Status Report

NASA Mars Rovers Status 24 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 24, 2004
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SPIRIT UPDATE: Sweep and Study the ‘States’ – sol 79, Mar 24, 2004

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit awakened at 9:35 a.m. Mars
Local Solar Time on Sol 79, which ended at 9:43 a.m. PST on March 24.
An early morning review of the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer data
revealed that the instrument’s doors were not fully open and that the
tool did not completely engage at the intended "New York" target on
the rock dubbed "Mazatzal." The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer
integration on "New York" will be repeated on sol 80.

Spirit took a nap until 12:45 Mars Local Solar time to conserve power
for the upcoming grind on Mazatzal on sol 81. Once the rover woke up,
it began the sequences of brushing and analyzing two targets, "New York"
and "Illinois," on Mazatzal. Each target was brushed with the rock
abrasion tool and then imaged with the microscopic imager and panoramic
camera. The entire sequence ended with a Moessbauer spectrometer
integration on the New York target.

Rover controllers plan to let Spirit rest until 4 a.m. Mars Local Solar
time on Sol 80, when the tools on the robotic arm will be changed to
place the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on the brushed New York
target. The rest of sol 80, which will end at 10:23 a.m. on March 25,
will be spent analyzing the brushed and unbrushed areas of Mazatzal
with the instruments on the rover’s robotic arm.

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Back to Bright Material – sol 58, Mar 24, 2004

The song "Come on Home" by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross beckoned
Opportunity back toward its landing site crater to an area of bright
material. The rover also began to image a panoramic mosaic of the
plains on this sol, which ended at 9:25 p.m. PST on March 23.

Over the martian night, Opportunity will again wake up to take
miniature thermal emission spectrometer measurements.

In the coming sols, the rover will use its spectrometers to
investigate the bright material area and then move on to a specific
target in the area dubbed "Bright Spot."

SpaceRef staff editor.