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Daily Update - 4/24/06
Heading for 'Victoria Crater'
Opportunity Status for sol 789-797

Opportunity is healthy and making good progress towards "Victoria Crater." The rover remains on a restricted schedule, driving only every other day. Last weekend, the rover stopped for some brief robotic arm work, to characterize the outcrop between "Erebus Crater" and Victoria Crater. Next week Opportunity is back to a normal schedule, and engineers hope to get the rover moving every day.

Sol Details:

Sol 789 (April 13, 2006): The plan was to drive to outcrop about 26 meters (85 feet) away. However, the drive stopped about 10 meters (33 feet) short by a slip check.

Sol 790: Opportunity conducted untargeted remote science.

Sol 791: The rover did some robotic arm work including: taking microscopic images and using the rock abrasion tool brush. The rover attempted a short alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration; however it failed due to a sequencing error.

Sol 792: Opportunity drove about 35 meters (115 feet) over an outcrop and crossed a few ripples.

Sol 793: The rover conducted untargeted remote science.

Sol 794: Opportunity drove about 30 meters (98 feet) towards Victoria Crater.

Sol 795: The rover conducted untargeted remote science.

Sol 796: After taking pre-drive images of the target "Fort Leavenworth," the team plans to drive about 27 meters (86 feet) down a trough, with ripple crossings at the start and end.

Sol 797 (April 21, 2006): Opportunity did untargeted remote sensing, systematic ground surveys with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

As of 794, Opportunity's total odometry was 7,334.56 meters (4.56 miles).

Daily Update - 4/24/06
Spirit Studies New Terrain
Spirit Status for sol 812-819

Spirit remains healthy and is enjoying the winter sun on Mars. This week, Spirit began acquiring a full-color, high-resolution, 360-degree panorama nicknamed the "McMurdo Pan." The panorama campaign will take a few weeks because of power and data limitations. In addition, Spirit conducted a scientific study of a soil target called "Mawson" using instruments on the rover's robotic arm.

All the rock and soil targets in this area are being named after Antarctic research stations and explorers.

Sol-by-sol highlights:

Sol 812 (April 16, 2006): Spirit performed targeted remote sensing with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and acquired microscopic images of undisturbed soil.

Sol 813: Spirit conducted targeted remote sensing with the panoramic camera.

Sol 814: Spirit began acquisition of the "McMurdo Pan." The rover studied a soil target called "Mawson" with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 815: Spirit conducted targeted remote sensing with the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 816: Rather than pause for new instructions, Spirit continued to acquire panoramic camera data following master sequences already transmitted to the rover.

Sols 817 to 819 (April 21-23, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to continue work on the "McMurdo panorama," complete overnight studies of the soil target called "Mawson" with the Moessbauer spectrometer, and conduct targeted remote sensing.

Odometry:

As of sol 816 (April 20, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).

Daily Update - 4/20/06
Spirit Finally Reaches a Potential Winter Haven
Spirit Status for sol 803-811

Spirit is basking in the sun, relatively speaking, on a 10.8-degree, north-facing slope in Gusev Crater on Mars. After turning away from the rover's previous heading toward "McCool Hill" last week, Spirit started driving toward a nearby area known as "Low Ridge Haven" and arrived there over the weekend. Because rover drivers were able to get Spirit to a place where the solar panels tilt more steeply toward the sun, the rover's power output increased by 50 to 60 watt-hours per sol (a sol is one day on Mars). That gives the rover enough energy for about one hour of daytime remote science.

So far in this location, Spirit has collected a 360-degree panorama with the navigation camera, a smaller panorama with the panoramic camera, two targeted observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and five targeted images with the panoramic camera. Spirit also collected data with instruments on the robotic arm, including the microscopic imager, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, and the Moessbauer spectrometer. All the rock and soil targets in this area are being informally named after Antarctic research stations and explorers.

Sol-by-sol highlights:

Sol 803 (April 6, 2006): Spirit drove about 9 meters (30 feet) closer to "Low Ridge Haven," approaching a break in the north-facing slopes of the small outcrop.

Sol 804: Spirit recharged the batteries and conducted atmospheric remote sensing.

Sol 805: Spirit spent as much of the weekend as possible driving toward a north-facing slope to allow the rover's solar panels to soak up more energy from the sun. After advancing slightly more than 10 meters (33 feet), Spirit ended up in a nice, sunny spot, with a northerly tilt of 10.8 degrees.

Sol 806: Spirit recharged the batteries and used the panoramic camera to view the surrounding terrain from the new location reached by the sol 805 drive.

Sol 807: Spirit's weekend drive placed the rover at a potentially safe place to spend the winter on Mars. Activities included a "get fine attitude," a procedure completed every couple of weeks to correct any error in the rover's knowledge of its attitude relative to the sun. (Between updates, the rover uses the onboard computer to keep track of attitude changes, but error builds up in this measurement over time.) The rover also used the navigation camera and panoramic camera for additional and higher-resolution images of the terrain surrounding the current location.

Sol 808: Spirit observed rock targets called "Marambio" and "Orcadas" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and collected images of a target called "Maitri" using the panoramic camera.

Sol 809: Spirit deployed the robotic arm for the first time since the week of sols 769 to 772 (March 2 to March 5, 2006), when the rover conducted scientific observations near "Home Plate." Spirit acquired microscopic images of a target called "Halley" and completed an overnight analysis with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover also acquired panoramic-camera images of "Troll" and "Mirny."

Sols 810-811 (April 13-14, 2006): Plans for the weekend called for continued work on "Halley," including measurements with the Moessbauer spectrometer, and targeted remote sensing, including panoramic camera images of "Orcadas" and "Marambio."

Odometry:

As of sol 811 (April 14, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).

Daily Update - 4/20/06
Hoppin' Toward 'Victoria'
Opportunity Status for sol 785-790

Opportunity is in a restricted planning mode this week due to each sol's downlink coming too late in the Earth day to allow planning of a drive for the next sol. The team built three drives this week and Opportunity drove 83.2 meters (273 feet). The general drive direction is southeast to avoid a large dune field due south. As of sol 788, Opportunity was estimated to be 1,557 meters (just under one mile) from "Victoria Crater."

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 785 (April 9, 2006): On sol 785 Opportunity drove 58.9 meters (193 feet) south. After the drive, the panoramic camera and navigation camera made observations in the drive direction. Activities also included atmospheric remote sensing during the afternoon's communication relay session with the Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Sol 786: This sol's activities included a panoramic camera systematic ground survey, panoramic camera imaging of magnets, rearward looking navigation camera imaging, and two sky-and-ground observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 787: After targeted pre-drive panoramic camera observations of an outcrop, Opportunity drove 7.5 meters (25 feet) to the top of a dune. Imaging of the new location and atmospheric sensing during the afternoon Odyssey pass followed the drive.

Sol 788: The navigation camera took rearward-looking images for a mosaic. The panoramic camera checked the clarity of the atmosphere and surveyed the ground systematically. In the afternoon, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer made sky-and-ground observations.

Sol 789: Opportunity drove 16.8 meters.

Sol 790 (April 14, 2006): Planned activities included untargeted remote sensing.

As of 789, Opportunity's total odometry was 7,327.53 meters (4.55 miles).

Daily Update - 4/7/06
Ripples and Outcrops
Opportunity Status for sol 778-784

Opportunity is healthy and is continuing to drive toward "Victoria Crater." Thanks to talented rover planners and sturdy construction, the rover covered a distance totaling about 170 meters (558 feet) during the week. The scenery has been beautiful and consistent: lots of ripples sprinkled with a dash of outcrops.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 778 (April 2, 2006): Opportunity drove 25.3 meters (83 feet) and used its navigation and panoramic cameras to image the area after the drive. The rover also observed the atmosphere.

Sol 779: The rover took 13-filter panoramic camera images to survey the ground near it. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer observed the sky and ground.

Sol 780: Opportunity drove 58.4 meters (192 feet), took navigation and panoramic camera images of the post-drive area, and conducted atmospheric and remote sensing.

Sol 781: The rover drove 32 meters (105 feet), used its navigation and panoramic cameras to image the post drive-area, and conducted atmospheric remote sensing.

Sol 782: Opportunity drove 45 meters (148 feet), used its navigation and panoramic cameras to image the post-drive area, and conducted atmospheric remote sensing.

Sols 783 and 784 (April 7 and 8, 2006): These sols' plans are for targeted remote sensing.

Total odometry: 7,249 meters (4.5 miles) as of end of sol 782.

Daily Update - 4/6/06
Spirit Seeks Alternate Winter Science Station
Spirit Status for sol Sols 796-804

On the way to north-facing slopes on "McCool Hill" between outcrops nicknamed "Oberth" and "Korolev," Spirit ran into an impassable, sandy area. To increase solar power output, Spirit's handlers redirected the rover to a closer north-facing slope in an area known as "Low Ridge" or "Low Ridge Haven," about 20 meters away from the rover's position on sol 802 (April 5, 2006). Spirit continued to make progress in that direction after successfully exiting the sandy area on sol 799 (April 2, 2006).

Sol-by-sol highlights:

Sol 796 (March 30, 2006): In an attempt to get the rover out of some slippery sand, engineers planned a 5-meter (16-foot) drive. Spirit terminated the drive after less than one meter (3 feet) due to excessive slip.

Sol 797: Spirit recharged the batteries and conducted atmospheric remote sensing.

Sol 798: Spirit conducted targeted remote sensing, which included observations of the rover's own tracks using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 799: Rover planners designed a drive that finally got Spirit out of the sandy stuff. Spirit drove 5.8 meters (19 feet) to firmer ground.

Sol 800: Spirit recharged the batteries and conducted atmospheric remote sensing.

Sol 801: Rover handlers transmitted drive commands to Spirit via the Odyssey spacecraft. Uplink time, however, was shorter than expected, and only 10 of 16 drive sequences made it on board. The rover remained healthy but did not execute the plan.

Sol 802: Spirit successfully drove 8.2 meters (27 feet), experiencing maximum slip of only 11 percent.

Sol 803: Drive plans call for moving the rover closer to "Low Ridge Haven," using post-drive images to design a safe approach.

Sol 804 (April 7, 2006): Planned activities include recharging the batteries, monitoring dust and observing clouds.

Odometry:

As of sol 802 (April 5, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,853.98 meters (4.26 miles).

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