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Daily Update - 10/30/09
Amnesia-like Symptoms Return
Spirit Status for sol 2063-2069

Spirit has experienced another complication. On Sol 2065 (Oct. 24, 2009), Spirit experienced a reset event and a problem with mounting its non-volatile flash memory. The rover resumed activities without using its flash memory, instead using its volatile random-access memory (RAM) to store telemetry. When the rover goes to sleep, telemetry stored only in RAM is lost. The project has instructed the rover to stay awake until its afternoon relay pass with Mars Odyssey to return the day's data before napping.

The project is planning to reformat the rover's flash memory file system to restore it to normal operation. Spirit is otherwise in good health.

As of Sol 2069 (Oct. 28, 2009), Spirit's solar-array energy production was 411 watt-hours. On Sol 2064 (Oct. 23, 2009), atmospheric opacity (tau) was 0.599. Total odometry remains at 7,729.97 meters (4.80 miles).

Daily Update - 10/30/09
Southbound Progress
Opportunity Status for sol 2043-2049

Opportunity has been making good progress driving. After completing a survey of meteorites recently, Opportunity has turned south around the point of a large ripple field. Eventually, the rover will resume heading east towards Endeavour crater.

The rover drove southward on sols 2043, 2045, 2047, 2048 and 2049 (Oct. 22, 25, 27, 28 and 29, 2009), totaling over 280 meters (918 feet). The rover commands the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) elevation mirror open each sol in an attempt to clear some of the putative dust off the elevation mirror. To date, no improvement in the Mini-TES has been observed.

As of Sol 2049 (Oct. 29, 2009), Opportunity's solar-array energy production is 419 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.580 and a dust factor of 0.571. Total odometry is 18,622.44 meters (11.57 miles).

Daily Update - 10/22/09
Antenna Back to Normal Use
Spirit Status for sol 2056-2062

Spirit has recovered from X-band fault and is using her steerable high-gain antenna (HGA) normally.

The clearing of the X-band fault was to occur on Sol 2056 (Oct. 15, 2009), but a Deep Space Network (DSN) station outage at the last minute prevented the commands from reaching the rover.

On Sol 2058 (Oct. 17, 2009), the commands were successfully sent to the rover that cleared the X-band and HGA errors and resumed normal HGA X-band operation. Spirit went on to conduct several days of Moessbauer (MB) spectrometer integration on the surface target "Thoosa" and to search for dust devils with the navigation camera (Navcam).

On Sol 2059 (Oct. 18, 2009), more panoramic camera (Pancam) images of "Scamander Plains" were collected along with miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) observations of the target "Pioneer." Early in the morning of Sol 2061 (Oct. 20, 2009), the rover woke up to characterize the Tstat box. On that sol, Spirit also collected another 11-frame microscopic imager (MI) mosaic of the underbelly of the rover and set up for more MB integration on Thoosa.

As of Sol 2062 (Oct. 21, 2009), Spirit's solar-array energy production is 410 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.570 and a dust factor of 0.594. Total odometry remains at 7,729.97 meters (4.80 miles).

Daily Update - 10/22/09
A Meteorite Called 'Mackinac'
Opportunity Status for sol 2036-2042

Opportunity surveyed another meteorite and has been driving ambitiously to the west and south to get around a field of large ripples. On Sol 2038 (Oct. 17, 2009), Opportunity circumnavigated a meteorite called "Mackinac," conducting mid-drive imagery of the rock, then drove away covering about 70 meters (230 feet) to the southwest.

On Sol 2040 (Oct. 19, 2009), the rover drove approximately 72 meters (236 feet) to the southwest. It completed a similar 71-meter (233-foot) drive on the next sol, again to the southwest.

Motor currents in the right-front wheel continue to remain well behaved. The rover commands the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) elevation mirror open each sol in an attempt to clear some of the putative dust off the elevation mirror. To date, no improvement in the Mini-TES has been observed.

As of Sol 2042 (Oct. 21, 2009), Opportunity's solar-array energy production is 430 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.586 and a dust factor of 0.5575. Total odometry is 18,322.03 meters (11.39 miles).

Daily Update - 10/15/09
In X-Band Fault Mode
Spirit Status for sol 2050-2055

Spirit is still in X-band fault mode due to a high-gain antenna (HGA) dynamic brake anomaly that first occurred back on Sol 2027 (Sept. 15, 2009) and has re-occurred most recently on Sol 2052 (Oct. 11, 2009). With the HGA fault, all X-band uplinks use the low-gain antenna (LGA) and uplink bandwidth is limited.

Spirit was to be back under normal HGA operation on Sol 2054 (Oct. 13, 2009). However, a Deep Space Network (DSN) station outage at the last minute, with no alternative station available, prevented the HGA-recovery uplink from getting to Spirit. Spirit will be under runout sols, and the next planned uplink will be on Sol 2057 (Oct. 16, 2009). So the Sol 2057 plan is to clear the X-band and HGA faults and change the communication behavior manager (CBM) back to X-band nominal. The HGA dynamic brake status has been masked already in flight software.

Spirit is otherwise in good health (power positive, thermally stable and communicative over LGA and UHF) conducting limited remote sensing science in the runout sols. The Mössbauer (MB) spectrometer is positioned on a surface target and will resume an extended integration on Sol 2057 (Oct. 16, 2009).

As of Sol 2054 (Oct. 13, 2009), Spirit's solar array energy production was 427 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.605. The dust factor is 0.6075, meaning that about 61 percent of the sunlight hitting the solar array is penetrating through the dust on the array.

Total odometry as of Sol 2055 (Oct. 14, 2009): 7,729.97 meters (4.80 miles).

Daily Update - 10/15/09
Finished with 'Shelter Island'
Opportunity Status for sol 2029-2035

Opportunity completed its survey of the meteorite called "Shelter Island".

On Sol 2029 (Oct. 8, 2009), the rover completed the in-situ (contact) science campaign on the meteorite's surface with a microscopic imager (MI) mosaic and an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) placement for integration. On Sol 2031 (Oct. 10, 2009), the robotic arm (instrument deployment device, or IDD) was lifted from the meteorite and some final documentary images were collected by the panoramic camera (Pancam). On Sol 2032 (Oct. 11, 2009), the rover performed a 10-meter (33-foot) circumnavigation of the meteorite to image and document the backside.

On Sol 2034 (Oct. 14, 2009), Opportunity left "Shelter Island" and headed northwest driving 64 meters (210 feet) backwards toward another large rock (more than half a meter or 1.5 feet). With that drive, Opportunity crossed the 18 kilometer mark in total odometry. Motor currents in the right-front wheel continue to remain well behaved.

As of Sol 2035 (Oct. 15, 2009), Opportunity's solar array energy production was 446 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.591 and a dust factor of 0.562.

Total odometry as of Sol 2034 (Oct. 14, 2009): 18,036.06 meters (11.21 miles).

Daily Update - 10/8/09
Opportunity Knocks with Another Meteorite Find
Opportunity Status for sol 2021-2028

Opportunity has discovered another large (0.5-meter) meteorite. The rover began the approach to this new meteorite, called "Shelter Island," with a 28-meter backward drive on Sol 2022. On Sol 2024, Opportunity turned around with a 2-meter drive to face the meteorite. A final 1-meter bump on Sol 2027 put the meteorite within the work volume of the rover robotic arm (IDD). In-situ (contact) measurements are now being planned. Motor currents in the right front wheel continue to remain well behaved. As of Sol 2028, the solar array energy production was 449 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.638 and a dust factor of 0.5695.

Total odometry as of Sol 2028: 17,962.44 meters

Daily Update - 10/8/09
Busy with Antenna Brake Testing and Underbelly Imaging
Spirit Status for sol 2042-2049

Spirit is still currently in X-band fault mode due to a high-gain antenna (HGA) dynamic brake anomaly that first occurred on Sol 2027 and recurred again on Sol 2037. With this HGA fault, all X-band uplinks use the low-gain antenna (LGA), and uplink bandwidth is very limited. Forward-link commanding through Mars Odyssey is being used for all large commanding sequences like data management bundles and science sequencing. On Sol 2044, Spirit completed another Microscopic Imager (MI) mosaic of the underneath of Spirit for extraction analysis, along with another test of the HGA dynamic brake. Results of that brake test were largely nominal. The current plan is to bring Spirit out of the X-band fault mode on Sol 2050 and perform a long-duration HGA motion test before resuming normal HGA operation. Spirit's systems are otherwise in good health. As of Sol 2049, the rover solar array energy production was 423 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.657 and a dust factor of 0.603.

Total odometry as of Sol 2049: 7,729.93 meters

Daily Update - 10/1/09
Westbound Around Risky Region
Opportunity Status for sol 2015-2020

Opportunity has been driving, driving, driving. The rover drove three out of the last six sols, making good progress along the path to Endeavour crater.

Each drive was backwards, continuing to head west in order to avoid a large region of potentially risky dune ripples. Eventually, the rover will turn south, then east, to head directly toward Endeavour. On Sols 2015, 2017 and 2020 (Sept. 24, 26 and 29, 2009), the rover drove 70.75 meters (232 feet), 71.85 meters (236 feet) and 70.62 meters (232 feet), respectively. Rover odometry is nearing the 18-kilometer mark.

Motor currents in the right front wheel remain well behaved.

As of Sol 2020 (Sept. 29, 2009), Opportunity's solar-array energy production was 461 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.677 and a dust factor of 0.599.

Total odometry as of Sol 2020 (Sept. 29, 2009): 17,930.55 meters (11.14 miles).

Daily Update - 10/1/09
Intermittent Problem with Antenna Brake
Spirit Status for sol 2035-2041

Spirit had a reoccurrence of the dynamic brake fault with the high-gain antenna (HGA) on Sol 2037 (Sept. 25, 2009) during the attempt to restore normal usage of the HGA. The dynamic brake problem is more frequently intermittent, requiring an alternate approach to resolving the problem. Until the HGA can be restored, the low-gain antenna (LGA) and forward-link commanding through the Mars Odyssey relay will be used.

The low bandwidth over the LGA and the latency with forward-link commanding limits the pace of recovery. The project is implementing a more exhaustive set of diagnostics on the HGA dynamic brake. Those diagnostics should illuminate the nature of the dynamic brake problem and guide the recovery strategy. Despite the HGA problem, Spirit will collect an extended panorama of her underbelly using the microscopic imager (MI) on the end of the robotic arm (IDD) and then place the Moessbauer (MB) spectrometer on a surface target for a long integration. Spirit is otherwise in good health.

As of Sol 2041 (Sept. 29, 2009), Spirit's solar-array energy production is 437 watt-hours. Atmospheric opacity (tau) is 0.727. The dust factor is 0.614, meaning that meaning that about 61.4 percent of the sunlight hitting the solar array is penetrating through the dust on the array. Total odometry remains at 7,729.93 meters (4.80 miles).

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