The Martian Sun Also Rises as Winter Retreats
15 Sep 2006
- sol 957-963, September 14, 2006:
Spirit is beginning to see an upward trend in electrical power as winter slowly recedes and the sun ascends higher in the sky each day. Electrical power from the rover's solar array rose to 287 watt-hours on the rover's 958th Martian day, or sol (Sept. 12, 2006) of exploration, compared with 277 watt-hours on sol 944 (Aug. 29, 2006). One hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour.
During the past week, Spirit conducted 10 hours of analysis of the elemental composition of dust on the rover's magnets using the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. Spirit also finished taking images of the spacecraft deck.
Sol 957 (Sept. 11, 2006): Spirit continues to complete the same set of observations each sol in parallel with engineering activities such as data management. The engineering block of activities includes monitoring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. On this particular sol, Spirit demonstrated additional multi-tasking abilities by acquiring data on a rock target known as "Vostok" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer while transmitting data to the Odyssey spacecraft as it passed overhead.
Sol 958: Spirit acquired part 13 of the 15-part image mosaic of the spacecraft deck with the panoramic camera. Spirit spent about five hours acquiring data on the elemental composition of dust on the rover's filter magnets using the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.
Sol 959: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a soil target consisting of bright material in the rover's tracks known as "Tyrone."
Sol 960: Plans called for Spirit to continue to acquire panoramic images of the rover deck, restart the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer following the overhead pass of the Odyssey spacecraft, and spend 4 hours and 50 minutes collecting elemental data of dust on the filter magnets. Plans also called for a morning measurement of sky brightness in the west with the panoramic camera (known as a pancam skyspot), a search for clouds using the navigation camera, a horizon survey with the panoramic camera, imaging of the "El Dorado" dune field with the panoramic camera, and imaging of ripples with the rear hazard avoidance camera.
Sol 961: Plans called for Spirit to acquire data from a target known as "Macquarie" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, acquire data from the calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and search for clouds with the navigation camera.
Sol 962: Plans called for Spirit to acquire the last segment of the 15-part panoramic mosaic of the spacecraft deck and conduct a 4-hour and 35-minute alpha particle X-ray spectrometer analysis of the filter magnets. Plans also called for Spirit to acquire sky images with the panoramic camera and validate measurements of complete darkness by the panoramic camera.
Sol 963 (Sept. 18, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to acquire images of the rover's tracks with the navigation camera, take microscopic images of the filter and capture magnets, and place the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on the capture magnet. Plans also called for the rover to acquire hazard avoidance camera images of the work volume reached by the rover's robotic arm, monitor dust on the panoramic camera mast assembly, survey the horizon with the panoramic camera, and search for morning clouds with the navigation camera.
As of sol 958 (Sept. 12, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).