Spirit Rover Update
12 Feb 2007
- sol 1097-1103, February 09, 2007:
Spring is in the thin, Martian atmosphere once again as NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit scans the local terrain for dust devils expected this time of year. The rover remains healthy and has completed remote sensing studies of a soil target known as "Tyrone," conducted from a distance of about 10 meters (33 feet) away. Tyrone has bright soil upturned in wheel tracks.
Because Spirit is now limited to driving on five wheels, Spirit's handlers did not feel comfortable sending the rover any closer to the soft soil surrounding Tyrone. On the rover's 1,102nd Martian day, or sol, of exploration (Feb. 7, 2007), the rover turned and retraced its tracks toward the layered rock exposure known as "Montalva" en route to the circular plateau known as "Home Plate."
Engineers planned to have Spirit drive approximately 8 meters (26 feet) early on sol 1103 (Feb. 8, 2007). Planned weekend activities included remote sensing observations in addition to the long drive back to Home Plate. Estimated dust levels, known as Tau measurements, appeared to be holding steady at around 0.55. Scientists are hopeful that Martian winds will clear dust from Spirit's solar panels and boost the rover's power levels as they did at around this time last year.
In addition to daily observations that included using the panoramic camera to measure atmospheric opacity, using the navigation camera to scan the sky for clouds, and using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to survey the sky and ground, Spirit completed the following activities:
Sol 1097 (Feb. 2, 2007): Spirit used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to acquire data on Tyrone and a rock target known as "Korolev." Spirit placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on an exposure of white soil known as "Mount Darwin" and collected compositional data. Spirit also acquired images of Tyrone using the panoramic camera.
Sol 1098: Spirit continued to gather miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from Tyrone and alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer data from Mount Darwin.
Sol 1099: Spirit acquired microscopic images of Mount Darwin, scanned a target known as "Russkaya" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired more panoramic camera images of Tyrone.
Sol 1100: Spirit studied Mount Darwin with the M?ssbauer spectrometer, continued to acquire data from Tyrone using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired panoramic camera images of a sinuous feature in the dirt called "Hermite" and of the distant "El Dorado" dune field.
Sol 1101: Spirit acquired microscopic images of "Punta Arenas," a pebble in one of the rover's tracks. The panoramic camera photographed Tyrone. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer scanned distant "McCool Hill." Spirit also used the panoramic camera for images of Mount Darwin and Puenta Arenas.
Sol 1102: Spirit acquired images of McCool Hill with the panoramic camera. Then it turned to drive back toward Home Plate and updated the rover's knowledge of its position relative to the sun.
Sol 1103 (Feb. 8, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to take images of "Tyrone Vista" (the rover's view of the upturned soil known as Tyrone along with the surrounding terrain) and drive toward Montalva.
As of sol 1102 (Feb. 7, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 6,926.42 meters (4.3 miles).