Status Report

NASA Mars Rovers Status 6 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 8, 2004
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Spirit Status for sol 61 – Leaving Middle Ground – posted Mar. 6, 12:00 pm PST

After more than a week of camping and field work at "Middle Ground," NASA’s
Spirit took a few last pictures from there then drove onward to the
northeast on sol 61, which ended at 9:51 p.m. Friday, PST. In the
martian morning, Spirit’s panoramic camera took the final frames needed
for the camera team to assemble a full-circle color panorama after all
the data reaches Earth.

In the early afternoon, Spirit backed up 0.5 meter (20 inches), then edged
forward 0.29 meters (11 inches) to sidestep a rock called "Ingrid." Then
the rover advanced 28.5 meters (94 feet) toward its crater-rim destination.
The drive took 45 minutes. From the new location, Spirit took forward-looking
pictures for use in future drive planning. It also observed the ground and
the sky with its miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

For the sol’s theme tune in the morning, controllers at JPL played
"Motor Away" by Guided by Voices.

Continued driving toward the crater nicknamed "Bonneville" is the plan for
Spirit’s 62nd sol, ending at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, PST.

Opportunity Status for sol 41 – Precision Driving after Mid-Sol Science – posted Mar. 6, 12:00 pm PST

In its 41st sol on Mars, ending at 10:02 a.m. Saturday, PST, NASA’s
Opportunity inspected a rock target called "Wave Ripple" with tools on its
arm, then drove to a new target. The new target, "Flat Rock," is in the
"Slick Rock" area near the south end of the outcrop that the rover has
been examining for weeks.

Although the rover wheels slip some in the local soil and the drive
traversed a slope of 10 to 11 percent, Opportunity and engineers at JPL
navigated the trip so well that a planned final approach to the target on
sol 42 could be cancelled. The target is within the work volume of
Opportunity’s robotic arm. The drive was done in a series of one-meter
(3.3-foot) segments making up a U-shaped path to the south and west. Each
segment included a correction for slippage.

Before starting the drive, Opportunity used its microscope for 50 images
of "Wave Ripple," and examined the composition of the rock with its alpha
proton X-ray spectrometer and its Moessbauer spectrometer.

Rover controllers spun Willie Nelson’s "On the Road Again" as the sol’s
wake-up song, and used a compressed planning schedule as practice for
procedures that might become standard after the 90-sol prime mission.

Plans for sol 42, ending at 10:51 a.m. Sunday, PST, include using the
rock abrasion tool at "Flat Rock."

SpaceRef staff editor.