Status Report

NASA Mars Rovers Status 13 Apr 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
April 13, 2004
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SPIRIT UPDATE: Refreshed and Ready to Rock and Rove – sol 98, Apr 13, 2004

On Sol 98, which ended at 10:36 p.m. PST on April 12, Spirit
woke up to the song "Where Is My Mind?" by The Pixies in honor
of its software transplant. The good news is that Spirit’s
"mind" is updated and operating as expected.

Controllers gave the go to reboot the rover’s computer, which
would then run the new software during the morning of sol 98.
The command was sent, and a little over a half hour later,
engineers saw the carrier beep that indicated that the command
was received. Spirit went to sleep for several minutes after
that, and then woke up, rebooting into the new software. It
then initiated a high-gain antenna session at 12:30 p.m. Mars
Local Solar time, and engineers saw that the new version of
the rover software was running properly.

After confirmation that the new software was running as
expected, engineers ran some clean-up activities and breathed
a sigh of satisfaction.

The new software provides several improvements. It enhances
the rovers’ mobility, and should allow Spirit to go much
farther each sol by reducing how often it has to take images
and generate new three-dimensional maps. A deep-sleep mode
has been added, mainly to resolve the heater that is stuck
in the "on" position on the Opportunity rover. However,
someday Spirit may find a use for this mode as well. The
new software also mitigates the memory problem Spirit had
on sol 18, and seems to be making a difference already.
Spirit’s unallocated memory jumped from 2.0 megabytes to
3.3 megabytes after the new software compacted the flash
directories when it booted.

It’s back to regular operations for Spirit on sol 99, ending
at 11:15 p.m. PST on April 13, brushing a six-spot mosaic
on the rock target "Route 66." Spirit will then take
microscopic imager images and spectrometer measurements
before the sol is complete.

SpaceRef staff editor.