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Daily Update - 8/30/05
Recovering from a Reset
Opportunity Status for sol 560-565

On sol 560 (Aug. 21, 2005), Opportunity retracted the Moessbauer spectrometer from a rock target called "Lemon Rind" that had been brushed earlier with the rock abrasion tool. The rover then used the grinding bit of the abrasion tool to reveal a patch of Lemon Rind's interior and used the microscopic imager to inspect the abraded area. On sol 561, Opportunity stowed its robotic arm and backed up 85 centimeters (2.8 feet) for a view of the target. The rover drove about 7 meters (23 feet) on sol 562.

Early in the morning of sol 563 (Aug. 21, 2005), Opportunity experienced a software reset. The rover shut down after the reset and woke up in what is called automode. While in automode, Opportunity responded as expected to planned communication sessions. The sol plan for sol 563 was not executed. The plan for sol 564 was executed, returning diagnostic data for further analysis into the cause of the reset and returning Opportunity to master sequence control. The plan for sol 565 included observations with the navigation camera and panoramic camera, but not with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The observations were completed successfully. Engineers believe Opportunity is in good health, although the team will refrain from using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer pending further analysis of the software reset.

Opportunity's total odometry as of sol 565 (Aug. 26, 2005) is 5,737 meters (3.56 miles).



Daily Update - 8/30/05
On Top of the Hill
Spirit Status for sol 579-584

After 581 sols and 4,810 meters (2.99 miles), Spirit reached the crest of "Husband Hill."

The top of the hill is moderately flat and fairly easy to navigate. Even though sol 581 (Aug. 21, 2005) marked a major accomplishment for Spirit, the "little rover that could" had no time to rest. On sol 582, the team commanded the rover to drive to a better location for taking images in all directions. This spot was about 20 meters (66 feet) along the crest, and it was from this location that Spirit started acquiring frames with the panoramic camera for a 360-degree, full-color, panorama.

The panoramic imaging will take about 12 hours to complete. In Mars time this means about four sols. On sols 583, 584 and 585, Spirit will image the martian landscape, and the team will wait until sol 586 to image the rover equipment deck.

Since Spirit will be in the same location for a while, Spirit placed its robotic arm onto an undisturbed soil target and started a long Moessbauer spectrometer integration on sol 584.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Spirit was in restricted sols during sols 570 to 581. (Restricted sols occur when the timing of the communications pass from the Odyssey orbiter is too late in the day to gather vital location and health information about the rover after it executed recent commands. The team back on Earth must wait until the next sol to find out where and how the rover is.)

Sol 579 (Aug. 19, 2005): Spirit performed remote sensing operations.

Sol 580: Spirit performed more remote sensing operations.

Sol 581: Spirit drove toward the summit.

Sol 582: Spirit drove to a better location to take the panoramic camera images.

Sol 583: Spirit turned to get the antenna well-placed for communications with the Odyssey orbiter. The rover took images with the panoramic camera.

Sol 584: Spirit continued taking images with the panoramic camera for a complete 360-degree panoramic image. The rover placed the Moessbauer spectrometer on a target.

As of the end of sol 584, (Aug. 24, 2005), Spirit had driven 4,827 meters (3.00 miles).



Daily Update - 8/19/05
Onward and Upward
Spirit Status for sol 572-578

Spirit has made 54 meters (177 feet) of forward progress towards the summit of "Husband Hill" this past week. This is excellent progress considering Spirit is on restricted sols, so it can only drive every other sol. (Restricted sols occur when the timing of the communications pass from the Odyssey orbiter is too late in the sol to gather vital location and health information about the rover after it executed recent commands. The team back on Earth must wait until the next sol to find out where and how the rover is.) After sol 576's drive, the team was able to determine highest summit point, which is informally named "Summit 1." Previously, the team believed "Summit 2" was slightly higher. Furthermore, traversing to Summit 2 was deemed difficult, so Spirit is headed towards Summit 1, which is roughly 70 meters (230 feet) away.

Power has been extremely healthy at about 875 to 900 watt-hours per sol. Spirit has been consistently using both morning and evening UHF communications passes with the Odyssey orbiter every sol, which allows the team to acquire and downlink more data.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 572 (Aug. 12, 2005):
Spirit performed targeted remote sensing, including panoramic camera observations with 13 filters and miniature thermal emission spectrometer stares.

Sol 573:
The rover completed a 33.5-meter (109.9-foot) drive, driving backwards towards the summit. Spirit also acquired a panoramic camera mosaic.

Sol 574:
Spirit performed untargeted remote sensing, including panoramic camera and navigation camera dust devil observations, pre-sunset panoramic camera imaging, and miniature thermal emission spectrometer readings.

Sol 575:
Spirit did more untargeted remote sensing, including panoramic camera and navigation camera dust devil observations, panoramic camera images of the filter magnets, and miniature thermal emission spectrometer readings.

Sol 576:
Spirit completed a 18.5-meter (60.7-foot) drive backwards and uphill towards the summit. After the drive, the rover made observations with its navigation camera and its miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 577:
The rover looked for dust devils with its navigation camera and made other observations with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 578 (Aug. 18, 2005):
The team prepared a plan for a drive of 20 meters (66 feet) toward Summit 1.

As of the end of its 578th sol on Mars, Spirit has driven 4,742 meters (2.95 miles).



Daily Update - 8/19/05
Opportunity Biting into 'Strawberry'
Opportunity Status for sol 552 to 559

Opportunity completed a study of the cobble area by taking a close look at the cobble "Arkansas" and a nearby soil target named "Reiner Gamma" with the instruments on the robotic arm. A 3-meter (10-foot) bump took the rover to an outcrop dubbed "Fruit Basket" for an intensive investigation of targets there. So far Opportunity has studied "Lemon Rind" with its complete suite of robotic arm instruments, and begun an inspection of "Strawberry." The plan is to drive east to the "Erebus Highway" after finishing work at Fruit Basket.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 552 (Aug. 12, 2005):
Opportunity took pictures with the microscopic imager of soil target Reiner Gamma and took alpha particle X-ray spectrometer readings on cobble Arkansas.

Sol 553 and 554:
Opportunity took more Moessbauer spectrometer readings on Arkansas and took alpha particle X-ray spectrometer readings on Reiner Gamma.

Sol 555:
Opportunity finished work with the robotic arm on the cobble area and drove to a new outcrop, Fruit Basket.

Sol 556 and 557:
Opportunity performed robotic arm work on Lemon Rind, a target on Fruit Basket. The microscopic imager took pictures before and after the rock abrasion tool brushed the area. The rover also used the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and Moessbauer spectrometer.

Sol 558:
Opportunity performed robotic arm work on another target, Strawberry, taking pictures with the microscopic imager before and after a light grinding with the rock abrasion tool. Spirit also used the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 559 (Aug.19, 2005):
The plan is to use the Moessbauer spectrometer on Lemon Rind.

As of the end of its 558th sol on Mars, Opportunity has driven 5,729 meters (about 3.56 miles).



Daily Update - 8/18/05
Opportunity Entering Cobble Field
Opportunity Status for sol 544-551

Opportunity had a busy week! The rover has been using the rock abrasion tool and all of its spectrometers and imaging instruments. It has been healthy but slightly constrained in the flash memory. Last week, the rover mission had to share its Odyssey memory allocation with a project named the Mars Bi-Static UHF Radar Experiment, which had the effect of reducing the buffer space available to the rovers. This caused a backlog of data onboard Opportunity. This week the team started to offload some of that data by taking advantage of overnight Odyssey passes. The rover buffer space is back to normal. The planning team is also making sure that experiments do not create too much new data this week. The planning team wants to ensure that Opportunity has enough flash memory for next week's operations since the plan calls for a continuation of the drive toward "Erebus." The general consensus is that the rover will take the easterly route to the Erebus highway. This route is longer by about 100 meters (328 feet), but should result in much more access to outcrop during the drive. The outcrop is attractive both for rover footing and for science targeting.

During the first weekend in August, there was a sequencing error that failed to run the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. The team had added a miniature thermal emission spectrometer observation before starting the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, and the added sequence ran long. The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer start sequence did not complete and the instrument did not collect any data. After discovering what happened on Monday, the team reacquired the observation on sol 548 (Aug. 9, 2005).

On sol 549 (Aug. 10, 2005), there was a mobility fault. Under the "rules of the road," the team is required to stop the vehicle if any of the driving actuators draws more than 0.4 amperes of current for more than half a second. This protects the rover from digging into a "Purgatory Dune" situation. On sol 549, while the rover was turning into a position more favorable for communication, the front right driving actuator went above 0.4 amperes for more than half a second and stopped the drive. This is expected behavior. The turn for better communication was an optional move done at the very end of the drive. The front right drive actuator will sometimes (especially when performing a turn-in-place) pull more current than the other drive actuators. This is because the front right steering actuator is not working, and its drive motor is not turning in the same direction as the other five motors.

On sols 550 and 551 (Aug. 10 and Aug. 11, 2005), Opportunity moved about 2 meters (nearly 7 feet) forward into a cobble field. The team has wanted to use Opportunity's alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and Moessbauer spectrometer on some cobbles, and there has never been a better chance than this location. Rover drivers were able to approach the targets in one sol and get multiple cobbles into the robotic arm's work volume. On sol 551, the rover planners successfully planted the Moessbauer on a cobble that is roughly 2.5 centimeters to 3 centimeters (1 inch to 1.2 inches) in size. This precision pointing was intended to allow the spectrometer to integrate for most of the weekend and tell the science team something new about cobbles.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sols 545 to 547 (Aug. 6 to Aug. 8, 2005): Sol 545 was used to grind a rock-abrasion-tool hole. On sol 546, Opportunity took a post-grind microscopic imager mosaic and planted the Moessbauer spectrometer in the expected rock-abrasion-tool hole.

Sol 548:
The rover retracted the Moessbauer spectrometer from the target called "OneScoop," and then performed a sequence of observations of the rock abrasion tool's grinding bit. Opportunity then placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer back down on the rock abrasion tool hole at OneScoop to re-acquire that spectral observation.

Sol 549:
The rover retracted the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and then retook the microscopic image of the rock-abrasion-tool hole. On the previous attempt, Opportunity had not made contact with the surface of the rock, so this sol it was commanded to overdrive 2 centimeters (0.8 inches) in order to ensure contact with the bottom of the 6-millimeter hole. After acquiring the microscopic image, the rover stowed its arm and bumped back 0.85 meters (2.8 feet) to image the rock-abrasion-tool hole. Opportunity then proceeded about 26 meters (85 feet) south towards a group of cobbles, taking a 360-degree panoramic image with the navigation camera at the halfway point. The team commanded the rover to turn to 215 degrees azimuth for communication at the end of the drive.

Sol 550:
Opportunity bumped about 1.8 meters (6 feet) over to the cobble field. The team planned to get two of the cobbles in the robotic arm work volume.

Sol 551 (Aug. 11, 2005):
On this sol, Opportunity un-stowed its arm and then took a microscopic imager mosaic of cobble target "Arkansas." The rover then used its microscopic imager to inspect a soil target, followed by a placement of the Moessbauer spectrometer on cobble target "Arkansas."

As of the end of its 551st sol on Mars, Opportunity has driven 5,725 meters (3.56 miles).



Daily Update - 8/15/05
Spirit Continues to Climb
Spirit Status for sol 565-571

Spirit has completed investigations with its robotic arm on "Assemblée" rock. The investigation included pictures taken with the microscopic imager, 92 hours of Moessbauer spectrometer integration, and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer work on the target "Gruyere." Other observations included dust devil movies and a panoramic camera image of the rock abrasion tool bit (which has worn down from extensive use because Spirit has exceeded its intended lifespan by more than 480 sols).

As of sol 571 (Aug. 11, 2005), Spirit is still approximately 100 meters (328 feet) from the summit, and the rover will continue driving towards it.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 565 (Aug. 5, 2005): Spirit took a picture of the bit on the rock abrasion tool and drove 2.35 meters (7.71 feet) to Assemblée.

Sol 566:
Spirit did remote sensing and used the microscopic imager and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer to investigate Gruyere on Assemblée.

Sol 567:
Spirit used the Moessbauer spectrometer on Assemblée for 23 hours and 5 minutes. Spirit also performed targeted remote sensing, including miniature thermal emission spectrometer stares on four targets and imaging with the panoramic camera.

Sol 568:
Spirit took another Moessbauer spectrometer reading on Assemblée for 23 hours and 5 minutes. It also completed panoramic camera imaging with 13 filters on four targets, and it took a dust devil movie.

Sol 569 and 570:
Spirit took more Moessbauer spectrometer readings on Assemblée and performed remote sensing.

Sol 571 (Aug. 11, 2005):
Spirit used the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and microscopic imager on two targets on Assemblée.

As of the end of its 571st sol on Mars, Spirit has driven 4,691 meters (2.91 miles).

Daily Update - 8/9/05
On an ice-cream-cone outcrop
Opportunity Status for sol 538-543

Opportunity continues to make progress south toward "Erebus" crater. The rover planners are doing an excellent job keeping Opportunity safely within the confines of the ripple troughs and determining where the rover can cross from one ripple trough into another. The rover team tries to keep Opportunity inside the ripple troughs, and plans to follow the troughs south until Opportunity can safely move into a "better" trough.

This week (July 29 to August 3), Opportunity has driven an additional 80 meters (262 feet). Opportunity's odometer now reads 5,696 meters (3.54 miles). As Opportunity continues a southward trek, team members are seeing more and more outcrop. Opportunity is still about about 50 meters (164 feet) north of the "Erebus highway" -- an area the team suspects to be highly populated with outcrop and perhaps easier to navigate. Opportunity is roughly 185 to 200 meters (607 to 656 feet) north of Erebus crater, the next large crater Opportunity will encounter.

The team has been watching Opportunity's power very carefully. It seems that Opportunity is losing some of the power boost it received during the last cleaning event. The solar array wake up time has been getting later each day and is currently 9:48 Mars Local Solar Time. The team has been planning accordingly, taking steps to preserve power where appropriate.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 538 (July 29, 2005) to Sol 540 (July 31, 2005): Opportunity took pictures of the solar arrays and magnets with the microscopic imager, then did an overnight integration with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. On sol 539, Opportunity drove. On sol 540, it performed remote sensing.

Sol 541:
The rover drove 25 meters (82 feet).

Sol 542:
The rover drove 23 meters (75 feet).

Sol 543 (August 3, 2005): Opportunity executed a very impressive 8-meter (26-foot) approach drive. Scott Maxwell and Jeng Yen were given the task to drive about 8 meters (26 feet) and place the rover on top of an ice-cream-cone-shaped plot of outcrop. Normally this would be a two-sol endeavor: an approach sol and a final bump to the robotic-arm target. But this single-sol drive worked perfectly. They managed to send Opportunity across a ripple and place the rover in exactly the location specified by the science team! To paraphrase Scott Maxwell while describing the drive: "We will cross over 'fudge ripple,' move along the 'Rocky Road,' and park right at the scoop." This is exactly what happened.

Daily Update - 8/9/05
Spirit 100 Meters from the Top
Spirit Status for sol 559-565

Spirit has been busy performing investigations with the tools on its robotic arm. It studied two targets on the rock dubbed "Bourgeoisie," and did a small bump to "Hausmann" to take some microscopic images. The plan was to drive away the next day, but the uplink did not happen correctly. The drive was replanned for Aug. 5 (sol 565). As of sol 564, Spirit is approximately 100 meters (328 feet) from the summit, and the rover will continue driving towards it.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 559 (July 29, 2005):
Spirit continued Moessbauer spectrometer investigations on "Chic" (a target on the rock Bourgeoisie).

Sol 560:
Spirit took pictures with the microscopic imager, brushed with the rock abrasion tool, and performed an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer reading on "Gentil Matrice" (another target on Bourgeoisie).

Sol 561:
Spirit used the Moessbauer spectrometer on Gentil Matrice and did targeted remote sensing.

Sol 562:
Spirit finished its Moessbauer spectrometer investigations on Gentil Matrice, and drove to Hausmann (the rock next door).

Sol 563:
Spirit took pictures of Hausmann with the microscopic imager. A drive to "Assemblee" (the next target) was desired, but there was not enough time. A nap was required to keep rover internal temperatures below the allowable limit, so the drive was eliminated from the plan.

Sol 564:
The plan was for Spirit to drive a small "bump" to Assemblee. This plan did not make it to the rover. Before the communications uplink window started, the sweep into the low-gain antenna failed, and the Deep Space Network antenna did not lock up on the high-gain antenna until after all sequences were sent. The default science plan already onboard ran studies of the atmosphere with the panoramic camera.

Sol 565 (Aug. 5, 2005):
This sol's plan was a repeat of the plan for sol 564, and all commands were sent to Spirit twice. As of the beginning of its 565th sol on Mars, Spirit had driven 4,689 meters (2.91 miles).

Daily Update - 8/2/05
Spirit Investigating 'Chic'
Spirit Status for sol 551-558

Spirit has reached a target-rich area of the Columbia Hills. In the week of July 21 to 28, 2005, Spirit performed extensive investigations on two rocks, "Descartes" and "Bourgeoisie." Spirit has also acquired coordinated panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer observations of several nearby rock targets.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 551 (July 21):
Spirit made a short approach to a rock informally named "Descartes."

Sol 552:
Spirit used the microscopic imager and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on "Discourse"‚ which is a target on Descartes. It also performed general remote sensing.

Sol 553:
Spirit brushed the target with the rock abrasion tool, then examined the brushed area with the microscopic imager and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. It also made other remote-sensing observations.

Sol 554-555:
Spirit performed a long integration with the Moessbauer spectrometer and made remote-sensing observations.

Sol 556:
The rover finished using its microscopic imager on Descartes and rolled to the next target, Bourgeoisie.

Sol 557:
Spirit took images with its microscopic imager and took readings with its alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on Bourgeoisie. It then used the microscopic imager to shoot frames for mosaics of three areas -- "Gallant," "Gentil" and "Chic" -- and placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on Chic.

Sol 558 (July 28):
Researchers sought to have Spirit brush Chic with the rock abrasion tool, but due to the geometry of the target, Chic was deemed un-brushable. Instead, Spirit proceeded with a two-day Moessbauer spectrometer integration on Chic and more remote sensing.

Total odometry as of July 28, 2005 (sol 558) is 4,688 meters (2.91 miles).

Daily Update - 8/1/05
Exploring Southward
Opportunity Status for sol 531-537

Opportunity continued its trek south toward "Erebus Crater," making 61 meters (200 feet) of progress over two sols of driving. The rover is approaching greater quantities of outcrop as it heads south, and the team is excited at the possibility of using the robotic arm before reaching Erebus.

This week, restricted sols allowed the team to drive only every other sol. Next week, however, there will be a shift back to an early planning cycle that will allow driving every sol if desired.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 531 (July 22, 2005): Opportunity pointed its navigation camera rearward to shoot images for a seven-frame by one-frame mosaic. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer systematically observed the foreground. The panoramic camera took thumbnail images of the sky.

Sol 532: This sol's remote-sensing work included a pre-sunset observation.

Sol 533: The rover completed a successful drive of 34 meters (112 feet), including an attitude update.

Sol 534: Opportunity looked rearward with its navigation camera from the new location and made observations with its miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 535: The rover used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer for a large set of observations, jokingly referred to at the "Uberraster" because of its size.

Sol 536: Opportunity drove 27 meters (89 feet), with approximately 10 percent slip. The drive duration was two hours, with a final heading of 155 degrees.

Sol 537 (July 28, 2005): Planned work for this sol included another large raster by the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Opportunity's total odometry after the sol 536 drive is 5,617 meters (3.49 miles).

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