Status Report

NASA Mars Exploration Rover Update 30 August 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
September 1, 2005
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NASA Mars Exploration Rover Update 30 August 2005

SPIRIT UPDATE: On Top of the Hill – sol 579-584, Aug 30, 2005:

After 581 sols and 4,810 meters (2.99 miles), Spirit reached the crest of “Husband Hill.”

The top of the hill is moderately flat and fairly easy to navigate. Even though sol 581 (Aug. 21, 2005) marked a major accomplishment for Spirit, the “little rover that could” had no time to rest. On sol 582, the team commanded the rover to drive to a better location for taking images in all directions. This spot was about 20 meters (66 feet) along the crest, and it was from this location that Spirit started acquiring frames with the panoramic camera for a 360-degree, full-color, panorama.

The panoramic imaging will take about 12 hours to complete. In Mars time this means about four sols. On sols 583, 584 and 585, Spirit will image the martian landscape, and the team will wait until sol 586 to image the rover equipment deck.

Since Spirit will be in the same location for a while, Spirit placed its robotic arm onto an undisturbed soil target and started a long Moessbauer spectrometer integration on sol 584.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Spirit was in restricted sols during sols 570 to 581. (Restricted sols occur when the timing of the communications pass from the Odyssey orbiter is too late in the day to gather vital location and health information about the rover after it executed recent commands. The team back on Earth must wait until the next sol to find out where and how the rover is.)

Sol 579 (Aug. 19, 2005): Spirit performed remote sensing operations.

Sol 580: Spirit performed more remote sensing operations.

Sol 581: Spirit drove toward the summit.

Sol 582: Spirit drove to a better location to take the panoramic camera images.

Sol 583: Spirit turned to get the antenna well-placed for communications with the Odyssey orbiter. The rover took images with the panoramic camera.

Sol 584: Spirit continued taking images with the panoramic camera for a complete 360-degree panoramic image. The rover placed the Moessbauer spectrometer on a target.

As of the end of sol 584, (Aug. 24, 2005), Spirit had driven 4,827 meters (3.00 miles).

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Recovering from a Reset – sol 560-565, Aug 30, 2005:

On sol 560 (Aug. 21, 2005), Opportunity retracted the Moessbauer spectrometer from a rock target called “Lemon Rind” that had been brushed earlier with the rock abrasion tool. The rover then used the grinding bit of the abrasion tool to reveal a patch of Lemon Rind’s interior and used the microscopic imager to inspect the abraded area. On sol 561, Opportunity stowed its robotic arm and backed up 85 centimeters (2.8 feet) for a view of the target. The rover drove about 7 meters (23 feet) on sol 562.

Early in the morning of sol 563 (Aug. 21, 2005), Opportunity experienced a software reset. The rover shut down after the reset and woke up in what is called automode. While in automode, Opportunity responded as expected to planned communication sessions. The sol plan for sol 563 was not executed. The plan for sol 564 was executed, returning diagnostic data for further analysis into the cause of the reset and returning Opportunity to master sequence control. The plan for sol 565 included observations with the navigation camera and panoramic camera, but not with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The observations were completed successfully. Engineers believe Opportunity is in good health, although the team will refrain from using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer pending further analysis of the software reset.

Opportunity’s total odometry as of sol 565 (Aug. 26, 2005) is 5,737 meters (3.56 miles).

SpaceRef staff editor.