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Daily Update - 5/30/06
Dug Into Loose Soil Again
Opportunity Status for sol 825-834

Opportunity's wheels dug into loose soil during a drive on sol 833 (May 29, 2006). The drive was planned for about 24 meters (79 feet) but resulted in only 1.5 meters (5 feet) of forward progress. The flight team directed Opportunity on sol 834 to take images for studying the situation and planning a way to drive out of the loose material. Preliminary assessment indicates the wheels are not buried as deeply as when Opportunity's wheels become embedded in "Purgatory Dune" on sol 446. An escape drive may be attempted within a few days. The sol 833 drive was planned to stay in a trough between crests of ripples. Neither the trough nor the ripples were considered wheel-embedding hazards.

During the preceding eight sols, Opportunity executed both a robotic arm campaign and two more drives toward "Victoria Crater." The rover used its microscopic imager, alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, and Moessbaeur spectrometer on the soil target "Alamogordo Creek."

As Opportunity eases its way into the Martian winter season, rover planners have started to target energy-rich "lily pads" (regions with a northerly tilt) at the end of each drive. This way, planners can maximize the amount of sun on Opportunity's solar arrays.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 825 (May 20): The rover used its microscopic imager and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, and did targeted remote sensing.

Sol 826: Opportunity conducted targeted remote sensing, used its microscopic imager and did a Moessbauer spectrometer integration.

Sol 827: Opportunity did targeted remote sensing and continued the Moessbauer integration.

Sol 828: The rover drove 39.07 meters (128 feet) and did untargeted remote sensing.

Sol 829: Opportunity conducted untargeted remote sensing.

Sol 830: The rover drove about 28 meters (92 feet) and conducted untargeted remote sensing.

Sols 831 and 832: Opportunity did untargeted remote sensing on both of these sols.

Sol 833: Opportunity's wheels became partly buried in the loose soil during a drive that was intended to cover about 24 meters (79 feet).

Sol 834 (May 30): The plan for this sol included imaging to aid planning for a drive to get out of the loose material.

Odometry total as of Sol 828 (May 23): 7,940.57 meters (4.93 miles)

Daily Update - 5/26/06
Spirit Continues Studies of Martian "Winter Haven"
Spirit Status for sol 847-854

Spirit continued to collect images for the 360-degree panorama, now under construction, of the rover's "Winter Haven" on Mars. Rover planners anticipated that by the end of the Memorial Day weekend, Spirit would complete 15 of the 27 columns for the final product. Spirit also continued scientific studies of the soil target called "Progress" after brushing away about 6 millimeters (a quarter of an inch) of soil to reveal a second layer, dubbed "Progress 2." Rover team members prepared commands for the next round of scientific measurements, to include a 49.5-hour study divided over three Martian days, or sols, using the Moessbauer spectrometer.

Five of seven opportunities to transmit signals to Mars at higher-frequency X-band wavelengths were needed for higher-priority communications in support of aerobraking activities of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, so engineers continued sending commands to Spirit via the UHF link on the Mars Odyssey spacecraft.

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 847 (May 21, 2006): Spirit acquired a one-by-three mosaic for column 14 of the "McMurdo Panorama" and studied Progress 2 with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 848: Spirit acquired a one-by-two mosaic to finish column 14 of the McMurdo panorama. The rover conducted remote sensing with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer during the afternoon overflight of Odyssey.

Sols 849 to 851: In the absence of an uplink for new commands, Spirit executed the master sequence from sol 848. Spirit continued downlinking data to Earth and charged the battery.

Sol 852: Plans called for Spirit to place the Moessbauer spectrometer on Progress 2 and start overnight collection and integration of data.

Sol 853: Plans called for Spirit to re-start analysis with the Moessbauer spectrometer for 3.5 hours, acquire all three frames of column 15 of the McMurdo panorama, and make targeted observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 854 (May 29, 2006): Plans called for an overnight study of Progress 2 with the Moessbauer spectrometer.

Odometry

As of sol 850 (May 25, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).

Daily Update - 5/23/06
Checking Out 'Cheyenne' and Testing Relay for Phoenix
Opportunity Status for sol 818-824

Opportunity is healthy and continuing to make its way toward "Victoria Crater." Opportunity made 108 meters (354 feet) of progress in two sols of driving and was approximately 1,000 meters (just over half a mile) from Victoria Crater at the end of Sol 823.

Opportunity and NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter are conducting a set of demonstrations using the relay between the rover and orbiter to aid planning for communications during NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander mission, slated for launch in August 2007 and landing in May 2008.

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 818 (May 13, 2006): Opportunity investigated a rock target called "Cheyenne." It used the microscopic imager to examine the target, then used the rock abrasion tool's wire bristles to brush the target. After the brushing, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer collected data about what elements make up the rock. The rover also took images with the panoramic camera for a mosaic view from the location reached by Sol 817's drive.

Sol 819: Opportunity took a post-brush microscopic stereo image mosaic of Cheyenne and evaluated the target's mineral composition with the Moessbauer spectrometer. The rover also took a panoramic-camera image of "Pueblo," an area of layered outcrop.

Sol 820: Opportunity used its Moessbauer spectrometer on Cheyenne, observed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and used the navigation camera to check for clouds.

Sol 821: The rover took images of Cheyenne using the 13 filters of the panoramic camera. Then it drove about 36.64 meters (120 feet) and took pictures from the new location with the navigation camera and the panoramic camera. It also used the panoramic camera for observing the sky.

Sol 822: Opportunity used its navigation camera to do rearward-looking imaging and cloud scans. The rover also used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer to observe the sky and ground, and it worked with Odyssey to conduct the second part of the Phoenix relay test. (The first part was on Sol 812.)

Sol 823: Opportunity drove 71.2 meters (234 feet) then took images from the new location with the navigation camera and the panoramic camera. The rover also used the panoramic camera to evaluate the clarity of the atmosphere, monitor dust on the camera mast and observe the sky.

Sol 824 (May 19, 2006): On this sol, Opportunity took rearward-looking images with its navigation camera, observed the ground and sky with its miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and assessed atmospheric clarity with its panoramic camera. During the sol's relay pass with Odyssey, the rover used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer again to observe the sky and ground.

Opportunity's total odometry as of Sol 821 (May 16, 2006) was 7,829.99 meters (4.87 miles)

Daily Update - 5/19/06
Spirit Continues Winter Studies of Soil, Sky and Terrain
Spirit Status for sol 842-846

Spirit is healthy and making progress on a winter science campaign of experiments in Gusev Crater on Mars. Spirit has completed the first phase of a layer-by-layer soil study by collecting a mosaic of images with the microscopic imager and analyzing composition of undisturbed soil with the Moessbauer and alpha particle X-ray spectrometers. Spirit used the rock abrasion tool to brush away the top soil layer on Martian day, or sol, 830 (May 4, 2006). After that, the rover studied the brushed spot with the microscopic imager and Moessbauer and alpha particle X-ray spectrometers.

Before telling the rover to brush away a second layer, rover planners performed a test on sol 842 (May 16, 2006) to better characterize the position of the rock abrasion tool above the soil. The robotic arm performed as expected during the test. Removal of the second layer was planned for sol 845 (May 20, 2006).

Spirit also collected two additional columns of a 360-degree view called the "McMurdo panorama" and completed four targeted studies with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 842 (May 16, 2006): Spirit conducted a positioning test of the rover's robotic arm, including touching the Moessbauer spectrometer to the soil, collecting a two-by-two mosaic of images with the microscopic imager, and suspending the rock abrasion tool just above the soil surface. The test was successful. Spirit also conducted remote analysis of two targets, known as "Allan Hills" and "Dome Fuji," with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 843: Spirit acquired column 12 of the "McMurdo panorama" and conducted atmosphere studies with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 844: Spirit acquired column 13 of the "McMurdo panorama" and conducted remote sensing analysis of targets called "VonNeumayer" and "d'Urville" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 845: Plans called for Spirit to begin brushing away a second, 1-millimeter layer of soil from the target labeled "Progress" using the rock abrasion tool.

Sol 846 (May 21, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to recharge its batteries and transmit communications during an overnight pass of NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Odometry:

As of sol 836 (May 11, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).

Daily Update - 5/16/06
Excellent Progress Toward 'Victoria Crater'
Opportunity Status for sol 811-817

Opportunity examined the crest of a ripple and drove about 200 meters (656 feet), putting itself within about 1,100 meters (two-thirds of a mile) of "Victoria Crater." The ripple-crest inspection included a stereo look at target "Pecos River" with the microscopic imager.

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 811 (May 6, 2006): Opportunity took a stereo microscopic image of Pecos River. During the communication-relay UHF pass with NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter, the rover used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer on a target called "Horsehead." In the morning, the panoramic camera took images of Horsehead and "Chadbourne" with all 13 of the camera's filters.

Sol 812: The rover's miniature thermal emission spectrometer observed sky and ground targets. The panoramic camera checked dust on magnets and on the camera mast, and assessed the clarity of the atmosphere. Two afternoon UHF passes were used. The first was a UHF forward-link demonstration for the 2007 Phoenix Mars Lander mission, performed with Odyssey low in the sky.

Sol 813: Opportunity conducted a morning observation with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer during uplink of the day's commands, then took a pre-drive, 13-filter image of the work volume with the panoramic camera. The rover drove backwards for one hour, covering 40.14 meters (132 feet), and took post-drive images.

Sol 814: Opportunity did 1.5 hours of driving for 52.38 meters (172 feet) and did post-drive imaging. The drive used both blind driving (following a route chosen by rover planners) and autonomous navigation.

Sol 815: The rover drove 1.5 hours blind for 45.61 meters (150 feet).

Sol 816: This sol was an atmospheric-science day. Opportunity stowed its robotic arm and drove 1.5 hours for 38.12 meters (125 feet). The rover then unstowed its arm and took post-drive images. During the Odyssey uplink, Opportunity was able to do a sky and ground observation with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover took a pre-sunset image with the panoramic camera after the Odyssey pass.

Sol 817 (May 12, 2006): The activity plan for this sol included a drive of about 22 meters (72 feet).

Opportunity's total odometry as of sol 816 (May 11, 2006) was 7,769.52 meters (4.83 miles).

Daily Update - 5/11/06
Spirit Continues Studying Soil and Collecting Images
Spirit Status for sol 835-841

Spirit continued to make progress on collecting panoramic images of Martian terrain and conducting detailed studies of soil targets using the Moessbauer spectrometer. The rover acquired another column of the "McMurdo panorama" and continued to relay new data to Earth via the UHF antenna on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 835 (May 9, 2006): Spirit conducted scientific analysis of the soil target "Halley" using the Moessbauer spectrometer. Spirit also acquired panel 11 of the planned 27-panel, 360-degree, full-color view of the rover's surroundings known as the McMurdo panorama.

Sol 836: Spirit conducted remote sensing observations.

Sol 837: Spirit continued acquisition of scientific data from Halley using the Moessbauer spectrometer.

Sol 838: Spirit continued acquisition of scientific data from Halley using the Moessbauer spectrometer.

Sol 839 to 841 (May 13 to 15, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to move the rover's robotic arm back to the soil target nicknamed "Progress," where the rover previously brushed away a fine layer of soil. The next phase of the rover's detailed winter soil analysis experiment will be to conduct a three-day study of the brushed surface using the Moessbauer spectrometer. Plans for remote sensing were kept very light in order to devote resources to transmitting data acquired in recent weeks.

Odometry:

As of sol 836 (May 11, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).

Daily Update - 5/8/06
'Victoria' in View
Opportunity Status for sol 804-810

Opportunity executed a three-sol examination of "Brookville" outcrop with tools on the robotic arm. This work included microscopic imaging, a brushing, 16 total hours of integrated data gathering with the Moessbauer spectrometer, and an overnight integration with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. Then Opportunity stowed its arm and drove 107 meters (351 feet) in three sols, reaching a point estimated to be 1,279 meters (less than eight-tenths of a mile) from "Victoria Crater." The team believes the rim of the crater is becoming visible in a vertically stretched image looking south.

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 804 (April 28, 2006): This was the first sol of robotic arm work on Brookville. The rover took microscopic images, then brushed the target and followed with an afternoon data collection by the Moessbauer spectrometer. The rover observed a target called "Great Bend" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer during the afternoon communication-relay session with NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Sol 805: Opportunity did morning atmospheric science and positioned the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover used that spectrometer on Brookville until taking morning images of Gila Bend using 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 806: On the final sol of arm work on Brookville, Opportunity changed tools to the Moessbauer spectrometer and completed an afternoon integration. At 7:00 p.m. local solar time, the team stopped the integration and Opportunity did a mini-deep sleep.

Sol 807: The panoramic camera took 13-filter images of the arm's brushing target. Then Opportunity drove for 30 minutes. After driving, the rover observed the surroundings from its new position with the navigation camera and looked in the drive direction with the panoramic camera.

Sol 808: Opportunity drove for an hour and 10 minutes in the compass direction of 150 degrees (south southeast), then took images from its new location. During the afternoon, the rover made observations with the thermal emission spectrometer and used the panoramic camera to check atmospheric clarity. It used the deep-sleep mode overnight.

Sol 809: Opportunity took another 1-hour-and-10-minute drive followed by imaging and atmospheric science during the Odyssey pass.

Sol 810 (May 5, 2006): The rover was directed to take rear-looking images with the navigation camera during the morning of sol 810 as part of plan uplinked on sol 809. The plan for uplink on sol 810 includes a 15-meter (50-foot) approach to a target for using the robotic arm's tools to inspect ripple banding during the weekend, plus post-drive imaging with the navigation camera and panoramic camera.

As of sol 809 (May 4, 2006) Opportunity has driven 7,575.51 meters (4.71 miles).

Daily Update - 5/8/06
Spirit Begins First Interplanetary Layer-by-Layer Soil Analysis
Spirit Status for sol 828-834

Spirit is healthy and continuing to make progress on the rover's winter campaign of scientific experiments. This week Spirit continued work on the full-color, 360-degree "McMurdo panorama." The finished panorama will combine 27 columns of images. Scientists anticipate that Spirit will have finished collecting the first 10 of those columns by Martian day, or sol, 834 (May 8, 2006). Spirit also continued studies of two soil targets nicknamed "Progress" and "Halley."

A winter soil analysis experiment will involve a multi-step process of removing the Moessbauer spectrometer from the target, flipping the wrist joint at the end of the robotic arm to put it in a better position for exchanging tools, re-touching the target with the Moessbauer to confirm precise placement, and exchanging tools from the Moessbauer spectrometer to the rock abrasion tool. Using the brush at the end of the rock abrasion tool, Spirit will remove a layer of soil up to 1 millimeter thick (the thickness of a dime). During brushing, the rover will take a movie of the procedure with the right lens of the hazard-avoidance camera. After the brushing, the rover will acquire a microscopic image of the freshly exposed surface as well as a color image using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover will then start the process again and remove another layer of soil.

Spirit is also poised to begin a five-month, remote, photometric study of seasonal changes in surface properties of soil exposed in the rover's tracks.

As the newly arrived Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter continues the aerobraking phase of its mission (using friction from the Martian atmosphere to refine its orbit), high-frequency X-band communications directly between Spirit and Earth will not always be available. On sol 830 (May 4, 2006), NASA's Odyssey spacecraft began transmitting communications to Spirit at UHF frequencies.

Sol-by-sol summary

Sol 828 (May 2, 2006): Spirit conducted remote sensing and completed acquisition of column 8 of the McMurdo panorama.

Sol 829: Spirit conducted a third day of Moessbauer spectrometry of the Progress soil target, for a total of 69 hours of analysis of the target with the instrument.

Sol 830: Spirit began progressive brushing of loose soil for the first time and collected microscopic images.

Sol 831: Spirit conducted remote sensing, acquired column 9 of the McMurdo pan, and completed an 18-hour analysis of Progress with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 832: Plans called for Spirit to acquire microscopic images of Halley.

Sol 833: Plans called for Spirit to conduct remote sensing, acquire column 10 of the McMurdo pan, and complete a second 18-hour study of Progress with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 834 (May 8, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to continue remote sensing studies and begin monitoring changes in surface properties of soil exposed in the rover's tracks.

Odometry:

As of sol 831 (May 5, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).

Daily Update - 5/1/06
Opportunity Hits 800 Sol Mark!
Opportunity Status for sol 796-803

Opportunity is healthy and making good progress towards "Victoria Crater," with just under 1,400 meters (.86 mile) to go. The team spent several days this week setting up for some robotic arm work over the weekend, provided there is a good piece of outcrop in the work volume. Opportunity will continue driving next week.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 796 (April 20, 2006): Opportunity ended a drive after 2 meters (about 7 feet). Imaging taken before and after the drive was completed.

Sol 797: The rover conducted untargeted remote science, including panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer ground surveys and atmospheric measurements.

Sol 798: The rover completed targeted remote science, including panoramic camera images of targets "Junction City," "Chetopa," "Coffeyville" and "Salina," and miniature thermal emission spectrometer stares of "Junction City" and "Salina."

Sol 799: Opportunity had a great drive today, traveling approximately 44 meters (144 feet).

Sol 800(April 24, 2006): Happy 800! Opportunity drove 33.5 meters (110 feet) today, crossing a few small ripples and driving over an outcrop.

Sol 801: After taking a pre-drive image, Opportunity drove 28.3 meters (93 feet), down a couple of troughs and over a couple of ripples. Slip checks were used to prevent excessive driving in potentially slippery areas.

Sol 802: This sol's 13.8 meter (45 feet) drive was designed to move Opportunity closer to some outcrop the team would like to analyze with the robotic arm over the weekend.

Sol 803: The outcrop that ended up in the rover's work volume was fragmented, and not a desirable target. Rover planners designed a short 8-meter (26 feet) drive to a better target. The data from this drive was received on Earth early Friday (April 28, 2006).

As of Sol 802, Opportunity's total odometry was 7,456.56 meters (4.63 miles)

Daily Update - 5/1/06
Spirit Continues Winter Science Studies on Mars
Spirit Status for sol 820-827

Spirit remains healthy and is making good progress on the rover's winter campaign of scientific experiments. This week Spirit continued collecting a full-color, high-resolution, 360-degree panorama called the "McMurdo pan." When complete, the panorama will be a mosaic of 27 columns of images. The product could be finished in about six weeks, given power and data limitations.

Spirit also conducted scientific analysis of a soil target nicknamed "Progress" using the instruments on the rover's robotic arm.

Sol-by-sol highlights:

Sol 820 (April 24, 2006): Spirit worked on acquiring column 4 of the McMurdo pan and made ground observations using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 821: Spirit continued work on acquiring column 4 of the McMurdo pan and making ground observations using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 822: Spirit began characterization of the undisturbed soil surface of Progress using the microscopic imager and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover also began acquiring column 5 of the McMurdo pan and made observations with the miniature thermal X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 823: Spirit continued work on characterizing the undisturbed soil surface of Progress using the microscopic imager and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover also continued acquiring column 5 of the McMurdo pan and making observations with the miniature thermal X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 824: Spirit continued work on characterizing the undisturbed soil surface of Progress using the microscopic imager and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover also continued acquiring column 5 of the McMurdo pan and making observations with the miniature thermal X-ray spectrometer.

Sols 825-827 (April 29 to May 1, 2006): Plans called for analyzing Progress with the Moessbauer spectrometer and acquiring columns 6 and 7 of the McMurdo pan.

Odometry:

As of sol 824 (Apil 28, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).

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