Status Report

NASA Mars Rover Status 15 Jun 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
June 16, 2004
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SPIRIT UPDATE: Are We There Yet? – sol 152-155, June 15, 2004

On sol 152, Spirit continued its journey toward the "Columbia
Hills" and completed an 83-meter (272 feet) drive that brought
its total odometry to 3.2 kilometers (2 miles). After the drive,
the rover completed some remote sensing that brought more
details of the hills into view.

Spirit roved another 70 meters (230 feet) on sol 153, and 49
meters (161 feet) on sol 154. After the drive on sol 154,
Spirit attained a miniature thermal emission spectrometer
scan of the hills that will help scientists identify what
the hills are made of.

As of sol l55, Spirit was roughly 50 meters (164 feet) from
the base of the target location at the Columbia Hills. Spirit
reached this location after a 23-meter (75 feet) drive that
ended with the rover at a maximum tilt of 20 degrees. 20
degrees is well below the safe limit for tilt and was 3 to 4
degrees below the estimated tilt for this traverse.

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Exploring Endurance – sol 134-137, June 15, 2004

Opportunity is becoming accustomed to its new sloped home
inside "Endurance Crater." There are positives and negatives
to the rover’s new position and orientation. The solar array
is oriented toward the northeast, which maximizes solar power
in the morning and also warms the high gain antenna actuator
faster, so heating is no longer required before the morning
communications session. On the downside, the UHF
communications sessions have degraded slightly at this

On sol 134, Opportunity drove 3.9 meters (about 13 feet)
into Endurance Crater, then backed up 1.4 meters (4.6 feet),
remaining inside the crater. Drive slippage and vehicle tilt
was as predicted by the engineering team. An hour’s worth of
remote sensing completed the sol. Opportunity then performed
deep sleep overnight into the morning of sol 135.

On sol 135, Opportunity drove 1.3 meters (4.3 feet) deeper
into Endurance Crater to a position that was about the
deepest point it reached on sol 134. This short drive was
intended to allow for detailed imaging of the first likely
target for the instrument arm, a rock called "Tennessee."
The drive went exactly as planned, leaving Opportunity with
a final tilt of -19.44 degrees and a heading of 62.5 degrees.
The rover then performed almost two hours of remote sensing,
then set up for another night of deep sleep.

Sol 136 was spent performing a series of panoramic camera and
miniature thermal emission spectrometer observations from
sol 135’s final location. The miniature thermal emission
spectrometer performed atmospheric measurements and an
overnight observation during the early morning pass by NASA’s
Mars Odyssey orbiter. Part one of a planned ingress (entry)
survey campaign with the panoramic camera was initiated.

On sol 137, Opportunity approached the rock target referred
to as Tennessee. Opportunity drove 1.19 meters (3.9 feet)
deeper into Endurance Crater, placing Tennessee perfectly
within the instrument arm’s reach. The rover is in position
to perform the first series of arm operations starting on
sol 139. Deep sleep mode was again invoked overnight from
sol 137 to sol 138. The plans for the coming sols include
grinding into Tennessee with the rock abrasion tool and
investigating it with the rover’s spectrometers.

Total odometry after sol 137 is 1,466.16 meters (more than
nine-tenths of a mile)!

SpaceRef staff editor.