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Daily Update - 4/24/07
Imaging 'Alicante'
Opportunity Status for sol 1145-1151

Over the last week, Opportunity investigated the second of two "dark streak" soil targets named "Alicante." The sol 1145 Mössbauer touch sequence that was commanded did not make contact with the soil because of a minor targeting discrepancy. Since the Mössbauer touch is used as a reference point for determining where to start taking the microscopic images, the lack of contact caused the images taken sol 1145 to be out of focus. As a result, the team decided to stay another two sols and reacquire the in-situ observations on Alicante. Now, Opportunity is headed southeast towards "Tierra del Fuego" to begin another remote sensing campaign.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Each sol includes a mini-miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground observation in the morning, right before transitioning to the next sol's master sequence.

Sol 1145 (April 14, 2007): On this sol, the rover was scheduled to touch the ground with its Mössbauer spectrometer. After the touch, microscopic images were taken and then the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was placed on the soil target Alicante. The rover's panoramic camera imaged targets "Huesca" and "Granada." Before the Mars Odyssey pass, the panoramic camera took a tau measurement. During the Odyssey pass, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer took a sky and ground measurement. The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was integrated for about six hours. Also, there were four miniature thermal emission spectrometer thermal inertia observations at various times of day.

Sol 1146: The rover changed tools to the Mössbauer spectrometer and integrated for 12 hours. The panoramic camera completed a high-sun survey while the navigation camera supported the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The panoramic camera imaged "Cordoba" and "Colmenero." The miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a 7-pt sky and ground observation and the panoramic camera took a tau measurement.

Sol 1147: During the morning of this sol, the panoramic camera examined the sky and the horizon. The rover then restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer and integrated for 12 hours. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer then got busy by taking a low-angle sky measurement, then completing a sky and ground observation and then, ultimately, staring at its calibration target. Before the Odyssey pass, the rover took a tau measurement with its panoramic camera.

Sol 1148: In the morning of this sol, the panoramic camera took thumbnail images of the sky. Again the Mössbauer spectrometer was commanded to touch the soil and the microscopic imager took pictures. The rover then placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on Alicante. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer took a sky and ground measurement and the panoramic camera took a tau measurement. Before the Odyssey pass a tau measurement was taken and, during the pass, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer observed the sky and ground. After the Odyssey pass, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was integrated on Alicante for about six hours.

Sol 1149: Opportunity looked for clouds with its navigation camera this morning. The rover then placed the Mössbauer spectrometer on Alicante and integrated for about 12 hours. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted thermal inertia stares as well as a sky and ground measurement. The panoramic camera took a 13-filter image of target "Granada." Before the Odyssey pass, the rover took a tau measurement and, during the pass, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a sky and ground observation.

Sol 1150: Opportunity woke up this sol and had a look at the sky with its panoramic and navigation cameras. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer also conducted a thermal inertia stare in the morning. The rover bumped back 1 meter (3.3 feet) and took a panoramic camera 13-filter image of Alicante. Opportunity then drove 42.79 meters (140.39 feet) towards Tierra del Fuego. After the drive, the rover took images with its hazard avoidance, navigation and panoramic cameras. Before the Odyssey pass, the rover took a tau measurement and, during the pass, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a sky and ground observation.

Sol 1151: The rover woke up and conducted a sky survey (including a high-sun survey). The miniature thermal emission spectrometer was busy with a 7-point sky and ground observation and a stare at the ground immediately in front of the rover. The panoramic camera also imaged the ground in front of the rover with its 13 filters.

As of sol 1150, Opportunity's total odometry is 10,486.20 meters (6.52 miles).

Daily Update - 4/23/07
Spirit Continues Studies of Rocks Near 'Home Plate'
Spirit Status for sol 1164-1171

After a few attempts, Spirit finally made it to the outcrop called "Madeline English," where the rover is performing scientific studies. Madeline English is interesting because of the apparent presence of clasts -- rock fragments -- in the outcrop. Scientists are interested in determining whether the clasts have a different composition from surrounding material. If it is different, it would be one factor supporting the hypothesis that Madeline English is one of the lowest stratigraphic layers in the region.

Spirit also performed a remote sensing campaign on rocks nicknamed "Elise Harney," "Carol Habben," "Senaida Wirth," "Charlene Barnett," "Alice Haylett," and "Clara Zaph." These and other rock targets are currently being named after deceased members of the All-American Girls Profession Baseball League.

Another rock known as "Elizabeth Mahon" is interesting because it has the highest silica level of any rock analyzed on Mars. Processes that elevate the silica content in a rock generally involve liquid water.

Spirit also began began acquiring a large mosaic, known as the "Ballpark Panorama," of images of the "Home Plate" area using the panoramic camera.

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels and surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit conducted the following activities:

Sol 1164 (April 12, 2007): Spirit made a second attempt to bump into position next to Madeline English and acquired end-of-drive nagivation camera images.

Sol 1165: Spirit started the day by acquiring panoramic camera images of Carol Habben, then acquired panoramic camera images of Elise Harney.

Sol 1166: Spirit watched for dust devils in the morning and then attempted for a third time to bump into position next to Madeline English. The rover acquired end-of-drive images using the navigation camera.

Sol 1167: Spirit acquired early morning images of Elise Harney with the panoramic camera, then acquired panoramic camera images of Carol Habben. The rover surveyed Senaida Wirth, Charlene Barnett, and Alice Haylett with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1168: Spirit searched for dust devils in the morning, then unstowed the robotic arm and acquired microscopic images of a particular exposure of Madeline English known as "Belles." The rover surveyed Clara Zaph with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and studied Belles using the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1169: Spirit scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera and acquired data from Belles using the Moessbauer spectrometer. The rover acquired panoramic camera images of Home Plate.

Sol 1170: Spirit acquired panoramic images of the sky and watched for dust devils. Spirit then restarted the Moessbauer spectrometer for continued analysis of Belles before beginning work on the Ballpark Panorama.

Sol 1171 (April 19, 2007): Spirit scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera and acquired microscopic images of rock targets known as "Peaches" and "BlueSox" in addition to Madeline English, along with a light-colored soil target known as "Everett." The rover continued work on the Ballpark Panorama and prepared to start work the following day on a survey of white material in the rover's tracks using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry

As of sol 1169 (April 17, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,093 meters (4.4 miles).

Daily Update - 4/16/07
Investigating a Dark Streak
Opportunity Status for sol 1139-1144

Opportunity is healthy and spent the last week investigating the dark material trailing north from "Victoria Crater." The plan this week included two brief robotic arm campaigns at different areas roughly 33 meters (108 feet) apart. Opportunity will collect a series of microscopic images and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integrations on the soil along with other remote science observations.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Each sol starts with a panoramic camera tau and miniature thermal emission spectrometer mini sky and ground stare right after handing over from the previous sol's master sequence. At the end of each sol's plan, right before transitioning to the following sol, there is a navigation camera bitty cloud observation and a miniature thermal emission spectrometer mini sky and ground stare.

Sol 1139 (April 8, 2007): Opportunity conducted remote sensing on the dark streak. The rover then took stereo microscopic images of "Palencia" and "Pontevedra." Opportunity then moved its robotic arm out of the way to prepare for argon integration position. The panoramic camera was then used to image the rover tracks. The rover began alpha particle X-ray spectromter argon integration. Opportunity then had a mini deep sleep. After waking, the rover looked for clouds with its navigation camera. The panoramic camera was used to image the sky.

Sol 1140: On this sol, Opportunity continued to conduct remote sensing on the dark streak. The rover then placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on the soil. The panoramic camera conducted some photometry, then took a 13-filter image of track target "Zamora." The miniature thermal emission spectrometer examined Zamora and then the undisturbed soil behind it. The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was then placed on the soil. The rover then went into deep sleep.

Sol 1141: Opportunity continued remote sensing on the dark streak. The panoramic camera took a panoramic image to test for albedo (light reflectivity). The miniature thermal emission spectrometer did a 7-point sky & ground stare. Before the Mars Odyssey pass, the panoramic camera was used for photometry experiments. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted an elevation sky & ground stare and then it stared at the calibration target. After a deep sleep, the navigation camera looked for clouds in the sky.

Sol 1142: On the morning of this sol, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a mini sky & ground stare. The rover then drove 31.23 meters (102.5 feet) to a second location in the dark streak. The navigation camera imaged a future robotic arm target and the panoramic camera imaged a future drive direction and then took a tau measurement.

Sol 1143: Opportunity bumped 2.21 meters (7.3 feet). The panoramic camera took a tau measurement and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer did a sky and ground stare. Before it moved again, Opportunity took a 13-filter panoramic camera image of target "Alicante." The rover then stowed its arm and drove about 3 meters (9.8 feet) to Alicante. Opportunity then unstowed its arm and autoplace software put it on Alicante. A microscopic image mosaic of Alicante was taken. The Moessbauer spectrometer did a quick touch of Alicante before the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was placed on the target. Before the Odyssey pass, the panoramic camera took a tau measurement. During the orbiter's pass, Opportunity's miniature thermal emission spectrometer did a sky and ground stare. After the Odyssey pass, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer was integrated on target Alicante.

Sol 1144: This sol saw more remote sensing on the dark streak. The panoramic camera took a tau measurement, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer did a sky and ground stare. The panoramic camera took a 13-filter image of "Avila," and then the miniature thermal emission spectrometer stared at the same target. Before the Odyssey pass, the panoramic camera took another tau measurement. During the pass, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted an elevation sky and ground stare. The rover then went into deep sleep.

As of sol 1143, Opportunity's total odometry is 10,443.41 meters (6.5 miles).

Daily Update - 4/12/07
Spirit Continues Studies En Route to 'Home Plate'
Spirit Status for sol 1159-1163

Spirit is healthy and has completed a campaign of scientific studies of a rock outcrop known as "Elizabeth Mahon," on the edge of "Home Plate." Spirit is now en route to another outcrop nicknamed "Madeline English." The route involves driving backward, turning around, backing up, parking in parallel between two sizable rocks flanking the target, pivoting clockwise on the stuck right front wheel, and finally "crabbing" forward to the target. Spirit performs crabbing by steering the two rear wheels toward the stuck right front wheel, thus opposing resistance from the right front wheel and keeping yawing (swinging from side to side) to a minimum.

Spirit executed the "parallel parking" portion of the trip on the rover’s 1,162nd Martian day, or sol, of exploration (April 10, 2007). The final "crab" portion was planned for sol 1164 (April 12, 2007). After the investigation of Madeline English, plans called for the rover to head north to one of several possible "on-ramps" for driving onto Home Plate.

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels and surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit conducted the following activities:

Sol 1159 (April 7, 2007): Spirit acquired data from Elizabeth Mahon using the Moessbauer spectrometer, acquired panoramic camera images of a target known as "Tars Tarkas," and studied a rock known as "Johanna Hargraves" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1160: Spirit acquired full-color images using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera of Elizabeth Mahon before driving south and taking a mosaic of navigation camera images.

Sol 1161: Spirit acquired a survey of rock clasts using the panoramic camera, a survey at high sun with the panoramic camera, data using the Moessbauer spectrometer from a target known as "Muriel Coben" and a rock called "Elise Harney," and data on atmospheric density of argon gas using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1162: Spirit drove north toward Madeline English and acquired a mosaic of navigation camera images.

Sol 1163: Spirit watched for dust devils using the WATCH computer program, acquired full-color images of Madeline English using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, studied a rock exposure known as "Phyllis Wise 2" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired full-color panoramic camera images of the rock known as "Phyllis Wise."

Odometry

As of sol 1162 (April 10, 2007), Spirit’s total odometry was 7,092.29 meters (4.41 miles).

Daily Update - 4/9/07
Characterizing Wind Streaks
Opportunity Status for sol 1131-1138

Opportunity is healthy and is attempting to characterize the dark wind streak material which emanates from Victoria Crater as seen from orbital images.

On Sol 1132 the team planned a four-hour alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration to measure atmospheric Argon. The purpose of this measurement is to determine the atmospheric mixing processes and track their changes with time.

Sol 1137 included a test of a fix for a steering bias bug in the mobility flight software. This is the fix for the problem the team saw on sol 1114, when the software selected an arc that was 13 degrees off course from the goal.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to Opportunity's usual observations of panoramic camera tau, navigation camera cloud captures, miniature thermal emission sky and ground stares, and panoramic camera sky spots, the rover did the following:

Sol 1131 (March 30, 2007): On this sol, Opportunity's panoramic camera began to take the first half of a long baseline stereo image of "Valley Without Peril." The navigation camera was used to fill gaps in the previous sol's panorama. The panoramic camera was then used again to image target "Almeria." The miniature thermal emission spectrometer also observed Almeria.

Sol 1132: Opportunity bumped 5.6 meters (18.4 feet) to the second eye location of the stereo panorama of Valley Without Peril. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer observed target "Barcelona." The alpha particle X-ray spectromter completed a four-hour atmospheric Argon measurement.

Sol 1133: On this sol, the rover continued the long baseline stereo second eye image of Valley Without Peril and also conducted remote sensing.

Sol 1134: Opportunity drove to a bright spot between wind streaks to set up for microscopic imaging and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer measurements on sol 1135. The rover took panoramic camera images at three different times during the sol as part of a photometry experiment.

Sol 1135: On this sol, Opportunity used the microscopic imager to examine the soil target "Salamanca," in the bright spot area between wind streaks.

Sol 1136: Opportunity used the microscopic imager and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on soil target "Sevilla." The miniature thermal emission spectrometer did a foreground survey and the panoramic camera was used to image the rover tracks.

Sol 1137: The rover drove about 35 meters (115 feet) to middle of a wind streak and then took images with its panoramic camera as part of a photometry experiment.

Sol 1138: On this sol, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer completed a foreground survey. The panoramic camera conducted a 13-filter foreground survey and took more images for the photometry experiment.

Current Odometry:

As of sol 1134, Opportunity's total odometry is 10,373.19 meters (6.45 miles).

Daily Update - 4/9/07
Spirit Studies Rocks En Route to "Home Plate"
Spirit Status for sol 1152-1158

Spirit Studies Rocks En Route to "Home Plate"

Posted April 09, 2007 for Sols 1152-1158

Spirit is healthy and performing scientific studies of an outcrop of light-toned clasts and cobbles nicknamed "Elizabeth Mahon" on the edge of "Home Plate" as well as a pockmarked rock outcrop nicknamed "Madeline English."

To get around obstacles and make progress over rough terrain using only five wheels, Spirit drove backward a few meters, pivoted around the front wheel, drove backward another few meters, pivoted again to face Madeline English, and finally pushed forward to reach the rock with scientific instruments on the robotic arm.

After investigating Madeline English, the rover will head back north to one of several possible "on-ramps" for driving onto Home Plate.

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels and surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit conducted the following activities:

Sol 1152 (March 31, 2007): Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a rock exposure known as "Clara Zaph" in addition to miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from "Clara Zaph 1," "Clara Zaph 2," and "Clara Zaph 3." The rover surveyed the sky and ground and targets known as "Rita Briggs" and "Twila Shively" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and completed a survey with the sun low in the sky using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1153: Spirit turned southeast and drove backward 4 meters over the target Elizabeth Mahon to place it within the work volume of the rover's scientific instruments. Spirit acquired post-drive images using the navigation camera and relayed data to the Odyssey orbiter overnight.

Sol 1154: Spirit acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera and measured argon using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1155: Spirit unstowed the robotic arm, placed the Moessbauer spectrometer on Elizabeth Mahon, and acquired data overnight. The rover acquired a mosaic of panoramic camera images facing the drive direction and relayed data to Odyssey overnight.

Sol 1156: Spirit continued to acquire overnight data from Elizabeth Mahon using the Moessbauer spectrometer. Spirit acquired full-color images using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera of a target known as "Madeline English 2." The rover acquired miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from Madeline English 2 and targets known as "Betty Hill" and "Madeline English 3."

Sol 1157: Spirit changed tools from the Moessbauer spectrometer to the microscopic imager and acquired a mosaic of microscopic images of Elizabeth Mahon. The rover placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the target and collected data overnight while also relaying relayed data to the Odyssey orbiter. Spirit scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera and acquired full-color images of white soil using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 1158 (April 6, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to acquire overnight data using the Moessbauer spectrometer, panoramic camera images of Madeline English, and miniature thermal emission spectrometer data on targets known as "Noreen Arnold," "Carol Habben," and "Phyllis Wise."

Odometry

As of sol 1153 (April 1, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,077.10 meters (4.40 miles).

Daily Update - 4/2/07
Spirit Begins to Look for Best Access to 'Home Plate'
Spirit Status for sol 1145 - 1151

Spirit is healthy and has finished her science campaign at "Mitcheltree Ridge." The rover is now heading south along the outside edge of "Home Plate" toward an outcrop named "Madeline English." After the investigation of Madeline English the rover will head back north to one of several possible "on-ramps" for making its way onto Home Plate. In the early morning of sol 1151 Spirit will perform its first overnight communications relay with Mars Odyssey since before winter (sol 846)!

So-by-sol summary:

In addition to specific daily activities, Spirit's conducted routine atmospheric observations, which include: panoramic camera tau measurements, miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground stares, and panoramic camera sky spots.

Sol 1145 (March 24, 2007): On this sol, the rover continued Moessbauer spectrometer observations on targets "Torquas 2," and completed Mini-TES stares on "Throxus," "Arbok," "Malagor," "Glorestra," "Syl" and "Polodona." Spirit also began a panoramic camera image of Mitcheltree Ridge (North).

Sol 1146: Spirit took a microscopic stereo image of target "John Carter" and completed miniature thermal emission spectrometer stares on targets "Forandus," "Iss" and "Thavas." The rover took an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer reading on John Carter and continued its panoramic camera image of Mitcheltree Ridge (North).

Sol 1147: Spirit captured a navigation camera dust devil sequence and continued on dust devil watch. The rover also began a panoramic camera 13-Filter of Mitcheltree Ridge. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer was used to stare at targets "Darseen" and "Faget." The rover also conducted some panoramic camera photometry experiments.

Sol 1148: The rover stowed its instrument deployment device ("arm"), drove towards Home Plate and then conducted post-drive navigation and panoramic camera imaging. The panoramic camera captured sky thumbnails and the navigation camera shot another dust devil sequence.

Sol 1149: On this sol, the panoramic camera conducted a high sun survey. The rover also took a miniature thermal emission spectrometer 5-point sky & ground stare and a navigation camera dust devil sequence.

Sol 1150: Spirit used its panoramic camera to image nearby outcrop, then drove 8 meters (26 feet) south-southeast toward Madeline English. After the drive, the navigation camera and the panoramic cameras took images.

Sol 1151: Overnight, there was an Odyssey data relay. The panoramic camera conducted a clast survey (looking at rock fragments) and then monitored for dust.

As of sol 1150, Spirit's total odometry was 7,066 meters (4.39 miles).

Daily Update - 4/2/07
Looking For an 'In'
Opportunity Status for sol 1126-1130

Opportunity is healthy and working on obtaining a long baseline stereo image of the bay "Valley without Peril."

On Sol 1128 a test of a work around for the failed RAT (rock abrasion tool) grind encoder was successful. A temporary software addition allows the rover to bypass a check that was causing it to fail.

The remainder of the week was spent driving toward a lookout point above the Valley without Peril. From this vantage point, Opportunity will acquire a long baseline stereo image of the vicinity. Valley Without Peril is being considered as a possible ingress location into "Victoria Crater."

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to specific daily activities, Opportunity's routine observations include: panoramic camera tau, navigation camera bitty cloud, miniature thermal emission sky and ground stares and panoramic camera sky spots.

Sol 1126 (March 25, 2007): Opportunity took a pre-drive navigation camera long baseline stereo image before it drove 39 meters (128 feet) toward the Valley without Peril. After the drive, the rover took navigation and panoramic camera images and took an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer measurement of atmospheric Argon.

Sol 1127: On this sol, the rover approached the Valley without Peril. The drive stopped prematurely after 2.11 meters (7 feet) because the rover's antennas obstructed the view from the onboard navigation software. The rover did a location check and then began post-drive imaging. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer was then used for navigation camera support and to assess the ground in front of the rover.

Sol 1128: This sol consisted of RAT (rock abrasion tool) grind diagnostics tests. The tests were successful! The panoramic camera took a 13-filter image of "Gerona." The miniature thermal emission spectrometer stared at "Burgos" and Gerona. The panoramic camera took a 13-filter of Burgos.

Sol 1129: On this sol, Opportunity drove about 8.71 meters (29 feet) on the approach to the first-eye position of long baseline stereo panoramic camera image of the Valley without Peril area. The rover then took a set of post-drive navigation camera images.

Sol 1130: Opportunity took a panoramic camera 13-filter image of "Albacete," a panoramic camera image of "Toledo," and several panoramic camera images of "Cadiz." The miniature thermal emission spectrometer was then used to stare at Toledo and the area around it. The rover then bumped about 2.5 meters (8 feet) to the first-eye position for stereo imaging of the Valley without Peril. After the drive, the navigation camera took images.

As of sol 1129, Opportunity's total odometry was 10,349.70 meters (6.43 miles).

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