Tenacious Rover Just Might Make It
3 Mar 2008
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Spirit has achieved a northerly tilt of 29.9 degrees! As a result, based on power projections, Spirit has a fighting chance of surviving another winter on Mars, if the weather and environment cooperate.
Plans for sol 1471 (Feb. 22, 2008) called for a test of the stability of Spirit's new perch prior to using the rock abrasion tool by having the rover touch the Martian surface with the Mössbauer spectrometer and apply 10 newtons of pressure (called a pre-load).
In addition to measurements of atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera and daily communications activities, which include morning direct-from-Earth uplinks over the rover's high-gain antenna and evening relays to Earth via the UHF antenna on the Mars Odyssey orbiter, Spirit completed the following activities:
Sol 1464 (Feb. 14, 2008): Spirit edged downslope another 4 centimeters (about 1.5 inches). The rover took thumbnail images of the sky for calibration purposes with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1465: Spirit took mid-field images and spot images of the sky for calibration purposes with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1466: Spirit acquired images for updating the rover's precise attitude relative to the Sun, surveyed the horizon and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera, and surveyed the external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1467: Spirit acquired images of the "El Dorado" dune field with the panoramic camera and snapped movie frames in search of dust devils with the navigation camera. The rover took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.
Sol 1468: Spirit surveyed the sky at high Sun using the panoramic camera.
Sol 1469: Spirit surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and took before-and-after stereo images with the navigation camera to enable the on-board visual odometry software to determine the rover's position. Spirit acquired a 5-by-1 mosaic of forward-looking images and a 5-by-1 mosaic of rearward-looking images with the navigation camera. Also with the navigation camera, the rover assessed atmospheric opacity caused by dust and scanned the sky for clouds.
Sol 1470 (Feb. 21, 2008): Spirit unstowed the robotic arm and moved it to test the rover's stability. Spirit measured atmospheric opacity caused by dust using both the panoramic and navigation cameras. The rover took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.