Status Report

NASA Mars Exploration Rover Updates 18 Feb 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
February 19, 2004
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Spirit Status for sol 45 – Spirit Does a “Wheel Wiggle” – posted Feb. 18, 10:45 am PST

Spirit began sol 45, ending at 11:17 a.m. February 18, 2004 PST, at its previous target, Halo, by conducting analysis with the alpha particle x-ray spectrometer, microscopic imager and Moessbauer spectrometer. Spirit also took panoramic camera images and miniature thermal emission spectrometer observations before its arm was stowed for the northeast drive toward a circular depression dubbed Laguna Hollow.

The first 19 meters of the drive toward Laguna Hollow was commanded using go-to waypoint commands with the hazard avoidance system turned off. This mode – which was used for the first time this sol – provides automatic heading correction during a blind drive. Some fine-tuning toward the target brought the total drive for this sol to 22.7 meters (74.5 feet).

After reaching Laguna Hollow, Spirit “wiggled” its wheels to disturb or scuff the fine dust-like soil at this location, which allows for more detailed observations with the instruments on the robotic arm. After adjusting position to put the disturbed soil in reach of the arm, Spirit backed up and completed a miniature thermal emission spectrometer scan of the new work area. Before the sol ended, Spirit made one more adjustment, putting it in perfect position to analyze the scuffed area beginning on sol 46

The plan for sol 46, which will end at 11:57 a.m., February 19, 2004 PST, is to conduct observations on Laguna Hollow with the instruments on the robotic arm, including some higher resolution analysis that will involve an overnight tool change.

Opportunity Status for sol 24 – Peering into the Hole – posted Feb. 18, 10:45 am PST

On sol 24, which ended at 10:59 p.m. Tuesday, PST, Opportunity used science instruments on its robotic arm to examine the hole it dug with its right front wheel on sol 23. The trench is about 50 centimeters (20 inches) long by 20 centimeters (8 inches) wide by 10 centimeters (4 inches) deep.

Sol 24’s wake-up music was “Trench Town Rock” by Bob Marley.

The plan for sol 25, which will end at 11:38 p.m. Wednesday, PST, is to continue examining the walls and floor of the trench for clues about the history of Mars. Opportunity will also peek at its right front wheel with the panoramic camera to see what materials got stuck on the wheel from the trenching activity. Then, Opportunity will use the panoramic camera high on the rover’s mast to check out a former piece of itself — the heat shield, which is sitting off in the distance. The heat shield protected the rover during cruise and during descent through the atmosphere on Jan. 4, 2004, PST.

SpaceRef staff editor.