Status Report

NASA Mars Exploration Rover Status 17 October 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
October 18, 2005
Filed under , , ,
NASA Mars Exploration Rover Status 17 October 2005

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Wiggles into a Sturdy Workspace – sol 626-633, Oct 17, 2005:

Spirit is healthy and spent the week examining a rock called “Hillary” at the true summit of “Husband Hill.” The first attempt to approach Hillary ended with a small pebble under Spirit’s left front wheel, and the stability of the rover was uncertain. A set of wheel wiggles was performed to stabilize the rover before deployment of the robotic arm. Once the wheel was in good contact with the ground, Spirit began a conservative robotic-arm campaign, started with Moessbauer spectrometer and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integrations.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 626 (Oct. 6, 2005): Spirit began sol 626 on a steep slope, with Hillary in the work area. However, the right front wheel did not look like it was in stable contact with the ground. A set of three wheel wiggles and a final move to steer the wheels against the slip direction reduced Spirit’s overall tilt by two degrees.

After looking at several images, rover meshes and RSVP simulations, the planning team was able to determine that the wheel was in a more stable area than it had been earlier. Rover meshes are three-dimensional terrain maps that are created by rover team members by “gluing” together multiple pieces of data from the hazard-avoidance cameras (up-close images), navigation cameras (middle distance images), and panoramic cameras (far-away images) to give a view of the Martian landscape for multiple tactical purposes. RSVP stands for Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program. The rover planners use this software tool to plan sequences of commands for driving and robotic arm work. It can simulate the sequence, showing a model of the rover superimposed on actual images of the Martian terrain.

Sol 627: Spirit deployed the robotic arm. When the arm is deployed while the rover is on a slope, the degree to which the rover is tilting may change. The team expected a change of less than 0.3 degrees and saw only a 0.005 degree change.

Sol 628: Robotic arm work continued with a Moessbauer spectrometer placement on the first of two targets. Targeted remote sensing was also performed.

Sol 629: Spirit continued Moessbauer spectrometer integration and remote sensing.

Sol 630: Spirit changed tools to the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and made observations with the navigation camera.

Sol 631: Spirit placed the Moessbauer spectrometer on a second target, performed targeted remote sensing and made nighttime observations with the panoramic camera.

Sol 632: Spirit continued the Moessbauer spectrometer integration and remote sensing. The rover also used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer at night.

Sol 633: Spirit took pictures of targets on Hillary using the microscopic imager, performed an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration at night and checked for dust devils.

As of the end of sol 633, (Oct. 13, 2005), Spirit has driven 4,993 meters (3.10 miles).

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Around ‘Erebus’ – sol 606-612, Oct 17, 2005:

Opportunity is continuing to travel westward around “Erebus Crater.”

The rover completed a 26.18-meter (about 86-foot) drive on sol 608 (Oct. 9, 2005) with very little slip. On sol 610, the team planned another drive, but the spacecraft experienced a software reset at about 9:20 a.m., local solar time. That deactivated all sequences and left the spacecraft in automode before the sol 610 master sequence was active. On sol 611, the team sent a recovery sequence to reestablish a master sequence and reinitialize the panoramic camera mast assembly state (the position of the rover’s “head”). The team received confirmation of success. The sol 612 plan included another attempt to do the drive originally planned for sol 610. However, the master sequence for 612 was not received properly by the spacecraft because of bad pointing or weather. So, the run-out plan from sol 611 was executed.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 606 (Oct. 7, 2005): Untargeted remote sensing.

Sol 607: Targeted remote sensing during sol one of a three-sol plan.

Sol 608: Second sol of a three-sol plan. Opportunity drove 26.18 meters (about 86 feet) westward around Erebus Crater, with an average slip of 1.7 percent.

Sol 609: Untargeted remote sensing during the third sol of a three-sol plan.

Sol 610: The team planned a drive of about 21 meters (69 feet), but a software reset Opportunity into automode so the drive was not carried out. The reset was very similar to one on Opportunity’s sol 563. Since the miniature thermal emission spectrometer was the instrument in use during the reset, use of that instrument has been precluded, pending further analysis.

Sol 611: Recovery sol. The master sequence was activated in real time and the panoramic camera mast assembly (the “head” of the rover) position was reinitialized. Data management sequences were run.

Sol 612 (Oct. 13, 2005): Commands included a drive, the one originally planned for sol 610. However, the master sequence for 612 was not received properly by the spacecraft, because of bad pointing or weather, so Opportunity instead executed the run-out sequence from sol 611.

Opportunity’s total odometry, as of completion of the drive on sol 608 (Oct. 9, 2005) is 6,036.06 meters (3.75 miles)

SpaceRef staff editor.