Status Report

NASA Mars Rovers Status Report 29 Apr 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
April 30, 2004
Filed under , , ,
NASA Mars Rovers Status Report 29 Apr 2004
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SPIRIT UPDATE: A Drive and a Dig – sol 112-113, Apr 29, 2004

Spirit took it easy the morning of sol 112, which ended at
8:30 a. m. PDT on April 27, and didn’t begin operations
until 11:45 a.m. Mars Local Solar time, to conserve energy
for an afternoon drive. Before taking off, Spirit gathered
some soil and atmospheric observations with the mini
thermal emission spectrometer and panoramic camera.

Then the drive began. Spirit’s updated autonomous navigation
software proved its worth again this sol. During a long
auto-navigation segment, the rover encountered a hazard and
was able to back up and find a way around it. Spirit
continued to drive backwards towards its intended goal
point, using the rear hazard avoidance cameras to navigate
the way. When the allotted drive time was up, Spirit turned
back around and made one last short drive to its resting
place for the night. Spirit’s odometer records backwards
and forwards driving and logged another 88.6 meters (290.7
feet) for the sol 112 drive. The actual distance covered
was about 60 meters (197 feet).

On Sol 113, which ended at 9:09 a.m. PDT on April 28,
Spirit woke up earlier than normal, 9:00 a.m. Mars Local
Solar time, to do morning atmospheric science. One
objective of the early sky scan was to image morning
clouds with the panoramic camera. Spirit then began an
intense study of a soil spot called "MayFly." During her
examination of the area, Spirit took panoramic camera and
mini thermal emission spectrometer images in parallel,
conducted a two-hour M??ssbauer integration and
finished off with a look through the microscopic imager.
The rover then stowed the instrument arm to prepare for
digging a trench.

Rover planners intended for Spirit to use its wheels to
dig a trench at the MayFly spot, but hazard avoidance
camera images of the area showed a potato-size rock that
could have potentially fallen into the wheel hollow in the
process. Rather than take that risk, controllers decided
to back the rover up 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) to a
clearer spot. After the final positioning, Spirit used
its wheels to dig a 6-centimeter (2.4-inch) trench. Spirit
finished the sol with hazard avoidance camera images of
the trench, which was used to plan M??ssbauer, alpha
particle X-ray spectrometer and microscopic imager work
on sol 114.

On sol 114, which ended at 9:49 a.m. PDT on April 29,
2004 Spirit continued to investigate the trenched area
with the M??ssbauer spectrometer, alpha particle X-ray
spectrometer and the microscopic imager.

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Edges Its Way Toward ‘Endurance’ – sol 92-93, Apr 29, 2004

Opportunity spent sols 92 and 93, which ended at 8:51 p.m.
PDT on April 27 and 9:30 p.m. PDT on April 28 respectively,
edging its way closer to "Endurance Crater." A total
drive of 106 meters (347.8 feet) left the rover just 70
meters (229.7 feet) from the rim.

The pattern for these two sols has been to take pre- and
post-drive remote sensing observations and imaging in
the crater direction between midday energy-conserving
naps.

By sol 95, Opportunity will make the final approach to
Endurance Crater.

SpaceRef staff editor.