Spitzer's Spin on Stars
Good afternoon my name is Joel Signorelli and this is the flight
director's report for the 11th of August.
The past week was winter
solstice on Mars, which means it was the shortest day of the Martian
year. It also corresponds with the middle of the Martian winter. Now,
we've had a couple pretty big milestones over the last few weeks on both
vehicles, where both vehicles have survived on the Martian surface for 900
sols. A sol is a Martian day and it's about 24 hours and 40 minutes on
Earth. So, the original requirement was for the vehicles to last around
90 sols on the surface and here we are at 900, its bests its lifetime
requirement over ten times.
For Opportunity, it's sol 906. Opportunity has been perched on the rim of "Beagle Crater" for the last eight sols. Now Beagle Crater is a fairly
small crater, about 35 meters in diameter. Opportunity was using its pan
cam and mini-TES to take images of the crater itself and the surrounding
area. Opportunity also used its Rock Abrasion Tool or Rat for the first
time in 200 sols. The purpose of the Rat is to grind into a rock to expose
the interior of the rock so that the IDD, or robot arm, can come down,
place instruments on that surface and help scientist determine the
composition of the rock.
On Spirit, it's sol 926. Spirit is still slugging away on its winter
science campaign and it's finished almost all of its "McMurdo" pan of the
surrounding area. It's now doing touch up images of small areas and
imaging the rover deck so we can get a complete image of the whole
area. Then everyday it's also doing mini-TES imaging of the atmosphere. A
couple sols ago it did a sunset observations to help determine the amount
of dust in the Martian atmosphere at winter solstice.
That's it for today. My name is Joel Signorelli and that's what's been
happening on Mars.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology