Status Report

NASA Mars Rovers Status Report 26 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 26, 2004
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SPIRIT UPDATE: Rats in "New York" – sol 81, Mar 26, 2004

Spirit began sol 81, which ended at 11:02 a.m. PST on March 26,
2004, by stopping the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer
integration and then imaging the instrument’s placement with
the hazard avoidance camera. The rest of this sol was all
about grinding into the target "New York" on the rock named

The rock abrasion tool operated on the New York target for
three hours and forty-five minutes and created an impression
in the rock that was 3.79 millimeters (.15 inches) deep.
The angular shape of Mazatzal and the fact that the rock is
a little harder than previously abraded rocks allowed the
more flat side of the circular target to receive a more
intense grind. On sol 83, the science and engineering teams
plan to again place Spirit’s rock abrasion tool onto the rock,
overlapping the already abraded area and reaching the area
just to the left.

Spirit will spend most of sol 82, which will end at 11:42 a.m.
PST on March 27, 2004, analyzing the rock abrasion tool
impression with the microscopic imager, Mˆssbauer
spectrometer and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover
will also place the microscopic imager over a clean surface
to the upper left of the ratted area and take some images.

The wake-up song today was "Boy from New York City" by The
Manhattan Transfer, in honor of the grind on the New York

Spirit’s odometer now reads: 492 meters – more than a quarter
of a mile!

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity and ‘The Lion King’ – sol 60, Mar 26, 2004

On sol 60, which ended at 10:44 p.m. PST on March 25, NASA’s
Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity had a quiet day continuing
its research around the exterior of Eagle Crater.

Opportunity changed tools from the Moessbauer spectrometer to
the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer around 11:30 Local Solar
Time. In addition to the tool change, Opportunity’s panoramic
camera took a comprehensive color high-resolution panorama.
The rover team dubbed it the "Lion King Panorama" because
it is a look around Opportunity’s domain from a high vantage
point — much like the view from "Pride Rock" in "The Lion
King" movie. The large panorama essentially filled the
remaining flash memory volume onboard the spacecraft,
requiring a plan for sol 61 that minimizes data collection.
The miniature thermal emission spectrometer also collected
remote sensing data.

The wake up song for sol 60 was "The Circle of Life" by Elton
John in honor of the Lion King panorama.

The plan for sol 61, which will end at 11:23 p.m. on March 26
PST, is to drive north to an area with dark material.

SpaceRef staff editor.