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Daily Update - 2/23/07
Spirit Continues Driving While Engineers Check Robotic Arm
Spirit Status for sol 1113-1117

Spirit is healthy and making progress on the return trek to "Home Plate." Rover handlers have put use of the robotic arm on hold in order to run diagnostic tests of apparent positioning errors in the placement of instruments on the arm. Meanwhile, Spirit continues driving, searching for dust devils and clouds using WATCH computer commands, and acquiring other remote sensing data.

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric opacity caused by dust with the panoramic camera, scanning the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and taking reference images of the sky, Spirit conducted the following activities:

Sol 1113 (Feb. 19, 2003): Spirit acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of a knobby rock known as "Fabien" and targets known as "Kadabra" and "Kaol."

Sol 1114: Spirit rolled slightly backward, turned, and drove 8.61 meters (28.3 feet) toward Home Plate. Spirit searched for dust devils using the WATCH commands.

Sol 1115: Spirit acquired movie frames in search of dust devils and searched for clouds using the WATCH commands.

Sol 1116: Spirit drove 8 meters (26 feet), acquired westward-looking and northward-looking images after the drive, and acquired thermal data from a soil target known as "Kabal" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1117 (Feb. 23, 2007): Spirit acquired full-color images of the area in front of the rover using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Odometry

As of sol 1114 (Feb. 20, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 6,969.03 meters (4.33 miles).

Daily Update - 2/20/07
Opportunity Continues to Characterize Crater
Opportunity Status for sol 1084-1090

Opportunity is healthy and is currently driving on the promontory “Cabo Corrientes” where its cameras imaged the north face of “Bahia Blanca” cliff walls. The rover is currently driving to another spot in order to image “Cape Desire.”

February 9th, 2007, was the first day of spring in the southern hemisphere of Mars.

Alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integrations were also performed to measure atmospheric Argon. The purpose of this experiment is to determine the atmospheric mixing processes and track their changes with time.

Opportunity drove about 20 meters (66 feet) between sols 1084 and 1087.

The theme of the names of the bays and capes of “Victoria Crater” come from the places visited by Magellan and his crew onboard the sailing ship Victoria during their circumnavigation of the world. Cape Corrientes is on the eastern coast of South America and was a useful landmark for Magellan’s fleet. Bahia Blanca (White Bay) is a huge bay in Argentina. Magellan explored it looking for the Strait, but was not successful.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Each sol there is a panoramic camera tau at the beginning of the plan and before the afternoon Mars Odyssey pass. There is a miniature thermal emission spectrometer elevation sky and ground observation during the Odyssey pass. There is also a mini- miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground in the morning of each sol, just prior to handing over to the next sol’s master sequence.

Sol 1084 (February 10, 2007): On this sol, the panoramic camera took a 13-filter image of the target “Santiago.” The rover then stowed its arm and drove 27 meters (89 feet) out onto Cabo Corrientes. After the drive, images were taken with the navigation and hazard avoidance cameras. After the Odyssey pass, the rover completed a sunset tau and a nearly four-hour alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration.

Sol 1085: During the morning of this sol, the rover monitored for dust on its panoramic camera mast assembly, or “neck” and “head.” The navigation camera looked for clouds and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a 7-point sky and ground observation. The panoramic camera then imaged the sun at midday. The navigation camera then looked for clouds and another miniature thermal emission spectrometer 7-point sky and ground observation was conducted.

Sol 1086: On this sol, the rover’s navigation camera looked for clouds and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a 7-point sky and ground observation and assessed the atmosphere. The panoramic camera took thumbnail images of the sky, the navigation camera looked for clouds again and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted another 7-point sky and ground observation.

Sol 1087: The rover drove this sol, then took images with its navigation and panoramic cameras. The rover then conducted a tau measurement. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer was used during the afternoon Odyssey pass. The final commands of this sol involved the panoramic camera surveying the horizon and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer completing a mini observation of the sky and ground.

Sol 1088: On this sol, the navigation camera looked for clouds, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer completed a 7-point sky and ground observation and the panoramic camera took a 13-filter image.

Sol 1089: The morning of this sol began with a mini-miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground observation. A pre-drive navigation camera image was taken in support of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover then stowed its arm and drove about 15 meters (49 feet) to get into position to image the other side of Cape Desire. After the drive, the rover unstowed its arm and took post-drive navigation camera images and completed a post-drive tau measurement.

Sol 1090 (February 16, 2007): On this sol, the navigation camera looked for clouds and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a 7-point sky & ground observation. A pre-Odyssey tau measurement was also taken.

As of sol 1087, Opportunity’s total odometry is 10,077 meters (6.26 miles).

Daily Update - 2/18/07
Spirit Perfects the Art of Driving on Five Wheels
Spirit Status for sol 1104-1112

Rover drivers have now refined their techniques for maneuvering on only five wheels. All of Spirit's drives during the past week ended within centimeters (inches) of the targeted endpoint. Spirit is healthy and has arrived at the rock outcrop known as "Bellingshausen" on the way back to "Home Plate."

On Feb. 10, 2007, the rover's 1,104th Martian day, or sol, of exploration, Spirit experienced a warm reset, during which the rover's computer rebooted and the rover went into auto mode, canceling activities for the weekend and awaiting instructions from Earth. This is the third time Spirit has experienced this anomaly; Spirit's twin, Opportunity, has experienced it twice. The anomaly is attributed to a well-known condition in the flight software. The rover's handlers sent new commands that activated the master sequence of activities for sol 1107 (Feb. 13, 2007).

During scientific studies of targets known as "Mount Darwin" and "Puenta Arenas" in soil disturbed by the rover's tracks, Spirit's handlers noticed positioning errors in the placement of instruments on the rover's robotic arm. In response, they scheduled diagnostic tests for sol 1110 (Feb. 16, 2007). This left the team with a tough decision: remain at Bellingshausen during the long President's Day holiday weekend or head toward Home Plate with a day of driving on sol 1114 (Feb. 20, 2007).

Tau measurements of atmospheric dust levels were 0.6; while solar power levels were 312 watt-hours (a watt-hour is the amount of power needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summary

Except for the sols spent in auto mode, Spirit made daily observations that included measuring atmospheric opacity caused by dust with the panoramic camera, scanning the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit also conducted the following activities:

Sol 1104 (Feb. 10, 2007): Spirit went into auto mode.

Sol 1105: Spirit remained in auto mode.

Sol 1106: Spirit remained in auto mode.

Sol 1107: Spirit drove to the Bellingshausen outcrop.

Sol 1108: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of Bellingshausen and navigation camera movie frames in search of clouds.

Sol 1109: Spirit turned and approached a rock target known as "Fabian" and acquired stereo images following the drive using the navigation camera. The rover also acquired images with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1110: Plans called for a "rover tai-chi," which involves taking images of the contact ring of the Moessbauer spectrometer with the front hazard avoidance camera before placing the instrument on a target, and for acquiring panoramic camera images of Bellingshausen.

Sol 1111: Planned activities included collecting data on targets known as "Amhor," "Bantoom," "Dusor," "Ghasta," and "Gooli" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1112 (Feb. 18, 2007): Planned activities included collecting data on targets known as "Horz," "Hastor," and "Invak" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry

As of sol 1109 (Feb. 15, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 6,965 meters (4.3 miles).

Daily Update - 2/9/07
Opportunity Flips 10 Kilometers and Tests New Drive Software
Opportunity Status for sol 1077-1083

Opportunity has completed a remote sensing campaign at "Cape Desire" and is on the move to the next promontory, called "Cabo Corrientes." Opportunity's odometer rolled past 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) during the 50.51-meter (166 feet) drive on sol 1080. By contrast, the NASA Level 1 requirements for the mission called for achieving at least 600 meters (1,969 feet) with one rover, and the mission design requirement was for 1,000 meters (3,281 feet). This is another significant milestone for Opportunity, and yet another testimony to the outstanding work done by the development and operations teams.

Sol-by-sol summary

Each sol, the panoramic camera assesses atmospheric opacity ("tau") at the beginning of the sol's sequence of activities and again before the afternoon Mars Odyssey pass. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer scans sky and ground during the Odyssey pass. That instrument also observes sky and ground each morning as part of the preceding sol's activity plan, just prior to Spirit beginning the current sol's sequence.

Sol 1077: Opportunity conducted panoramic camera 13-filter targeting on "Cabo Anonimo." The rover then used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer to stare at: rover tracks, at scuffed soil, at the area near the tracks and at Cabo Anonimo. The navigation camera took images to support the work by the miniature thermal emission spectrometer on and near the tracks. The panoramic camera also did a 13-filter examination of Cabo Corrientes. After the Odyssey pass, the rover conducted an argon experiment during six hours of collecting data with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1078: Opportunity drove 42.81 meters (140 feet) away from Cape Desire and then performed an update of its orientation. Post-drive imaging included navigation and panoramic camera mosaics. There was no science activity around the afternoon Odyssey pass on this sol because the team decided to use the energy to support an overnight UHF pass.

Sol 1079: The miniature thermal emission spectrometer completed a seven-point sky and ground analysis, the navigation camera looked for clouds, and then the rover completed two miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground stares.

Sol 1080: The rover drove 50.51 meters (166 feet), then collected images for mosaics with the navigation and panoramic cameras. There was another morning UHF pass in the 1080 plan, so no science activity was conducted around the afternoon Odyssey pass.

Sol 1081: In the morning of this sol, a panoramic camera horizon survey was conducted. The navigation camera looked for clouds and then the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a seven-point analysis of sky and ground. During the afternoon Odyssey pass, that instrument completed a five-point sky and ground analysis.

Sol 1082: The plan included a checkout of new autonomous navigation software during a drive toward Cabo Corrientes. Planned imaging after the drive included mosaics by the navigation and panoramic cameras. The rover's panoramic camera was instructed to view the Martian moon Phobos.

Sol 1083 (Feb. 9, 2007): The plan for this sol calls for the panoramic camera to have a look at the sky in the morning. The navigation camera will then look for clouds and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer will conduct a seven-point sky and ground analysis. In the afternoon, the rover will have another chance to see Phobos in the sky.

As of sol 1080 (Feb. 6, 2007), Opportunity's total odometry was 10,023.19 meters (6.23 miles).

Daily Update - 2/9/07
It's Officially Spring on Mars
Spirit Status for sol 1097-1103

Spring is in the thin, Martian atmosphere once again as NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit scans the local terrain for dust devils expected this time of year. The rover remains healthy and has completed remote sensing studies of a soil target known as "Tyrone," conducted from a distance of about 10 meters (33 feet) away. Tyrone has bright soil upturned in wheel tracks.

Because Spirit is now limited to driving on five wheels, Spirit's handlers did not feel comfortable sending the rover any closer to the soft soil surrounding Tyrone. On the rover's 1,102nd Martian day, or sol, of exploration (Feb. 7, 2007), the rover turned and retraced its tracks toward the layered rock exposure known as "Montalva" en route to the circular plateau known as "Home Plate."

Engineers planned to have Spirit drive approximately 8 meters (26 feet) early on sol 1103 (Feb. 8, 2007). Planned weekend activities included remote sensing observations in addition to the long drive back to Home Plate. Estimated dust levels, known as Tau measurements, appeared to be holding steady at around 0.55. Scientists are hopeful that Martian winds will clear dust from Spirit's solar panels and boost the rover's power levels as they did at around this time last year.

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to daily observations that included using the panoramic camera to measure atmospheric opacity, using the navigation camera to scan the sky for clouds, and using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to survey the sky and ground, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1097 (Feb. 2, 2007): Spirit used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to acquire data on Tyrone and a rock target known as "Korolev." Spirit placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on an exposure of white soil known as "Mount Darwin" and collected compositional data. Spirit also acquired images of Tyrone using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1098: Spirit continued to gather miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from Tyrone and alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer data from Mount Darwin.

Sol 1099: Spirit acquired microscopic images of Mount Darwin, scanned a target known as "Russkaya" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired more panoramic camera images of Tyrone.

Sol 1100: Spirit studied Mount Darwin with the Moessbauer spectrometer, continued to acquire data from Tyrone using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired panoramic camera images of a sinuous feature in the dirt called "Hermite" and of the distant "El Dorado" dune field.

Sol 1101: Spirit acquired microscopic images of "Punta Arenas," a pebble in one of the rover's tracks. The panoramic camera photographed Tyrone. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer scanned distant "McCool Hill." Spirit also used the panoramic camera for images of Mount Darwin and Puenta Arenas.

Sol 1102: Spirit acquired images of McCool Hill with the panoramic camera. Then it turned to drive back toward Home Plate and updated the rover's knowledge of its position relative to the sun.

Sol 1103 (Feb. 8, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to take images of "Tyrone Vista" (the rover's view of the upturned soil known as Tyrone along with the surrounding terrain) and drive toward Montalva.

Odometry

As of sol 1102 (Feb. 7, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 6,926.42 meters (4.3 miles).

Daily Update - 2/4/07
Opportunity Making Its Way to Final Position on 'Cape Desire'
Opportunity Status for sol 1070-1076

Opportunity spent the last week moving around the end of "Cape Desire" to three different imaging locations, each about 2 to 3 meters (6.6 to 9.8 feet) apart. Right now, Opportunity is driving about 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) to the final position to finish collecting long-baseline stereo images in the direction of "Cabo Corrientes" (to the east) and "Cabo Anonimo" (to the west).

Sol-by-sol summary:

Each sol there is a panoramic camera tau at the beginning of the plan and before the afternoon Mars Odyssey pass. There is a miniature thermal emission spectrometer elevation sky and ground observation during the Odyssey pass. There is also a mini-miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground observation in the morning of each sol, just prior to handing over to the next sol's master sequence. In addition to these regular activities, Opportunity also completed the following:

Sol 1070 (Jan. 27, 2007): Opportunity's panoramic camera conducted a 13-filter observation on the target "Ceuta." The panoramic camera also took an image of a target that was photographed by the microscopic imager a week earlier during testing of a new capability to autonomously place the tools of the robotic arm onto a target. Another image by the panoramic camera is for use in a long-baseline stereo pair. The rover then conducted a miniature thermal emission spectrometer stare at Ceuta. After a communication-relay session with NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter, Opportunity performed an argon experiment during an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration.

Sol 1071: The rover drove 2.19 meters (7.2 feet) farther out on Cape Desire. Post-drive imaging included front and rear hazard avoidance camera images and a 360-degree navigation camera image.

Sol 1072: Opportunity took panoramic camera images of the magnets and conducted a miniature thermal emission spectrometer seven-point sky and ground observation.

Sol 1073: Opportunity took a panoramic camera long-baseline stereo image mosaic of target Cabo Corrientes.

Sol 1074: The rover used its panoramic camera to get a mosaic image of Cabo Anonimo then conducted a miniature thermal emission spectrometer vertical scan on target Cabo Corrientes during the Odyssey pass instead of the usual sky and ground observation. The rover also monitored dust on its mast.

Sol 1075: A mini-miniature thermal emission sky and ground observation was conducted in the morning of sol 1075. Opportunity bumped about 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) and did post-drive imaging.

Sol 1076 (Feb. 2, 2007): Plans call for Opportunity to use its panoramic camera for sky spot and mini-miniature thermal emission sky and ground observations. The rover is then to use the same camera to shoot an image mosaic in the direction of target Cabo Anonimo. A mini-miniature thermal emission spectrometer elevation sky and ground observation is also planned.

Opportunity's total odometry as of sol 1071 (Jan. 28, 2007) is 9,927.11 meters (6.2 miles).

Daily Update - 2/1/07
Spirit Examines Churned-Up Martian Soil
Spirit Status for sol 1091-1096

Spirit is healthy and continues to scan the Martian terrain for the dust devils of spring. The rover has completed its scientific studies of a layered rock exposure known as "Montalva" on an outcrop called "Troll."

The rover is now en route toward a patch of bright soil churned up by the rover's wheels in March 2007. Known as "Tyrone," the patch of bright material, white and yellow in color, is possibly analogous to salty soils discovered by the rover earlier in the mission. Scientists plan to have the rover conduct remote sensing from a distance of about 10 meters (33 feet) in order to avoid getting mired in the sand. The rover will use its scientific instruments to get a better look at the soil exposure and determine whether it contains sulfates.

Spirit acquired movies with the navigation camera in search of dust devils on the rover's 1091st, 1093rd, and 1095th sols, or Martian days (Jan. 27, Jan. 29, and Jan. 31, 2007). The risk of dust storms is predicted to increase through mid-October 2007.

The rover drove 12 meters (39 feet) between sols 1092 (Jan. 28, 2007) and 1094 (Jan. 30, 2007).

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1091 (Jan. 27, 2006): Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a rock target known as "Zucchelli" as well as images for building a digital elevation model of the terrain between the rover and a rock of vesicular basalt known as "Esperanza." Spirit acquired movie frames with the navigation camera in search of dust devils and used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to acquire data on rock targets known as "Troll 1," "Macquarie," and "Troll 2."

Sol 1092: Spirit acquired navigation camera images following the day's drive and panoramic camera images of the sky for calibration purposes.

Sol 1093: Spirit acquired movie frames with the navigation camera in search of dust devils and navigation camera images in support of observations to be made with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit scanned the foreground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, monitored for dust on the rover mast with the panoramic camera, and conducted a survey of rock clasts with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1094: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a rock target called "Druzhnaya," drove closer to Tyrone, and acquired post-drive images of the rover's surroundings using the navigation camera.

Sol 1095: Spirit acquired data on Tyrone using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, acquired movie frames with the navigation camera in search of dust devils, acquired data on a rock outcrop known as "Oberth," and acquired full-color images of Tyrone using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 1096 (Feb. 1, 2007): Spirit "bumped," or rolled a short distance, toward a scientific target to be examined with instruments on the rover arm, acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera, scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, and acquired thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Odometry

As of sol 1094 (Jan. 30, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 6,915 meters (4.3 miles).

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