Spirit Rover Update
4 Jan 2007
- sol 1058-1062, January 02, 2007:
A sudden dust storm cut short Spirit's investigation of a volcanic rock and kicked enough dust into the Martian atmosphere to drive solar power levels to an all-time low. Spirit's team of scientists and engineers decided to move the rover to a spot where the solar panels would be tilted toward the sun to increase the amount of electrical power available.
The southern hemisphere dust storm lowered power levels to 267 watt-hours on Spirit's 1,061st sol, or Martian day, of exploring Mars (Dec. 27, 2006). Spirit had been using its Moessbauer spectrometer to analyze the mineral composition of a rock nicknamed "Esperanza," a piece of lava full of tiny holes and known as vesicular basalt. Due to concern about low power, the team prepared to drive Spirit to a north-tilted spot on the way toward a new target, a layered outcrop known as "Troll."
Spirit spent the New Year's weekend in one place, monitoring dust and actually resting on a holiday.
Sol 1058 (Dec. 24, 2006): Spirit completed 4 hours and 42 minutes of analysis of a target known as "Palma" on the rock Esperanza using the M??ssbauer spectrometer. The rover tested Step No. 2 of a software program to watch for dust devils and studied a target known as "Boudouin" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1059: Spirit spent an additional 3 hours and 48 minutes collecting information about Palma with the M??ssbauer spectrometer, scanned rock outcrops known as "Gurruchaga" and "Oberth" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired super-resolution images of a rock target known as "Molodezhnaya."
Sol 1060: Spirit acquired an additional 4 hours and 47 minutes worth of M??ssbauer spectrometer data from Palma and surveyed the Martian horizon with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1061: Spirit completed 3.5 hours of M??ssbauer spectrometer analysis of Palma, bringing the total number of hours spent collecting data about the rock to 25. Spirit then acquired data from a rock target known as "Scott_Base" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and acquired a full-color image of a soil target known as "Tyrone" using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.
Sol 1062 (Dec. 28, 2006): The team prepared to send Spirit driving about 4 meters (13 feet) to a shallow slope selected because it would tilt the rover's solar arrays toward the sun, which was still fairly low above the northern horizon and dimmed by atmospheric dust.
On sol 1062 (Dec. 28, 2006), Spirit's total odometry reached 6,891.34 meters (4.28 miles).