Status Report

NASA Mars Exploration Rover Updates 17 Feb 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
February 19, 2004
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Spirit Status for sol 44 Spirit Passes 100-Meter Mark February 17, 2004

Spirit controllers are calling sol 44 one of Spirit’s most
complicated and productive sols to date. Before commencing its
record-breaking drive, Spirit began the sol, which ended at 10:38
a.m. February 17, 2004 PST, with an alpha particle x-ray
spectrometer analysis of the soil target Ramp Flats. The
analysis ran in parallel with a miniature thermal emission
spectrometer observation of the martian sky. Spirit then
continued observing "Ramp Flats" with the microscopic imager
and Moessbauer spectrometer while operating the panoramic
camera to get pictures of rocks in the distance called "V Ger" and
"Broken Slate."

But this morning multi-tasking was only the beginning. After
stowing the robotic arm, Spirit began a north-northeast drive
that added a total of 21.6 meters (70.9 feet), bringing the rover’s
grand total to 108 meters (354 feet). That distance is about 6
meters (19.7 feet) more than Sojourner’s mission record, set in
1997. Controllers remarked that Spirit’s auto-navigation drives
are consistently getting faster. These long drives are revealing
new and interesting terrain, including more ridges, dunes, ripples
and rocks with various appearances.

The plan for sol 45, which will end at 11:17 a.m. Feb. 18, 2004
PST, begins with analysis of a target at the current location,
followed by a drive into a hollow between 15 meters (49 feet)
and 18 meters (59 feet) away.

SpaceRef staff editor.