Status Report

NASA Mars Rovers Status 17 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 19, 2004
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SPIRIT UPDATE: Spirit Digs with a Jig – sol 72, Mar 17, 2004

Sol 72, which ended at 5:06 a.m. PST on March 17, was a day full of digging
for NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit. Spirit began the day taking
panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer observations
of the drift dubbed "Serpent" before creating the "scuff" that would reveal
the inside material at this location.

Then it was time to get into position. The rover drove about two-and-a-half
meters (8.2 feet) to put the left front wheel up onto the drift. It then
turned right and left five degrees to dig the left front wheel into the
drift. When the "shimmy" was complete, Spirit backed 10 centimeters
(3.9 inches) out of the hole. The digging and backing process was repeated
four times to thoroughly scuff Serpent’s side. Then Spirit backed up
another meter (3.28 feet) to attain miniature thermal emission
spectrometer, panoramic camera and navigation camera observations of
the scuffed area. These observations will aid in in-situ target
selection. To prepare for the upcoming in-situ work, Spirit drove
forward 0.4 meters (1.3 feet) for additional imaging, and then drove
forward a final 0.45 meters (1.5 feet) to put the scuff in the arm
work volume.

Spirit spent the rest of the day obtaining navigation camera and
panoramic camera observations of the intended drive direction around
part of the crater rim. Spirit will do some work overnight, taking
miniature thermal emission spectrometer thermal inertia and atmosphere

On sol 73, which will end at 5:46 a.m. PST on March 18, Spirit will
conduct extensive microscopic imaging of sections of the drift, and
run an overnight Moessbauer and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer

SpaceRef staff editor.