Status Report

NASA Mars Exploration Rover Update 31 March 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
April 1, 2005
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NASA Mars Exploration Rover Update  31 March 2005

SPIRIT UPDATE: Using Extra Energy to Head Uphill – sol 430-435, March 24, 2005

After a very busy weekend, Spirit packed up the robotic arm and headed away from an area dubbed “Paso Robles.” Spirit should be able to make good progress towards the “Husband Hill” summit in the upcoming sols, using as much of the abundant solar energy as it can. Extra power comes courtesy of an early-March windstorm that blew off year-old dust from Spirit’s electricity-producing solar panels.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

On sol 430 (March 19, 2005), Spirit took readings of a soil target called “Paso Dark” with the M?ssbauer spectrometer, made atmospheric-science observations, shot targeted panoramic camera images and collected miniature thermal emission spectrometer readings. Then the rover performed an overnight alpha particle X-ray spectrometer reading on an area of soil that had a mix of light and dark colors.

On sol 431, Spirit took pictures of the solar panel, some undisturbed soil, and Paso Dark with the microscopic imager. Spirit also took another short reading of Paso Dark using the M?ssbauer spectrometer before stowing the robotic arm. The rover then made a short drive backwards to get in good position for taking images of the area where it had used the instruments on the robotic arm. After taking those images, Spirit resumed its drive toward the summit of Husband Hill, rolling a total of 10 meters (33 feet) for the day. Then it took images from its new location.

On sol 432, Spirit took panoramic camera images of its own deck for a little self portrait and made atmospheric-science observations.

On sol 433, Spirit continued with atmospheric readings, took panoramic camera images of its magnets, and searched for dust devils.

On sol 434, Spirit drove 20 meters (66 feet), did post-drive imaging, and took atmospheric readings.

On sol 435, Spirit did more atmospheric readings and a survey of the ground. As of sol 435 (March 24, 2005), Spirit has driven a total of 4,197.5 meters (2.61 miles).

SpaceRef staff editor.