Status Report

NASA Mars Exploration Rovers Update: October 15-21, 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
October 21, 2009
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NASA Mars Exploration Rovers Update: October 15-21, 2009

SPIRIT UPDATE:  Antenna Back to Normal Use – sols 2056-2062, Oct.  15-21, 2009:

Spirit has recovered from X-band fault and is using her steerable high-gain antenna (HGA) normally.

The clearing of the X-band fault was to occur on Sol 2056 (Oct. 15, 2009), but a Deep Space Network (DSN) station outage at the last minute prevented the commands from reaching the rover.

On Sol 2058 (Oct. 17, 2009), the commands were successfully sent to the rover that cleared the X-band and HGA errors and resumed normal HGA X-band operation. Spirit went on to conduct several days of Moessbauer (MB) spectrometer integration on the surface target “Thoosa” and to search for dust devils with the navigation camera (Navcam).

On Sol 2059 (Oct. 18, 2009), more panoramic camera (Pancam) images of “Scamander Plains” were collected along with miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) observations of the target “Pioneer.” Early in the morning of Sol 2061 (Oct. 20, 2009), the rover woke up to characterize the Tstat box. On that sol, Spirit also collected another 11-frame microscopic imager (MI) mosaic of the underbelly of the rover and set up for more MB integration on Thoosa.

As of Sol 2062 (Oct. 21, 2009), Spirit’s solar-array energy production is 410 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.570 and a dust factor of 0.594. Total odometry remains at 7,729.97 meters (4.80 miles).

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE:  A Meteorite Called ‘Mackinac’ – sols 2036-2042, Oct. 15-21, 2009:

Opportunity surveyed another meteorite and has been driving ambitiously to the west and south to get around a field of large ripples. On Sol 2038 (Oct. 17, 2009), Opportunity circumnavigated a meteorite called “Mackinac,” conducting mid-drive imagery of the rock, then drove away covering about 70 meters (230 feet) to the southwest.

On Sol 2040 (Oct. 19, 2009), the rover drove approximately 72 meters (236 feet) to the southwest. It completed a similar 71-meter (233-foot) drive on the next sol, again to the southwest.

Motor currents in the right-front wheel continue to remain well behaved. The rover commands the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) elevation mirror open each sol in an attempt to clear some of the putative dust off the elevation mirror. To date, no improvement in the Mini-TES has been observed.

As of Sol 2042 (Oct. 21, 2009), Opportunity’s solar-array energy production is 430 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.586 and a dust factor of 0.5575. Total odometry is 18,322.03 meters (11.39 miles).

SpaceRef staff editor.