Video Transcript: Mars Exploration Rover Update

› Download Transcript
[00:00:05]
ON MARS
A Mars Exploration Rover Update

[00:00:06]
Hi! I'm Matt Heverly for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory -- rover driver for the Opportunity rover.

[00:00:11]
Recently Spirit and Opportunity just celebrated their 5th Anniversary; A big milestone for both rovers.

[00:00:17]
We had some trouble recently, with both of the rovers, but fortunately they're both back on the road and driving again.

[00:00:22]
In late January, on sol 1800, Spirit celebrated a significant milestone by operating 20 times longer than it's original mission warranty, which was just 90 days.

[00:00:33]
Sol 1800 also had some troubles for the rover in the way that the data is written to its memory and transmitted to Earth.

[00:00:39]
We think that this is the result of cosmic radiation corrupting its flash memory on board.

[00:00:44]
On 1806 however, we were able to return to driving and the rover seems to be behaving fine.

[00:00:49]
We only made it 30 cm before we encountered a partially buried rock.

[00:00:54]
It hit the right front wheel. If you remember, the right front wheel on Spirit no longer turns, so it makes it a little difficult to make it over obstacles.

[00:01:01]
Sol 1809 however, the rover drivers were able to successfully negotiate around this rock and are now continuing their trek to get to Home Plate.

[00:01:11]
Spirit has also had a little good luck. On sol 1812, a wind gust must have gone through and blown a little dust off the rover's solar panels

[00:01:17]
gave the rover a modest boost to its energy level.

[00:01:21]
On the other side of the planet, with Opportunity, we're still on our long trek to Endeavour crater.

[00:01:26]
Last week Opportunity also experienced some trouble when the drive was terminated due to an error on the pan cam mast pointing assembly,

[00:01:33]
which is how we point our cameras as we drive.

[00:01:36]
This also looks to be cosmic radiation in the form of what we call a single event upset on the motor controller electronics.

[00:01:43]
Everything seems to be performing well now though and we're able to continue driving again.

[00:01:48]
Coming up, we're going to be trying out some new capabilities where we'll be able to do multi-sol driving.

[00:01:53]
This basically means that the rover can drive one day and then wake up on the next day, continue driving autonomously, without any human interaction.

[00:02:01]
This is going to greatly increase our ability to make long distances for a given planning cycle as we continue this long, long trek to Endeavour crater.

[00:02:10]
Thanks again for tuning in and I'm Matt Heverly for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

[00:02:14]
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

[00:02:18]
› Download Transcript