Status Report

NASA Mars Rovers Status 11 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 15, 2004
Filed under , , ,

Spirit Status for sol 66- Spirit is “Livin’ on the Edge” – posted Mar. 11, 2:30 pm PST

Aerosmith wrote the song “Livin’ on the Edge” long before Spirit reached the edge of Bonneville crater, and probably never imagined it would be the wake-up song for a rover on Mars. But its words are appropriate. After a 21-meter (68.9 feet) drive and an elevation gain of 1.5 meters (4.9 feet), Spirit is in fact at the edge of Bonneville crater.

Spirit began Sol 66, which ended at 1:09 a.m. PST March 11, 2004, by taking a look back at the lander with the panoramic camera, and then analyzing selected ground targets. At about 11:30 a.m. Gusev time, Spirit began a 30-minute directed drive of 16 meters (52.5 feet). It then turned right for a final auto-navigation drive that was intended for 6 meters (19.7 feet), but resulted in about 4 meters (13.1 feet). That drive put Spirit in perfect position to look inside “Bonneville” crater and send back stunning images from the navigation camera.

The camera mast was then positioned for a nighttime sky observation of the Orion Constellation. During NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor pass tomorrow morning, the navigation camera and panoramic camera will take images of the Orion Constellation using long exposure times.

On Sol 67, which will end at 1:48 a.m. PST March 12, 2004, Spirit will drive about 14 meters (46 feet) to a better vantage point on the crater rim and continue to investigate “Bonneville” with the panoramic and navigation cameras.

Opportunity Status for sol 46 – Berry Nice News – posted Mar. 11, 9:30 pm PST

On sol 46, which ended at 1:30 p.m. PST on Thursday, March 11, Opportunity awoke at 9:20 Local Solar Time to two songs in honor of researching the mysterious “blueberries” with the instruments on the robotic arm. The wake-up songs were “Berry Nice News” by Raffi and “Huckling the Berries” by Country Cooking.

Opportunity performed a series of activities including microscopic imaging of the berries and placing the Moessbauer spectrometer on the berries to analyze their chemical composition. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer later made multiple atmospheric observations. After a short nap to conserve energy, Opportunity awoke in the afternoon to perform some additional remote sensing observations and to transmit data to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter.

Later in the evening Local Solar Time, Opportunity collected data with its alpha particle X-ray spectrometer at two locations.

The plan for sol 47, which will end at 2:10 p.m. PST on Friday, March 12 is to continue analyzing the blueberries and the “Berry Bowl.” By early next week, Opportunity will drive to a new area dubbed “Shoemaker’s Patio.”

SpaceRef staff editor.