24 May 2006
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 M?ssbauer 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 M?ssbauer 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 842 (May 16, 2006): Spirit conducted a positioning test of the rover's robotic arm, including touching the M?ssbauer 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.
As of sol 836 (May 11, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).