Status Report

NASA Mars Rovers Status 23 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 23, 2004
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SPIRIT UPDATE: Preparing to Grind at Mazatzal – sol 78, Mar 23, 2004

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit woke up at 7:24 a.m. Mars Local
Solar time on sol 78, which ended at 9:04 a.m. on March 23, 2004,
and began a day of observations in preparation for the sol 79 grind
on the rock called "Mazatzal."

After waking, Spirit warmed-up the mast actuators for some early
morning soil and atmosphere miniature thermal emission spectrometer
observations. It then went back to sleep before beginning the morning
direct-to-earth communication session with the high gain antenna.

At 10:00 a.m. Mars Local Solar time, Spirit began analyzing the soil
targets "Saber" and "Sandbox" with the mini thermal emission
spectrometer. It also took panoramic camera images of "Skull" and
Saber. Then it was time to unfold the instrument arm to capture
microscopic imager images of three targets on Mazatzal: "Arizona,"
"Illinois," and "New York." The New York target was further analyzed
with a 17-hour Moessbauer spectrometer integration.

While the Moessbauer was integrating, Spirit proceeded to execute
several mini thermal emission spectrometer and panoramic camera
observations of interesting features in the surrounding area. The
observations included images of "Bonneville" crater, "Saber," "Sandbox"
and "Orange Beach."

Spirit had completed all these activities by 2:40 p.m. Mars Local
Solar time and then took a siesta until the afternoon Odyssey UHF pass.
During that pass, the rover captured mini thermal emission spectrometer
ground and sky images. Before shutting down at 5 p.m. Mars Local Solar
time, Spirit positioned the panoramic camera for a nighttime observation
of the moon Deimos.

Sol 79, which ends at 9:43 a.m. on March 24, 2004, will be a momentous
day for Spirit’s rock abrasion tool; it will complete brushings on two
Mazatzal targets.

SpaceRef staff editor.