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Daily Update - 11/25/09
'Marquette' Study Continues
Opportunity Status for sol 2069-2075

Opportunity has been investigating the rock known as "Marquette Island" over the last couple of weeks. This target is proving to be something unique that Opportunity has not encountered in more than 2000 Sols of exploring Mars.

The science team is theorizing this rock could be either be a type of meteorite that Opportunity has never seen before or it could be ejecta from deep within the Martian crust that might provide clues to Mars' geologic past. The rover completed Moessbauer (MB) spectrometer and Alpha-Particle-X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) measurements on a rock target named "Peck Bay" last week. Peck Bay was also lightly brushed by the Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT), which removed a layer of dust on the rock to expose the material beneath.

To gain additional information on Marquette Island, Opportunity has repeated the same set of measurements on an adjacent target called "Islington Bay." The miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) elevation mirror shroud is being opened when appropriate with the expectation of eventual dust cleaning. No dust cleaning of the Mini-TES mirror has been noted yet. As of Sol 2075 (Nov. 24, 2009), the solar array energy production was 371 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.512 and a dust factor of 0.520. Total odometry was 18,906.82 meters (11.75 miles).

Daily Update - 11/25/09
Extrication Attempt Continues
Spirit Status for sol 2091-2095

The Spirit team is continuing with the process of attempting to extract her from her embedded location at Troy on the west side of Home Plate.

On Sol 2092 (Nov. 21, 2009), a two-step 5-meter (16 feet) forward motion was commanded. After the rover completed about 4 meters (13 feet) of wheel spin, a stall occurred in the right-rear wheel. Telemetry suggested that the wheel was bogging down.

On Sol 2095 (Nov. 24, 2009), a series of diagnostic tests on the right-rear wheel was commanded. The test results indicated a fully functioning right-rear wheel free of obstruction. As part of the diagnostics, a short (1.5 meter) forward drive of the rover was commanded. The rover moved forward about 2 millimeters (0.08 inch). The plan ahead is to continue with extrication. Another 5-meter (16 feet) two-step drive is planned for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. As of Sol 2095 (Nov. 24, 2009), the rover solar array energy production was 325 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.590 and a dust factor of 0.575. Total odometry is 7,730.00 meters (4.80 miles).

Daily Update - 11/19/09
Extrication Attempt Begins
Spirit Status for sol 2084-2090

Spirit has begun her long-awaited extrication process.

The first commanded motion was on Sol 2088 (Nov. 17, 2009). Two straight forward steps of 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) each were sequenced. However, due to a hair-trigger limit on the rover tilt, the drive stopped as soon as it began and no discernable motion in the rover was observed.

With improved value for the rover tilt, the same two-step motion was sequenced on Sol 2090 (Nov. 19, 2009). Spirit successfully completed the first step of the planned motion. The second step was not performed because Spirit exceeded the 1-centimeter (0.4-inch) three-dimensional distance limit that was imposed in the plan. The center of the rover moved approximately 12 millimeters (0.5 inch) forward, 7 millimeters (0.3 inch) to the left and about 4 millimeters (0.2 inch) down. The rover tilt changed by around 0.1 degree. Small forward motion was observed with the non-operable right-front wheel. The left-front wheel showed indications of climbing.

It is cautioned that these motions are too small to establish any trends at this time. The plan ahead is to continue forward driving once all the necessary analysis is complete and reviewed.

As of Sol 2090 (Nov. 19, 2009), Spirit's solar-array energy production is 346 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.517 and a dust factor of 0.588. Total odometry is 7,729.97 meters (4.80 miles).

Daily Update - 11/19/09
'Marquette' Study Begins
Opportunity Status for sol 2063-2068

Opportunity has been investigating a rock called "Marquette Island."

The rover approached the rock on Sol 2063 (Nov. 12, 2009) and has been using the Moessbauer (MB) spectrometer and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) to collect measurements on the rock to assist in determining the rock composition. Opportunity also has taken close-up images using the microscopic imager (MI) on Sol 2065 (Nov. 14, 2009).

The rock abrasion tool (RAT) on the arm will lightly brush the rock to reveal the surface beneath the layer of dust. After receiving the results of the RAT brush, the science team will decide whether to look even deeper into the rock by grinding a couple of millimeters (about a tenth of an inch) down into it and performing additional science observations.

There has also been extensive imaging of the surrounding rocks around Marquette. The elevation mirror shroud of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) is being opened when appropriate with the expectation of eventual dust cleaning. No dust cleaning of the Mini-TES mirror has been noted yet.

As of Sol 2068 (Nov. 17, 2009), Opportunity's solar-array energy production was 385 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.482 and a dust factor of 0.530. Total odometry was 18,906.82 meters (11.75 miles).

Daily Update - 11/12/09
Approaching "Marquette Island"
Opportunity Status for sol 2057-2062

Opportunity is still heading south before the turn east to head toward Endeavour Crater. The right front wheel is exhibiting elevated motor currents. So, the plan is to find a place to stop and rest the actuator while conducting some some contact science.

On Sol 2058 (Nov. 7, 2009), the rover began a 15-meter (49-foot) approach to a candidate rock target called "Marquette Island." On Sol 2061 (Nov. 10, 2009), Opportunity bumped about 4 meters (13 feet) to position Marquette Island within the work volume of the rover's robotic arm (instrument deployment device, or IDD). The rover continues to command 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 2062 (Nov. 11, 2009), Opportunity's solar-array energy production was 400 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.486 and a dust factor of 0.531. Total odometry was 18,905.90 meters (11.75 miles).

Daily Update - 11/12/09
Flash Memory in Use Again
Spirit Status for sol 2077-2083

Spirit is preparing to attempt extrication from her embedded location at "Troy" on the west side of "Home Plate."

The project was successful in reformatting Spirit's on-board flash memory file system on Sol 2083 (Nov. 11, 2009). The rover is now again using the non-volatile flash file system for telemetry storage.

On Sol 2078 (Nov. 6, 2009), Spirit straightened her wheels in preparation for the first straight-ahead extrication drive, currently planned for Sol 2088 (Nov. 17, 2009). Spirit also collected another microscopic imager (MI) mosaic of the rover underbelly on Sol 2081 (Nov. 9, 2009).

As of Sol 2082 (Nov. 10, 2009), Spirit's solar-array energy production was 368 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.569 and a dust factor of 0.5995. Total odometry remains at 7,729.97 meters (4.80 miles).

Daily Update - 11/12/09
Approaching "Marquette Island"
Opportunity Status for sol 2057-2062

Opportunity is still heading south before the turn east to head toward Endeavour Crater. The right front wheel is exhibiting elevated motor currents. So, the plan is to find a place to stop and rest the actuator while conducting some some contact science.

On Sol 2058 (Nov. 7, 2009), the rover began a 15-meter (49-foot) approach to a candidate rock target called "Marquette Island." On Sol 2061 (Nov. 10, 2009), Opportunity bumped about 4 meters (13 feet) to position Marquette Island within the work volume of the rover's robotic arm (instrument deployment device, or IDD). The rover continues to command 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 2062 (Nov. 11, 2009), Opportunity's solar-array energy production was 400 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.486 and a dust factor of 0.531. Total odometry was 18,905.90 meters (11.75 miles).

Daily Update - 11/12/09
Approaching "Marquette Island"
Opportunity Status for sol 2057-2062

Opportunity is still heading south before the turn east to head toward Endeavour Crater. The right front wheel is exhibiting elevated motor currents. So, the plan is to find a place to stop and rest the actuator while conducting some some contact science.

On Sol 2058 (Nov. 7, 2009), the rover began a 15-meter (49-foot) approach to a candidate rock target called "Marquette Island." On Sol 2061 (Nov. 10, 2009), Opportunity bumped about 4 meters (13 feet) to position Marquette Island within the work volume of the rover's robotic arm (instrument deployment device, or IDD). The rover continues to command 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 2062 (Nov. 11, 2009), Opportunity's solar-array energy production was 400 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.486 and a dust factor of 0.531. Total odometry was 18,905.90 meters (11.75 miles).

Daily Update - 11/5/09
Five Drives
Opportunity Status for sol 2050-2056

Opportunity continues to make good progress driving. The rover continued to drive south on sols 2050, 2051, 2054, 2055 and 2056, (Oct. 30, 31, Nov. 3, 4 and 5, 2009) totaling over 260 meters (853 feet).

The right-front wheel is now showing a return of elevated motor currents. The plan ahead is to rest the actuator during an extended stop for an in-situ (contact) science campaign. The rover continues to command 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 2056 (Nov. 5, 2009), Opportunity's solar-array energy production is 376 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.548 and a dust factor of 0.527. Total odometry is 18,886.95 meters (11.73 miles).

Daily Update - 11/5/09
Dealing with Flash Access
Spirit Status for sol 2070-2076

Spirit is still suffering from the inability to access the on-board, non-volatile (flash) memory file system. However, the operations team has developed a strategy to allow science activities to continue.

To ensure that science data collected by Spirit is returned to Earth, the team has been keeping Spirit awake each sol from the morning communication session through the data relay via the Odyssey orbiter. (Data stored in volatile, random-access memory is not retained when the rover powers down for energy-conserving sleep.)

The engineering team has determined that reformatting the file system portion of flash memory will restore the use of the flash memory for data storage. The Flash file system has been formatted once before on Spirit on Sol 32. This was part of the recovery from the anomaly experienced on Sol 18. The project intends to re-format the Flash file system shortly.

As of Sol 2076 (Nov. 4, 2009), Spirit's solar-array energy production is 359 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.599 and a dust factor of 0.633. Total odometry remains at 7,729.97 meters (4.80 miles).

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