Status Report

NASA Mars Rover Status Report 11 May 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
May 12, 2005
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SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Checking Out Pittsburgh – sol 471-476, May 11, 2005

After finishing robotic-arm work at a rock called “Keystone” in the “Methuselah” outcrop, Spirit backed off to image the rock with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit then scooted forward and to the left to another Methuselah target, informally called “Pittsburgh” (taking the name from Pennsylvania, the “Keystone State”). The rover executed the drive perfectly, however the left front wheel was not quite in contact with the ground, and was presumably perched on a pebble. Since there was a possibility of slipping off of this pebble during work with the robotic arm, the engineering team reworked the sol’s plan to bump backwards 5 centimeters (2 inches, the shortest planned drive on Mars) and wiggle the wheels. Work using the instruments on the robotic arm commenced the next sol, when the rover was stable once again. For sol 476 (May 6, 2005), the team planned a bump back to image Pittsburgh with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and a drive towards “Jibsheet.” Since Jibsheet is at least a 2-sol drive away, the team planned the drive to a standoff distance to collect panoramic camera images and do robotic arm work on a soil target.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 471 (May 1, 2005): Spirit took pictures of Keystone with its microscopic imager and its panoramic camera after the rock was scrubbed with the brush on the rock abrasion tool. Spirit also took a reading of Keystone with the Mossbauer spectrometer.

Sol 472: Spirit took more Mossbauer spectrometer readings on Keystone.

Sol 473: Spirit stowed the robotic arm, drove a short distance backwards and finished imaging Keystone. Then, Spirit drove to the target dubbed Pittsburgh.

Sol 474: Spirit bumped back 5 centimeters (2 inches) to a stable configuration, and then made coordinated observations with the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 475: Spirit took pictures of Pittsburgh with the microscopic imager both before and after the target area was brushed with the rock abrasion tool. Spirit then took a reading on Pittsburgh with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 476 (May 6, 2005): Spirit stowed the robotic arm, bumped backwards and finished imaging Pittsburgh, then drove toward Jibsheet.

Total odometry as of the end of sol 476 (May 6, 2005) is 4,339 meters (2.70 miles).

SpaceRef staff editor.