Status Report

NASA Mars Rover Status Report 11 February 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
February 12, 2005
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OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Examining a Trench and Scuff – sol 367-373, February 11, 2005

Opportunity is in good health after more than a year on the martian surface. The rover completed its investigation of a trench and soil materials on sol 373 and is ready for a software patch, which will be uploaded over next few sols. There have been no recent dust storm events, and tau — a measurement of atmospheric opacity — has remained close to 0.9 for the past two weeks.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

For sols 367 and 368, a two-sol plan focused on investigation of a trench that Spirit had dug with its wheels on sol 366. Opportunity awoke on sol 367 at about 7:30 a.m. local solar time after a night in the deep-sleep mode. It made some early-morning photometry measurements, then napped until the morning uplink window from 10:40 to 11:00 a.m. local solar time. After this, the rover acquired microscopic images of the trench wall, performed a short reading with the Mossbauer spectrometer, and then positioned the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer for data collection. After an afternoon communications relay session via Mars Odyssey, the rover slept until the sol 368 morning relay pass, at which time it started the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration. In the morning of sol 368, Opportunity acquired more photometry observations, gathered more microscopic images, performed another short Mossbauer integration, and then positioned the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer for an overnight integration.

On sol 369, Opportunity completed more trench investigations. It gathered additional microscopic images on new targets in the trench, completed another short data-collection session with the Mossbauer spectrometer, and placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer for another overnight integration.

On sol 370, the rover acquired more microscopic images, more Mossbauer data and a variety of remote-sensing observations before using the deep-sleep mode overnight.

On sol 371, after waking from deep sleep, Opportunity restarted the Mossbauer integration. The rover made remote-sensing observations during the middle of the day. Later, it gathered the last microscopic images on the trench, stowed its robotic arm and used its left front wheel to scuff the soil. Opportunity then bumped backwards to put the scuffed area into the arm’s work volume.

On sol 372, Opportunity completed microscopic imaging of the scuffed area, collected Mossbauer data, and switched to the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover did not use the deep sleep mode overnight so that it could perform an overnight reading with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

On sol 373, Opportunity completed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer work and then changed tools back to the Mossbauer for more integration during the day. In the afternoon the rover acquired some final microscopic images of the scuff, used the hazard avoidance camera to inspect wear on the grinding teeth of the rock abrasion tool, and then stowed the arm. Opportunity then bumped back about 1.5 meters (about 5 feet) to position itself for observing the trench with the instruments on the mast. It turned to a heading of 250 degrees to be in good position for four hours of high-gain antenna tracking for receiving an upload of improved flight software. Sol 373 ended on Feb. 10.

SpaceRef staff editor.