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Daily Update - 8/25/06
Spirit Continues Mid-Winter Studies of Martian Rocks and Soil
Spirit Status for sol 933-942

Spirit continued to make progress on the rover's winter campaign of science observations, acquiring microscopic images and data about rock composition with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit took images of the spacecraft deck for incorporation into the "McMurdo panorama."

Spirit remains healthy. Electrical power from the rover's solar array has been holding steady at about 280 watt-hours per sol (a hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 933 (Aug. 18, 2006): Spirit acquired super-resolution images of a basalt hill nicknamed "Dome Fuji" with the panoramic camera and monitored dust on the pancam mast assembly. Spirit scanned the atmosphere for opacity caused by dust and scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 934: Spirit acquired touch-up images for the McMurdo panorama with the panoramic camera. Spirit scanned the atmosphere for opacity caused by dust and scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 935: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a rock target called "Prat" and measured the magnitude of sunlight in addition to scanning the horizon and sky with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 936: Spirit acquired data from a rock target called "Wasa" with the miniature thermal spectrometer. The rover continued to make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 937: Spirit acquired microscopic images of a ripple called "Palmer" and scanned for wind-related changes in a sand target known as "Rothera." Spirit continued to make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 938: Spirit acquired super-resolution, panoramic camera images of a possible meteorite candidate known as "Vernadsky." The rover continued to make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 939: Spirit acquired super-resolution, panoramic camera images of a target known as "Scott Base." Spirit continued to make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 940: Plans called for Spirit to acquire images of the rover deck with the panoramic camera and acquire miniature thermal emission spectrometer data on a rock target known as "Law-Racovita." Plans called for continued daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 941: Plans called for Spirit to acquire panoramic camera images of the rover deck as well as continue to make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 942 (Aug. 27, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to continue acquiring panoramic camera images of the rover deck, collect data about elemental composition of the rock target called "Halley Brunt," and make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry

As of sol 938 (Aug. 23, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).

Daily Update - 8/25/06
Closer and Closer to 'Victoria'
Opportunity Status for sol 913-919

Opportunity is healthy and located only 218 meters (715 feet) from the rim of "Victoria Crater." Opportunity's odometer clicked past the 9-kilometer (5.5-mile) mark as it drove 237.81 meters (780 feet) during the week. The terrain within the annulus, or ring, of material surrounding Victoria is homogeneous and flat, which is favorable for long drives. The team planned a trenching activity for sol 919 (Aug. 25, 2006) to prepare for a robotic arm campaign during the weekend.

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 913 (Aug. 18, 2006): Opportunity used its panoramic camera to conduct a 13-filter systematic foreground observation, gathered a systematic foreground raster with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and used the navigation camera in support of that spectrometer. The rover measured the atmosphere's clarity (a measurement called "tau") with the panoramic camera and used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer for observations of targets "Tenerife" (a boulder) and "Tenerife BG" (soil near the boulder).

Sol 914: Opportunity drove 71.72 meters (235 feet) then took images from its new position with the navigation camera and the panoramic camera. The rover also conducted a test to aid the design effort for NASA's 2009 Mars Science Laboratory. Opportunity's navigation camera took an image of the sunset. The image was designed to help in development of an algorithm for determining the rover's position using the sun and the time of day. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer observed sky and ground during the afternoon communication-relay pass of NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Sol 915: The rover conducted monitoring of dust on the panoramic mast assembly (the rover's "neck" and "head"), used the panoramic camera to survey clasts (rock fragments) and used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to observe sky and ground.

Sol 916: The rover drove backwards for 88.82 meters (291 feet).

Sol 917: Opportunity drove backwards 77.27 meters (254 feet) and took mosaics of images with the navigation camera. Before the Mars Odyssey pass, the rover took a panoramic camera tau measurement. During the orbiter's pass, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a foreground stare. The rover also took a panoramic camera 13-filter foreground image.

Sol 918: Opportunity did untargeted remote sensing, including: a panoramic camera albedo measurement, a navigation camera rear-looking mosaic, a front hazard avoidance camera image for potential robotic-arm work, and a miniature thermal emission spectrometer seven-point sky and ground observation. The rover also took a panoramic camera tau measurement before the first of two Odyssey passes and a miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground observation during the first Odyssey pass.

Sol 919: Plans call for Opportunity to take a panoramic camera image of the location selected for trenching, then to advance 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) and use a wheel to dig the trench, pausing to take images. Next in the plan are navigation camera mosaics in the forward and rear directions, then observations of sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer during the Odyssey pass.

As of sol 918 (August 24, 2006), Opportunity's total odometry was 9,015.19 meters (5.60 miles).



Daily Update - 8/18/06
Opportunity Observes 'Isabela'
Opportunity Status for sol 907-912

Opportunity is healthy and on the road to "Victoria Crater." Spirit drove 35.67 meters (117 feet) from "Beagle Crater" to a small sand dune, or ripple, to examine the dune with the robotic arm. The ripple study included observations with the microscopic imager, two alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integrations, and two observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 907 (Aug. 12, 2006): Opportunity drove 31.4 meters (103 feet) away from Beagle Crater toward a ripple.

Sol 908: Opportunity performed a navigation camera experiment and made observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 909: Opportunity drove 4.27 meters (14 feet) and used the robotic arm on the ripple. It also took images with the panoramic camera, navigation camera and hazard-avoidance cameras.

Sol 910: Opportunity took pictures of targets informally named "Isabela" and "Marchena" with the microscopic imager. The rover also took measurements of Marchena with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 911: Opportunity moved the robotic arm out of the way and took pictures of the area where it would later use the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. Opportunity made observations of targets informally named "Pinzon" and "Pinta" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Opportunity did a reading of Isabela with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer after the Odyssey communications pass.

Sol 912 (Aug. 17, 2006): The plan is for Opportunity to stow the robotic arm and drive toward Victoria Crater at a heading of 163 degrees.

Odometry:

As of sol 911 (Aug. 16, 2006), Opportunity's total odometry was 8723.38 meters (5.42 miles).



Daily Update - 8/18/06
Spirit Checking 'Korolev'
Spirit Status for sol 929-932

Spirit is healthy and continues to make progress on its winter science campaign.

Spirit is finishing the "McMurdo mega-panorama" by acquiring touch-up images (dubbed "grout" by engineers). Spirit is nearly complete with the coverage of the ground around the rover.

Spirit continues making a series of atmospheric observations at the same time each day.

Spirit is collecting about 280 watt-hours of electrical power each sol from the rover's solar array (100 watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 929 (Aug. 14, 2006): Spirit studied a target called "Halley Brunt" with the panoramic camera and microscopic imager.

Sol 930: Spirit took a tau measurement, an observation during which the rover evaluates atmospheric opacity to estimate dust height.

Sol 931: Spirit took pictures with the panoramic camera of targets named "Korolev" and "McMurdo grout 10." Spirit also used the panoramic camera to take a tau measurement.

Sol 932 (Aug. 17, 2006): Spirit took a tau measurement with the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and took measurements of a target named "Vernadsky" along with a background stare with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 932 (Aug. 17, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).



Daily Update - 8/11/06
Opportunity Recovers from Brief Operational Anomaly
Opportunity Status for sol 900-906

While Opportunity was collecting images with the panoramic camera on the rover's 902nd Martian day, or sol (Aug. 7, 2006), a spacecraft anomaly at 11:19 a.m. local solar time caused the rover's fault protection software to interrupt operations, place the rover in a safe state, and reboot the flight software. Upon waking up after the reset, Opportunity flagged the positions of the high-gain antenna and pancam mast assembly as unknown. Opportunity then remained in automode (meaning the rover did not attempt to execute a master sequence of activities for the day).

The rover's handlers transmitted instructions to Opportunity to re-establish the position of the high-gain antenna on sol 903 (Aug. 8, 2006) and the position of the pancam mast assembly on sol 904 (Aug. 9, 2006). Sols 903 and 904 were primarily dedicated to retrieving diagnostic information. On sol 904, Opportunity successfully reacquired the sequence of panoramic camera images that had been terminated by the fault and collected scientific data. As of sol 905 (Aug. 10, 2006), Opportunity was completely restored to normal operations. Opportunity remains healthy and engineers have not found a credible explanation for what caused the anomaly.

Before the fault, Opportunity had been working on a campaign of science observations of the area around "Beagle Crater," including an analysis of laminated ripples using instruments on the rover's robotic arm. Opportunity has resumed work on those observations.

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 900 (Aug. 5, 2006): Opportunity made tau observations (measurements of dust opacity in the atmosphere) using the panoramic camera and completed two image mosaics of Beagle Crater with the panorama camera: a four-by-four mosaic known as "Beagle Pan B" and a two-by-four mosaic known as "Beagle Pan D." Opportunity acquired images of a target known as "Fernandina" using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera and made observations of a target known as "Darwin" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover acquired morning panoramic camera images of targets "Camarhynchus" and "Cactospiza" and a portion of the sky. Opportunity checked for drift (changes with time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and surveyed the sky and ground with the same instrument.

Sol 901: Opportunity made tau observations using the panoramic camera and completed two image mosaics of Beagle Crater with the panorama camera: a four-by-four mosaic called "Beagle Pan A" and a four-by-four mosaic called "Beagle Pan C." Opportunity acquired images of a target known as "Floreana" using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover acquired miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from Camarhynchus and a target called "Geospiza." Opportunity acquired panoramic images of a target known as "Platyspiza."

Sol 902: Opportunity made tau observations with the panoramic camera. At 11:19 a.m. local solar time, a spacecraft fault put the rover in a safe state.

Sol 903: Opportunity ran engineering sequences to recover from the previous day's fault responses and retrieve diagnostic data.

Sol 904: Opportunity acquired stereo images with the navigation camera without activating the pancam mast assembly and ran engineering sequences to complete the rover's recovery from the fault that occurred on sol 902. Opportunity took images of the calibration target for the panoramic camera and re-acquired "Beagle Part 5," the sequence of images that was terminated by the fault on sol 902.

Sol 905: Opportunity made tau observations using the panoramic camera, acquired a two-by-one mosaic of Darwin with the panoramic camera, and acquired images of Geospiza using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover scanned for clouds using the navigation camera's wide field of view. Opportunity also checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and surveyed the sky and ground with the same instrument.

Sol 906 (Aug. 11, 2006): Plans called for Opportunity to take tau measurements with the panoramic camera, monitor dust on the pancam mast assembly using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, survey the ground and sky at various elevations using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and collect reference data from the calibration target for the thermal emission spectrometer. During this procedure, the rover was to check for drift (changes over time) in measurements from the instrument.

Odometry

As of sol 897 (Aug. 2, 2006), Opportunity's total odometry was 8,687.56 meters (5.4 miles).

Daily Update - 8/11/06
Spirit Survives Second Winter Solstice on Mars
Spirit Status for sol 922-928

Spirit has now survived the rover's second Martian winter solstice -- the shortest day of the year with the least amount of sunlight and solar energy. The solstice arrived on the rover's 923rd Martian day, or sol (Aug. 8, 2006). Spirit is healthy and continues to make progress on its winter science campaign.

Having completed the "McMurdo mega-panorama," Spirit is currently filling cracks between frames by acquiring touch-up images (dubbed "grout" by engineers). The rover is also spending this week and next making a series of atmospheric observations at the same time each day.

Spirit continues to collect about 280 watt-hours of electrical power each sol from the rover's solar array (a hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 922 (Aug. 7, 2006): Spirit measured atmospheric dust opacity (known as a tau measurement) with the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired fill-in images with the panoramic camera for column 24A (a single frame) of the McMurdo pan.

Sol 923: Spirit took a tau measurement with the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired morning fill-in images for the McMurdo pan with the panoramic camera.

Sol 924: Spirit took a tau measurement with the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired panoramic camera images of the "El Dorado" dune field (a two-by-one mosaic). The rover acquired images of fine ripples with the hazard avoidance cameras and a rearward-looking view with the left eye of the right rear hazard avoidance camera. Spirit also acquired morning fill-in images for the McMurdo pan.

Sol 925: Spirit took a tau measurement with the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired morning fill-in images for the McMurdo pan with the panoramic camera. Spirit also took a sunset tau measurement, an observation during which the rover evaluates atmospheric opacity at sunset to estimate dust height.

Sol 926: Plans called for Spirit to take a tau measurement with the panoramic camera, survey the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquire morning fill-in images for the McMurdo pan.

Sol 927: Plans called for Spirit to take a tau measurement with the panoramic camera, survey the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquire compositional data on a rock-and-soil target known as "Halley Brunt Offset 2" using the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. Plans also called for Spirit to complete a morning sky survey using the panoramic camera.

Sol 928 (Aug. 13, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to take a tau measurement with the panoramic camera, survey the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquire morning fill-in images for the McMurdo pan.

Odometry

As of sol 924 (Aug. 9, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).

Daily Update - 8/7/06
Spirit Completes Camera Check-Up, Puts Finishing Touches on Panorama
Spirit Status for sol 915-921

Spirit has finished acquiring images for the "McMurdo panorama" and began adding some finishing touches around the edges. The rover is healthy and continues to make progress on its winter science campaign of observations on Mars.

Plans called for Spirit to complete a winter check-up of all the rover's cameras by calibrating the microscopic imager. To accomplish this procedure, known as a photon transfer observation, Spirit acquired 20 pairs of images, each pair taken during a different exposure time. Engineers used these images to form a baseline for estimating unwanted electronic signals using a Poisson distribution.

The Poisson curve measures probability over a fixed time interval based on a known average. Using this probability, engineers correlated the signal measured by the camera with differences in signals acquired in the image pairs to calculate the efficiency with which the camera's imaging sensors convert photons from sunlight into electrical energy. They used the same approach to characterize the electrical system's ability to translate measurements of voltage into digital numbers.

Spirit is collecting about 280 watt-hours of electrical power each sol from the rover's solar array (a hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 915 (July 30, 2006): Spirit acquired flat-field images for calibrating variations in the field of light in the McMurdo panorama.

Sol 916: Spirit surveyed the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 917: Spirit searched for clouds using the navigation camera.

Sol 918: Spirit added some finishing touches to the McMurdo panorama.

Sol 919: Spirit added more finishing touches to the McMurdo panorama.

Sol 920: Plans called for Spirit to conduct a photon transfer observation to measure electronic noise (unwanted signals) picked up by CCDs (charge-coupled devices -- imaging sensors that convert light into electrical current) in the microscopic imager.

Sol 921 (Aug 5, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to acquire panoramic camera images of a soil target known as "Tyrone."

Odometry

As of sol 918 (Aug. 2, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).

Daily Update - 8/4/06
Opportunity Examines Crater Ejecta, Grinds into Rock
Opportunity Status for sol 893-899

After traversing the sandy plains of Meridiani to "Beagle Crater," Opportunity investigated a patch of outcrop pavement thought to be representative of the Martian surface beyond the reach of materials excavated by the impacts that dug Beagle and the nearby, much larger Victoria Crater. Opportunity used its rock abrasion tool to grind away the surface of rock for the first time since the rover's 691st sol, or Martian day (Jan. 3, 2006).

Both before and after grinding beneath the surface of the rock target known as "Baltra," Opportunity took microscopic images and collected data with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and the Moessbauer spectrometer. The rover remains healthy. This weekend, the science team plans to launch a three-day imaging campaign of Beagle Crater and the surrounding area.

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 893 (July 29, 2006): Opportunity took microscopic images of Baltra and the grinding bit on the rock abrasion tool, ground 3 millimeters (0.12 inch) beneath the surface of Baltra, and took images of the magnets on the rock abrasion tool both before and after the grind. After communicating with NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter, the rover began a study of Baltra with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover turned off the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer at 11:13 p.m., local Mars time, before going into a mini-deep sleep.

Sol 894: Opportunity took stereo microscopic images of Baltra following the grind. The rover spent 12 hours collecting data from the freshly ground surface with the Moessbauer spectrometer. Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images of the rim of Beagle Crater and a transitional area around Beagle Crater known as "Espa├▒ola."

Sol 895: Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images of a flat rock target known as "Bartolom├ę" and conducted Moessbauer analysis of Baltra. Opportunity completed a very long survey of atmospheric dust, known as a tau measurement, with the panoramic camera and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover went into deep sleep to recharge the batteries.

Sol 896: Opportunity rolled back 1 meter (3.3 feet) and acquired color images of Baltra using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, then drove 21 meters (69 feet) toward the edge of Beagle Crater. At the end of the drive, the rover acquired images of the terrain using the navigation and panoramic cameras.

Sol 897: Opportunity recharged the batteries and conducted untargeted remote sensing of infrared energy and dust using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (beginning with looking at the calibration target) and the panoramic camera. The rover surveyed the ground and sky with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer while communicating with the Odyssey orbiter.

Sol 898: Opportunity acquired panoramic camera images before driving 5 meters (16 feet) toward the rim of Beagle Crater. After the drive, Opportunity acquired images with the navigation camera and data with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 899 (Aug. 4, 2006): Plans called for a deep sleep followed by turning on the miniature thermal emission spectrometer heaters at 7 a.m., surveying the sky with the panoramic camera, and collecting data from the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry

As of sol 897 (Aug. 2, 2006), Opportunity's total odometry was 8,681.96 meters (5.39 miles).

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