Status Report

NASA Mars Spirit Rover Update: 28 March 2006

By SpaceRef Editor
March 29, 2006
Filed under , , ,

SPIRIT UPDATE: Flight Team Investigates Right Front Wheel Anomaly – sol 782-789, Mar 28, 2006:

The flight team continues to investigate the right front wheel anomaly on Spirit. A diagnostic test conducted at a different temperature than earlier testing continued to indicate an open circuit condition for the wheel. Team members are conducting testbed experiments at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to understand the new characteristics of five-wheel driving.

On March 21, 2006, NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter went into a precautionary safe mode as a result of action by on-board fault protection. Odyssey was unavailable for three days to relay data from either Spirit or Opportunity to Earth. Spirit’s flight team held a special Saturday planning session to make up for lost sols. Because of the approaching winter, it is imperative to move Spirit to north-facing slopes to insure the rover has adequate power during the deepest part of the winter.

Spirit was in restricted sols, which occur when the timing of downlinks is too late in the planning day to provide vital location and health information about the rover after it executes the previous day’s commands. Therefore, drives could be planned for only every second sol.

Sol-by-sol highlights:

Sol 782 (March 16, 2006): Spirit drove more than 9 meters (30 feet).

Sol 784: Challenged by a mound with a modest slope, Spirit stopped the drive after only 0.85 meters (2.8 feet) because of excessive slip.

Sol 787: Spirit moved away from the sticky mound with a 4.5-meter (15-foot) drive.

Sol 788 (March 22, 2006): The flight team planned to have Spirit drive approximately 11 meters (36 feet) to a new waypoint.


As of sol 787 (March 21, 2006), Spirit’s total odometry was 6,812.16 meters (4.23 miles).

SpaceRef staff editor.