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Daily Update - 5/27/05
Still Progressing Through Dune
Opportunity Status for sol 469-475

Opportunity continues to make slow progress through the sand dune, at a slip rate of roughly 99.5 percent. From the time Opportunity resumed driving after digging into the dune until May 26, drives totaling 64.8 meters (about 213 feet) of wheel rotations have been commanded and executed, producing 34.8 centimeters (1.1 feet) of forward progress.

Opportunity has also been performing atmospheric observations. Each sol the rover takes two measurements of how clear the sky is, checks for clouds, and does a Sun survey. A few sols ago a daily horizon survey was added, and Opportunity also imaged its magnets with the panoramic camera.

Sol-by-sol summaries:
Sol 469 (ending on May 20):
Two meters (6.6 feet) of commanded motion, resulting in 1.1 centimeters (0.4 inch) of progress.

Sol 470:
Twelve meters (39 feet) of commanded motion; about 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) of progress.

Sol 471:
Twelve meters (39 feet) of commanded motion; about 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) of progress.

Sol 472:
Twelve meters (39 feet) of motions was commanded. Only the first 2 meters were executed. After that step, the rover stopped the drive by itself due to uncertainty about its own position. One centimeter (0.4 inch) of progress was made.

Sol 473:
Planning was suspended today due to issues with the ground data system. The rover executed a pre-loaded science sequence.

Sol 474:
Eight-meter (26-foot) drive planned, yielding 3.7 centimeter (1.5 inches) of progress.

Sol 475 (ending on May 26, 2005):
Ten-meter (33-foot) drive planned; 8.8 meters (29 feet) executed; 3.5 centimeters (1.4 inches) of progress

Looking ahead:
Thursday, May 26, the team planned two sols (476 and 477), and Friday, May 27, the team is planning three sols to cover the holiday weekend. Sol 476 will command 12 meters (39 feet), and every other sol will require a "go/no-go" decision that will allow for 0 meters, 2 meters (7 feet), or 12 meters (39 feet) of commanded motion per sol.

Daily Update - 5/27/05
Spirit is Power Positive
Spirit Status for sol 490-496

Spirit is healthy and power positive. Spirit is doing some remarkable science at "Larry's Outcrop," moving along the edge of this spot that looks stereotypically Mars-like. As Spirit drives from place to place, the rover reaches out with its robotic arm and samples rocks.

Sol-by-sol summaries:
Sols 490 to 493 (May 19 to 22, 2005):
Over the weekend, Spirit traveled to a location informally called "Paros." On Earth, Paros is one of the Cyclades Islands and lies 96 miles southeast from Athens, Greece. While stopped at Paros on Mars, Spirit used the microscopic imager, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and the Moessbauer spectrometer to examine surface details.

Sols 494 to 496:
Spirit finished up observing Paros with the microscopic imager, stowed the robotic arm, and moved to a new spot. While making a final approach, Spirit typically takes images with the hazard-identification cameras. Spirit uses these images to determine whether or not it is safe to deploy the robotic arm. Fortunately, this time, not only did Spirit discover that it was safe to deploy the robotic arm, but the camera also captured a lone dust devil far off in the image.

Sol 495-498 (May 24 - May 27, 2005):
With Spirit now secure in a new location, the team's plan is for the rover to take pictures with the microscopic imager, brush rocks with the rock abrasion tool, use the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, and place the Moessbauer spectrometer on a target to read it for about 46 hours.

Daily Update - 5/20/05
Moving Slowly in the Dune
Opportunity Status for sol 467-470

Opportunity continues to make inch-by-inch progress toward getting out of the dune where it has been dug-in since sol 446 (April 26).

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 467 (May 17):
Opportunity was commanded to rotate its wheels enough to have rolled 4 meters (13 feet) if there were no slippage. It advanced 2.1 centimeters (0.8 inch) through the loose material of the dune.

Sol 468:
A commanded motion of 8 meters (26 feet) was executed this sol. Forward progress was about 4 centimeters (1.6 inches).

Sol 469:
A 2-meter (7-foot) drive was commanded, and Opportunity advanced about 1 centimeter (0.4 inch).

Sol 470 (May 20):
The rover was sent commands for a 12-meter (39-foot) drive. This drive incorporates larger step sizes, lower current limits for the drive motors, and a lower bogie angle limit.

Daily Update - 5/20/05
Spirit Drives to 'Larry's Outcrop'
Spirit Status for sol 483-489

Spirit finished work at the target "Reef." Over the weekend (May 14 and 15), Spirit performed work using the instruments on the robotic arm on a target informally called, "Davis" on "Jibsheet." Work included use of the microscopic imager, the rock abrasion tool brush, a long alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration, and a long Moessbauer spectrometer integration. Spirit spent 2 sols (May 17 and 18) driving to "Larry's Outcrop." Upon arrival, Spirit took detailed navigation camera and panoramic camera observations in support of possible robotic arm work on Larry's Outcrop. Spirit remains in excellent health.

Total odometry as of May 19, 2005, is 4,368.07 meters (2.71 miles).

Daily Update - 5/17/05
Progress Inch-by-Inch for Opportunity
Opportunity Status for sol 465-466

On Opportunity's first three drives to get out of the sand trap, the rover has advanced a total of 7.4 centimeters (2.9 inches) in getting off the dune. Each of the first two drives -- one on sol 463 and one on sol 465 -- turned the wheels about two and a half rotations, enough to drive two meters (7 feet) if there were no slippage. Images from the hazard-avoidance cameras taken during the drives show that some of caked powder adhering to wheels between cleats had come off. The team was encouraged by the results, and decided go ahead with a 4-meter (13-foot) commanded drive for sol 466.

Sol-by- sol summaries:
Sol 465 (May 15, 2005):
Opportunity rotated its wheels in a series of 10 steps, each step enough to roll 20 centimeters (7.9 inches) if there were no slippage. The wheels are slipping a great deal in the sand of the dune, but the rover advanced better than anticipated from simulated tests, covering 1.9 centimeters (0.7 inch). The rover used its panoramic camera for observations of the sky and dunes.

Sol 466 (May 16, 2005):
Results from the sol 465 drive were good (some wheel cleats are clean and the rover is making forward progress), so the team commanded a drive that, if there were no slippage, would roll 4 meters (13 feet), consisting of ten 40-centimeter (16 inch) steps. Opportunity gained an additional 2.7 centimeters (1.1 inch). The panoramic camera made more observations of the atmosphere and dunes.

Daily Update - 5/17/05
Spirit Observing 'Reef'
Spirit Status for sol 477-482

Spirit remains in excellent health. On sols 477, 478 and 479 (May 7 to May 9, 2005), Spirit made observations with remote-sensing instruments and analyzed soil targets with its alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and Moessbauer spectrometer. Spirit then performed a short drive to a target called "Keel," on the outcrop called "Jibsheet." On sol 481, Spirit was able to begin observing a target called "Reef," using the microscopic imager and performing a 16-hour integration with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. On sol 482 (May 12), Spirit continued work on Reef with instruments on the robotic arm, and performed a 21-hour integration with the Moessbauer spectrometer.

Spirit's total odometry as of May 12, 2005, is 4,341.19 meters (2.70 miles).

Daily Update - 5/14/05
Opportunity Begins Careful Rollout
Opportunity Status for sol sol 464

Opportunity rotated its wheels on sol 463 for the first time since the rover dug itself into a sand dune more than two weeks earlier. The wheels made about two and a half rotations, as commanded, and the results were a good match for what was expected from tests on Earth. In the loose footing, the rover advanced 2.8 centimeters (1.1 inch) forward, 4.8 millimeters (0.19 inch) sideways and 4.6 millimeters (0.18 inch) downward. After further analysis of the results, the rover team will decide whether to repeat the same careful movement again on sol 465. Meanwhile Opportunity's main tasks for sol 464 were remote-sensing observations.

Daily Update - 5/13/05
Opportunity Mission Manager Report for Sols 456-463
Opportunity Status for sol 456-463

Opportunity has started moving its wheels again after a couple weeks of holding still while taking some amazing images. While waiting for the rover team to finish tests for planning the best strategy for driving out of a sand trap, Opportunity has been busy taking a comprehensive color panorama of the area. On sol 461 (May 11), Opportunity straightened its wheels. After checking data and images confirming the success of that move, the team planned commands for beginning to rotate the wheels on sol 463 (May 13). The rover is healthy and ready to go.

Sol 456 - 460 The rover's situation, dug into a sand dune, limited in the amount and type of science possible. While sitting here, Opportunity has taken the opportunity to take a 360 panorama of the area called "Rub al Khali," a name meaning the "empty quarter," from a region of the Arabian Peninsula with that name. During sol 456, power engineer Eric Wood happily recognized a cleaning event. Winds removed some dust from solar panels and Opportunity's daily energy supply increased to about 650 watt-hours, from a recent range of about 620 to 630 watt-hours.

Sol 461: Today Opportunity was allowed to position its wheels to their egress direction. The plan is for the rover to leave the sand trap with an arc, moving forward and slightly to the left. The wheels were placed in that position. Before this sol's steering move, the wheels were in position from a turn in place that was Opportunity's last attempted move on sol 446.

Sol 462: Opportunity is still in restricted sols, and is precluded from driving today, so the rover spent the day taking some additional panoramic camera frames of Rub al Khali.

Sol 463 (May 13): After confirming the new position of the wheels, the team proceeded with plans for Opportunity to rotate its wheels about two and a half times on sol 463. Results from that move will be evaluated before rotating them some more.

Daily Update - 5/11/05
Spirit Checking Out Pittsburgh
Spirit Status for sol 471-476

After finishing robotic-arm work at a rock called "Keystone" in the "Methuselah" outcrop, Spirit backed off to image the rock with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit then scooted forward and to the left to another Methuselah target, informally called "Pittsburgh" (taking the name from Pennsylvania, the "Keystone State"). The rover executed the drive perfectly, however the left front wheel was not quite in contact with the ground, and was presumably perched on a pebble. Since there was a possibility of slipping off of this pebble during work with the robotic arm, the engineering team reworked the sol's plan to bump backwards 5 centimeters (2 inches, the shortest planned drive on Mars) and wiggle the wheels. Work using the instruments on the robotic arm commenced the next sol, when the rover was stable once again. For sol 476 (May 6, 2005), the team planned a bump back to image Pittsburgh with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and a drive towards "Jibsheet." Since Jibsheet is at least a 2-sol drive away, the team planned the drive to a standoff distance to collect panoramic camera images and do robotic arm work on a soil target.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 471 (May 1, 2005): Spirit took pictures of Keystone with its microscopic imager and its panoramic camera after the rock was scrubbed with the brush on the rock abrasion tool. Spirit also took a reading of Keystone with the Moessbauer spectrometer.

Sol 472: Spirit took more Moessbauer spectrometer readings on Keystone.

Sol 473: Spirit stowed the robotic arm, drove a short distance backwards and finished imaging Keystone. Then, Spirit drove to the target dubbed Pittsburgh.

Sol 474: Spirit bumped back 5 centimeters (2 inches) to a stable configuration, and then made coordinated observations with the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 475: Spirit took pictures of Pittsburgh with the microscopic imager both before and after the target area was brushed with the rock abrasion tool. Spirit then took a reading on Pittsburgh with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 476 (May 6, 2005): Spirit stowed the robotic arm, bumped backwards and finished imaging Pittsburgh, then drove toward Jibsheet.

Total odometry as of the end of sol 476 (May 6, 2005) is 4,339 meters (2.70 miles).

Daily Update - 5/6/05
Testing on Earth Before Moving on Mars
Opportunity Status for sol 449-455

Opportunity is imaging the plains and performing atmospheric science observations while waiting for engineers on Earth to give it the go-ahead to move. The team is diligently working to determine why Opportunity dug itself into a small dune, the best way to exit the dune, and what added precautions to use during future driving.

Sol-by-sol summaries:
Sols 449 to 455 (April 29 to May 5, 2005):
In JPL's In-situ Instrument Laboratory sandbox, engineers, scientists and even the project manager have been mixing sandy and powdery materials, digging holes and building dunes. A mixture was concocted to simulate properties of the soil underneath Opportunity, using sand, clay and diatomaceous earth (silica-rich powder composed mainly of microscopic plant shells, used in these tests for its texture, not its fossil origin). The team wants to have a full understanding of how Opportunity will respond before commanding it to back out of its current position.

Daily Update - 5/3/05
Continuing Exit Plan
Opportunity Status for sol 447-448

The Opportunity team continues working with an engineering test rover on Earth to determine the safest way to attempt to drive the rover out of the dune where it's currently parked on Mars. In the meantime, Opportunity is collecting science data with its instruments and cameras.

Sol-by-sol summaries:
Sol 447 (April 27, 2005):
Opportunity performed detailed remote sensing to support drive analysis, including images of the left and right tracks taken with the front hazard-avoidance camera, the rear hazard-avoidance camera and the panoramic camera. Opportunity also took panoramic camera images of the rippled dunes.

Sol 448:
Opportunity performed additional remote sensing. Opportunity used the panoramic camera to acquire images of the rover's far tracks, where Opportunity had performed a successful "K-turn" at the start of the drive on sol 446. A "K-turn" is the technique engineers have figured out for safely turning the rover 180 degrees while the right front wheel is stuck in a position of 7 degrees left of straight ahead. To turn 180 degrees, the rover makes smaller arcing movements without cranking the wheels as much as a normal during a 180-degree turn. These movements create a "K" shape in the soil. In addition, Opportunity acquired another panoramic camera image of the right track and a navigation camera image covering 360 degrees of the near deck of the rover.

As of sol 448 (ending on April 28, 2005), Opportunity's odometry total is 5,346 meters (3.32 miles).

Daily Update - 5/3/05
Spirit Analyzing 'Keystone'
Spirit Status for sol 456-462

Spirit is in excellent health. The rover has spent this week (April 22 to April 30, 2005) studying an outcrop called "Methuselah," focusing on the "Keystone" rock. Before Spirit drives away next week, it will have analyzed this feature with every tool in the science payload.

Sol-by-sol summaries:
Sol 462 (April 22, 2005):
Spirit drove 3.8 meters (12.7 feet) to reach a place to stop for the weekend and perform remote sensing.

Sol 463:
Spirit performed light remote sensing to save space in the flash memory for the weekend.

Sols 464-466:
Spirit took extensive imaging of Methuselah. It used its panoramic camera to shoot frames that will be joined together into a mosaic view. Spirit also took images with its miniature thermal emission spectrometer and made atmosphere observations.

Sol 467:
Spirit did a 4.75-meter (16-foot) drive to Keystone, a rock that is part of the Methuselah outcrop. The rover also used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer to examine a target informally called "Abigail."

Sol 468:
Spirit used the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to takes images of Abigail and another target called "Priscilla."

Sol 469:
Spirit took pictures of Keystone with the microscopic imager and performed an overnight alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration on Keystone.

Sol 470:
Spirit finished acquiring mosaic pictures of Keystone with the microscopic imager, dusted the target with the rock abrasion tool brush, and performed another overnight alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration.

As of sol 470 (ending on April 30, 2005), Spirit's odometry total is 4,310.68 meters (2.68 miles).

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