Status Report

NASA Mars Rover Status Report 3 May 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
May 6, 2005
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NASA Mars Rover Status Report 3 May 2005

SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Analyzing ‘Keystone’ – sol 462-470, May 03, 2005

Spirit is in excellent health. The rover has spent this week (April 22 to April 30, 2005) studying an outcrop called “Methuselah,” focusing on the “Keystone” rock. Before Spirit drives away next week, it will have analyzed this feature with every tool in the science payload.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 462 (April 22, 2005): Spirit drove 3.8 meters (12.7 feet) to reach a place to stop for the weekend and perform remote sensing.

Sol 463: Spirit performed light remote sensing to save space in the flash memory for the weekend.

Sols 464-466: Spirit took extensive imaging of Methuselah. It used its panoramic camera to shoot frames that will be joined together into a mosaic view. Spirit also took images with its miniature thermal emission spectrometer and made atmosphere observations.

Sol 467: Spirit did a 4.75-meter (16-foot) drive to Keystone, a rock that is part of the Methuselah outcrop. The rover also used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer to examine a target informally called “Abigail.”

Sol 468: Spirit used the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to takes images of Abigail and another target called “Priscilla.”

Sol 469: Spirit took pictures of Keystone with the microscopic imager and performed an overnight alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration on Keystone.

Sol 470: Spirit finished acquiring mosaic pictures of Keystone with the microscopic imager, dusted the target with the rock abrasion tool brush, and performed another overnight alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration.

As of sol 470 (ending on April 30, 2005), Spirit’s odometry total is 4,310.68 meters (2.68 miles).

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Continuing Exit Plan – sol 447-448, May 03, 2005

The Opportunity team continues working with an engineering test rover on Earth to determine the safest way to attempt to drive the rover out of the dune where it’s currently parked on Mars. In the meantime, Opportunity is collecting science data with its instruments and cameras.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 447 (April 27, 2005): Opportunity performed detailed remote sensing to support drive analysis, including images of the left and right tracks taken with the front hazard-avoidance camera, the rear hazard-avoidance camera and the panoramic camera. Opportunity also took panoramic camera images of the rippled dunes.

Sol 448: Opportunity performed additional remote sensing. Opportunity used the panoramic camera to acquire images of the rover’s far tracks, where Opportunity had performed a successful “K-turn” at the start of the drive on sol 446. A “K-turn” is the technique engineers have figured out for safely turning the rover 180 degrees while the right front wheel is stuck in a position of 7 degrees left of straight ahead. To turn 180 degrees, the rover makes smaller arcing movements without cranking the wheels as much as a normal during a 180-degree turn. These movements create a “K” shape in the soil. In addition, Opportunity acquired another panoramic camera image of the right track and a navigation camera image covering 360 degrees of the near deck of the rover.

As of sol 448 (ending on April 28, 2005), Opportunity’s odometry total is 5,346 meters (3.32 miles).

SpaceRef staff editor.