Status Report

NASA Mars Rover Update 1 March 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 3, 2004
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SPIRIT UPDATE: Back to the Ol’ Grind – sol 57, Mar 01, 2004

During its 57th sol on Mars, ending at 7:12 PST on March 1, Spirit observed
the area on "Humphrey" that was thrice brushed by the rock abrasion tool.
An area just to the right of the brushed area, where the team intends to
grind, was also examined.

The morning hours found Spirit using its alpha particle X-ray spectrometer
on the intended grinding target to verify its similarity to the pre-brushed
areas of the rock. The arm then switched out tools to the microscopic imager
to get close-up views of the grinding target and the area to the right of it.
The Moessbauer spectrometer was then placed on the brushed area for another

Panoramic camera images were taken of the rock abrasion tool magnets to study
dust accumulation. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer performed a
diurnal characterization on the nearby soil. This allows scientists to look
at the temperature difference from day to night, revealing information about
particle sizes within the soil.

Next sol, the plan calls for Spirit to grind into "Humphrey" and then use
its arsenal of instruments to analyze the interior of the rock.

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Moving On – sol 36, Mar 01, 2004

Opportunity woke up to Sting’s "Rock Steady" on its 36th sol on Mars, which
ended at 6:54 a.m. PST on Monday, March 1. The rover completed an overnight
alpha particle X-ray spectrometer measurement on "Guadalupe," retracted its
arm, placed the Moessbauer spectrometer on the calibration target and then
stowed its arm.

A series of backward drives – away from the "El Capitan" site in the outcrop –
were then conducted.

The rover also got in some remote sensing, including miniature thermal
emission spectrometer observations and panoramic camera imaging of the holes
created by the rock abrasion tool. In addition, the panoramic camera took
images of a crater to the east.

The plan for the next sol involves several short drives in the direction of
the "Last Chance" target in the "Big Bend" area of the outcrop.

SpaceRef staff editor.