Status Report

NASA Mars Rovers Update 3 Mar 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
March 5, 2004
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SPIRIT UPDATE: Rock Abrasion Tool Back in Action – sol 59, Mar 03, 2004

Waking up to "One More Time" by The Real McCoy, Spirit
completed a successful, 2 millimeter-deep grind (.08
inches) into a target slightly left of the depression it
made yestersol during its abbreviated operation. A
five-minute brush to clean the hole followed.

Completing the sol, which ended at 8:31 p.m. Wednesday,
March 03, Spirit’s arm then switched instruments so the
Moessbauer spectrometer could examine "Humphrey’s" new
shallow cavity.

Before this sol’s four-hour grinding, the microscopic
imager and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer finished
observations of yestersol’s rock abrasion tool depression.
To document Spirit’s current position – about halfway to
the "Bonneville" crater rim – the panoramic camera snapped
the first of several images that, together, will provide a
360-degree view.

Engineers identified the software issue that caused the
rock abrasion tool to terminate its original planned
grinding on sol 58. The minor bug will be fixed when new
flight software is loaded at the end of March.

In the coming sols, Spirit will complete the alpha particle
X-ray spectrometer observations of the rock abrasion tool
hole and get an up-close view with the microscopic imager.
The final images will be obtained for the full panoramic
view of Spirit’s current position. After miniature thermal
emission spectrometer and panoramic camera observations of
the hole are conducted, Spirit will continue on toward
"Bonneville" crater.

OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Hits Pay Dirt – sol 38, Mar 03, 2004

On sol 38, which ended at 8:13 a.m. PST on Wednesday, March 3,
Opportunity awoke to "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" by
Creedence Clearwater Revival in honor of the confirmation
that liquid water once flowed through the rocks at
Meridiani Planum.

In the morning of sol 38, Opportunity observed the atmosphere
with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission
spectrometer. Then, the rover turned the miniature thermal
emission spectrometer to stare at the ground for science
observations. Later, Opportunity took stereo microscopic
images and Mˆssbauer spectrometer readings of the soil
target dubbed "Pay Dirt."

In the early afternoon Local Solar Time, Opportunity stowed
the rover arm, took a panoramic camera image of "Last Chance,"
and drove a very short distance of 0.4 meters (16 inches)
toward "Last Chance" to prepare for the deployment of the
robotic arm.

The proposed plan for sol 39, which will end at 8:52 a.m. PST
on Thursday, March 4, is to start the morning by taking images
of a rare solar transit of the martian moon, Deimos. The
solar transit of Deimos causes a solar eclipse only twice
per Mars year (one Mars year equals roughly two Earth years).
Later in the sol, Opportunity is scheduled to take a
microscopic panorama of the layers in the "Last Chance"
rock formation.

SpaceRef staff editor.