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Daily Update - 11/18/05
Opportunity Gains Energy and Hits Four-Mile Mark
Opportunity Status for sol 641-648

Opportunity is healthy. The solar array was apparently cleaned again on sol 638. Average solar array energy is around 720 watt-hours after the cleaning event!

Opportunity finished a campaign using the robotic arm on a cobble called "Antistasi." The Moessbauer spectrometer and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer data show that the cobble is very basaltic. On Sol 645 Opportunity drove 22 meters (about 72 feet) south on an outcrop path around "Erebus Crater." This drive pushed Opportunity's total driving distance past the four-mile mark.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 641 (Nov. 12, 2005): Opportunity unstowed the robotic arm, changed tools to the Moessbauer spectrometer and did a Moessbauer integration on a cobble called Antistasi.

Sol 642: The rover continued the Moessbauer integration on Antistasi up to the afternoon Mars Odyssey pass. It changed tools to the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and started an overnight integration on Antistasi.

Sol 643: Opportunity changed tools to the Moessbauer spectrometer and started an integration. The rover then monitored dust with the panoramic camera and imaged surrounding cobbles.

Sol 644: The Moessbauer integration on Antistasi continued and panoramic-camera imaging of the surrounding outcrops was conducted.

Sol 645: Opportunity drove about 20 meters (about 66 feet) on an outcrop path so the rover would be able to analyze the outcrops more with the panoramic camera. Also, the panoramic camera was used for studying terrain for future drives.

Sol 646: The rover did untargeted remote sensing.

Sol 647: The plan for this sol is for Opportunity to check its composition and calibration target with the Moessbauer spectrometer, microscopic imager and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. Also planned are observations of outcrop targets called "Show Low" and "Sedona" with the panoramic camera.

Sol 648 (Nov. 19, 2005): The plan is to conduct Moessbauer-spectrometer integration on the composition and calibration target, and to use the panoramic camera to observe an outcrop target called "Winslow" and a cobble target called "Snowflake."

Opportunity has driven a total of 6,446.45 meters (4.01 miles).

Daily Update - 11/18/05
Spirit Observing Meteor Shower
Spirit Status for sol 660-667

Spirit is healthy and making good progress downhill. The rover performed an extensive campaign with the tools on the robotic arm at an outcrop called "Larry's Bench" and made targeted observations with other instruments. The team has been taking advantage of every drive sol, averaging about 40 meters (131 feet) per sol.

Mars is currently passing through a debris trail of Halley's comet, and Spirit is attempting to observe resulting meteor showers with the panoramic camera at night.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 660 (Nov. 11, 2005): Spirit performed robotic-arm work on Larry's Bench. Spirit took pictures of Larry's Bench with the microscopic imager before and after the rock abrasion tool brushed the area. Spirit used the panoramic camera to take pictures of the eastern part of the hill and took images in the direction Spirit plans to drive. Spirit used the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and attempted to observe the Odyssey orbiter at night.

Sol 661: Spirit performed a long integration with the Moessbauer spectrometer, targeted observations with the panoramic camera (pointed towards "Husband Hill" summit), and targeted stares with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 662: Spirit performed a long integration with the Moessbauer spectrometer, targeted observations with the panoramic camera, atmospheric science, and more stares with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 663: Spirit performed a long integration with the Moessbauer spectrometer, made targeted observations with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and did a meteor search at night.

Sol 664: Spirit stowed the robotic arm, took panoramic-camera images of the arm's work area, and drove 38 meters (125 feet) downhill.

Sol 665: Spirit drove 42 meters (138 feet) downhill.

Sol 666: Spirit drove 40 meters (131 feet) downhill.

Sol 667: No scientifically outstanding targets for the robotic arm were seen near the rover's current location, so the team planned a long drive. The team does not have good images that show the view over the ridge, so the rover will use autonomous navigation and drive with a reduced tilt limit to traverse safely downhill.

As of the end of sol 667, (Nov. 18, 2005), Spirit has driven 5,392 meters (3.35 miles).

Daily Update - 11/11/05
Observing the Outcrops
Opportunity Status for sol 633-640

Opportunity is healthy and is observing outcrops of "Erebus Crater." The rover used the tools on its robotic arm to examine an outcrop area named "Olympia."

Sol Summaries:

Sol 633 (Nov. 4, 2005): Opportunity took microscopic images of target "Kalavrita" before using the rock abrasion tool to grind the surface off of the target. After the grind, the rover took microscopic images of the exposed interior and began using the Moessbauer spectrometer on the target.

Sol 634: The rover examined Kalavrita with the Moesssbauer spectrometer during the day and with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer at night.

Sol 635: The Moessbauer spectrometer resumed an integration at Kalavrita.

Sol 636: Opportunity successfully used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer for the first time since sol 609. Extra precautions were taken by the operations team to allow quick recovery in the case of a reset.

Sol 637: Tasks were integration with the Moessbauer spectrometer and remote sensing with the panoramic camera.

Sol 638: Opportunity used the microscopic imager, the rock abrasion tool's brush, and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer at a target dubbed "Ziakas."

Sol 639: Opportunity drove approximately 6 meters (about 20 feet) to a cluster of cobbles.

Sol 640 (Nov. 11, 2005): The rover conducted untargeted remote sensing.

Looking ahead: Sols 641 to 643 are planned as a robotic-arm campaign on a cobble target called "Agrafa."

As of sol 639 (Nov. 10, 2005), Opportunity had driven 6,424 meters (3.99 miles).

Daily Update - 11/11/05
Spirit Coordinating with Hubble
Spirit Status for sol 655 - 659

Spirit is healthy. The rover is out of restricted sols and has been making excellent progress. On sol 655, Spirit drove 94.5 meters (310 feet)! The total drive distance from sol 655 to sol 659 was 126 meters (413 feet). Spirit also took a large panoramic camera mosaic looking back at the "East Basin" for a long-baseline stereo observation. Spirit made other observations with the panoramic camera for coordinated science with the Hubble Space Telescope.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 655 (Nov. 5, 2005): Spirit drove 94.5 meters (310 feet) southeast down onto "Lower Haskin Ridge." The maximum uphill slip was 10 percent at the beginning of the drive. The maximum downhill slip was three percent.

Sol 656: Spirit performed untargeted remote sensing and began observations in coordination with Hubble Space Telescope. The observations included a sky survey, an atmospheric opacity reading, calibration target readings and a horizon survey.

Sol 657: Spirit took a targeted panoramic camera mosaic back at East Basin for the second observation of the long-baseline stereo view. Spirit also performed targeted stares with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 658: Spirit drove 24 meters (79 feet) at a heading of 180 degrees, with an average slip of three percent.

Sol 659: Spirit drove back 8 meters (26 feet) to an outcrop of interest for inspecting with tools on the robotic arm.

As of the end of sol 659, (Nov. 10, 2005), Spirit has driven 5,273 meters (3.28 miles).

Daily Update - 11/4/05
Dusting Off and Getting Back to Work
Opportunity Status for sol 631-634

Having weathered a recent dust storm, Opportunity is back to business. Energy levels are on the rise as the rover prepares for its next investigative campaign.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 631 (Nov. 2, 2005): With images of the rover's current location in hand, rover planners were able to plan a drive of just over 39 meters (128 feet), which brought Opportunity to the edge of a large stretch of outcrop.

Sol 632: Opportunity drove about 5 meters (16 feet) to a target called "Olympia."

Sols 633 and 634 (Nov. 4 and 5, 2005): The two-sol plan is to kick off the robotic arm campaign at Olympia. The plan includes grinding a target called "Kalavrita" with the rock abrasion tool, inspecting the target with the microscopic imager both before and after the grind, and using the panoramic camera to take images for a mosaic. Output from the solar panels on sol 633 was 528 watt hours.

Opportunity's total odometry, as of sol 633, is 6418.07 meters (3.99 miles).

Daily Update - 11/4/05
Spirit Imaging
Spirit Status for sol 647-654

Sprit is healthy. The team operated in "restricted sols" from sol 647 to 654. (Restricted sols occur when the timing of the communications pass from the Odyssey orbiter is too late in the day to gather vital location and health information about the rover after it executed recent commands. The team back on Earth must wait until the next sol to find out where and how the rover is.)

The team planned two long Moessbauer integrations and drove 34 meters (112 feet). On sols 653 and 654, the team planned targeted remote sensing of the "East Basin." This is one of the last opportunities to image it before the basin is no longer in sight.

Spirit also completed three overnight observations. The team returns to standard planning sols the week of Nov. 7, intending to continue driving downhill.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 647 (Oct. 28, 2005): Spirit performed a 22-hour reading with the Moessbauer spectrometer and made night sky observations.

Sol 648: Spirit performed a 23-hour Moessbauer reading.

Sol 649: Spirit drove 18 meters (59 feet).

Sol 650: Spirit performed remote sensing and made night sky observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 651: Spirit drove 16 meters (52 feet).

Sol 652: Spirit performed untargeted remote sensing and made night sky observations.

Sol 653: Spirit performed targeted remote sensing of the East Basin.

Sol 654 (Nov. 4, 2005): Spirit performed targeted remote sensing.

As of sol 654, Spirit has driven 5,143.63 meters (3.20 miles)

Daily Update - 11/2/05
Dusty Weekend
Opportunity Status for sol 627-630

The three-sol plan for Opportunity's sols 627 to 629 (Oct. 29 to 31, 2005) began well, with a drive of 51 meters (164 feet) on the first sol. To allow as much time as possible for driving on that sol, the rover's usual post-drive imaging from its new location had been planned for the following sol. Overnight, Opportunity went into the deep-sleep mode for saving energy. The morning after a deep sleep, the rover wakes up when solar panels start putting out a prescribed level of energy. However, a dust storm in the Meridiani region reduced sunshine enough on the morning of sol 628 that Opportunity did not wake from deep sleep early enough for the first scheduled activities of that sol. The rover's onboard software properly put Opportunity into self-protective automode for the day, so the rover did not take the post-drive images. Analysis continued on Sunday, and the team uplinked commands on Monday to resume activities. On sol 630, Opportunity successfully took pictures showing the terrain surrounding its new position. Dustiness of the atmosphere above Opportunity diminished a little on sol 630, as indicated by increased output from the solar panels.

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 627 (Oct. 29, 2005): In the first sol of a three-sol plan, Opportunity drove 51 meters (164 feet). Wheel slippage averaged 3.7 percent, with a peak of 18 percent. Maximum tilt during the drive was 11.5 degrees. A dust storm in the Margaritifer region near Meridiani had been noticed before plans were set for sol 627, so researchers had told Opportunity to check the clarity of the atmosphere a few times during the sol. Those observations saw a maximum atmospheric opacity ("tau") of 1.6, on a scale where 0 is perfectly clear, 1.0 is about as obscured as a smoggy day in Los Angeles, and an earlier dust storm at Meridiani reached 2.0 on sol 489. Opportunity's solar panels generated 593 watt hours on sol 627. That is about 100 watt hours less than on recent days before the dust storm, but still more than typical daily output during winter. The rover used deep-sleep mode overnight.

Sols 628 and 629: Output from the solar panels did not climb high enough to wake Opportunity from deep sleep until 7:38:50 in the morning, local solar time. This was nearly five minutes too late for its first scheduled activity of the day, turning on heaters to warm the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover realized it had woken up too late, so it properly put itself into protective automode. It remained in automode for sol 629. Solar panels' output was 479 watt hours on sol 628 and 470 watt hours on sol 629, indicating a diminished amount of sunlight getting through the dust.

Sol 630: The team sent commands for activities originally planned for sol 628. Opportunity returned to normal operations and took images of the surroundings at the location it had reached on sol 627. Solar panels produced 496 watt hours, which was enough to support an overnight UHF communications pass in addition to the imaging activities.

As of sol 630 (Nov. 1, 2005), Opportunity had driven a total of 6373.6 meters (3.96 miles).

Daily Update - 11/1/05
Riding Ripples and Working Issues
Opportunity Status for sol 619-626

Opportunity is healthy and traversing around the northwest side of "Erebus Crater." The rover has driven on every sol possible, acquiring during and after each drive, and surveying the sky and horizon in the mornings with the panoramic camera.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 619 (Oct. 20, 2005): Opportunity drove 24 meters (79 feet) in a zigzag pattern to safely cross ripples.

Sol 620: The rover's observations used its panoramic camera to observe a feature informally named "Mogollon Rim" (for an area in Arizona) and onboard magnets. It also checked for dust devils.

Sol 621: Opportunity drove 30 meters (98 feet), mostly on sand. The average slip was only 2.5 percent.

Sol 622: Untargeted observations included a panorama to examine the amount of light reflected from the surface and a ground survey. A software glitch resulted in losing the afternoon communication relay session with Mars Odyssey. The problem was a repeat of one experienced previously on Spirit's sols 131 and 209 and on Opportunity's sol 596. It occurs when a "write" command reaches an area of memory during a vulnerability period of a few microseconds when that memory location cannot accept a new write command. The rover team is investigating the problem.

Sol 623: This was a recovery sol. Opportunity returned data directly to Earth during an X-band communication window after calibration of the high-gain antenna. It also performed a calibration of the panoramic camera mast assembly (the rover's "head") to regain use of it and to stow the camera. One of the rover's two batteries would not recharge, which at first puzzled the team. A switch that allows battery 1 to recharge was not enabled, so the battery was temporarily unable to recharge. On the following morning (sol 624), the switch was enabled and the battery subsequently operated normally. Engineers' analysis indicates that recharging was not enabled on sol 623 because the rover did not use enough electricity from the battery during the previous sol (622) to draw the battery's charge below a level pre-set as a threshold for allowing a recharge.

Sol 624: The rover drove and used the panoramic camera to look at its tracks. It covered 27.3 meters (nearly 90 feet).

Sol 625: At the end of sol 624, Opportunity found itself in an area with relatively small ripples. In this benign terrain, it was given commands for a drive that included a segment of autonomous navigation after an approximately 30-meter (98-foot) segment of blind driving. Preliminary analysis shows a total distance of 45.7 meters (150 feet) was traversed.

Sol 626: For this sol the team planned another drive, with about 30 meters (98 feet) expected.

Opportunity's total odometry as of sol 625 (Oct. 27, 2005) is 6,265 meters (3.89 miles). This week (sols 619 to 625), the rover drove 127 meters (417 feet).

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