UPDATE: Scenic Stop – sol 511-517, June 17, 2005

This week Spirit finished examining an area on the rock “Backstay” that was brushed away with the rock abrasion tool. Using the microscopic imager and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, the rover also looked closely at an undisturbed area on the rock. Spirit then drove away, pulled over to a scenic overlook to take some high-resolution imaging of “Methuselah,” and drove onward. Spirit’s next goal is to drive to the top of the next ridge.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 511 (June 11, 2005): Robotic arm work on Backstay: Post-Brush microscopic images, alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration on brushed spot. Targeted remote sensing.

Sol 512: Robotic arm work on Backstay, microscopic images and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration on un-brushed spot, targeted remote sensing.

Sol 513: Drive towards “Methuselah scenic overlook” (15 meters or 48 feet).

Sol 514: Bump, high-resolution panoramic camera images of Methuselah area, drive on (20 meters or 66 feet).

Sol 515: Driving (18 meters or 59 feet).

Sol 516: More driving (12 meters or 39 feet).

Sol 517: Even more driving planned.

Total Distance as of sol 516 (June 16, 2005): 4,470.26 meters (2.78 miles).

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Examining ‘Purgatory’ – sol 490-496, June 17, 2005:

Opportunity is happy to be moving again and it’s heading back to “Purgatory Dune.” The rover’s wheels dug wonderful trenches during its egress, and the science team is eager to get the robotic arm out and have a look at the soil inside and outside of the tracks. As you can imagine, Opportunity has been driving very carefully, backing away from the dune, turning around and then re-approaching it.

Sol Details:

490: (June 9, 2005) Drive away from Purgatory Dune.

491-493: Over the weekend the rover team had a problem with the uplink. On sol 491 they were loading all files for sols 491, 492 and 493. Due to an error at the Deep Space Network antenna, the sol 492 master file was not loaded. A drive scheduled for 492 did not occur. The 491 master file performed the run out science submaster and then self-recovered on sol 493. The vehicle was never in any danger and autonomously continued its science objectives.

494: First half of turning around. The team must turn the rover around, using a “k-turn” maneuver (a three-point turn that mimics the sideways “v” formation of the letter “k”) to approach the Purgatory Dune with the robotic arm.

496: Second half of the “k-turn.”

SpaceRef staff editor.