Mars Rover Update
2 Apr 2009
SPIRIT UPDATE: Distance Record for Five-Wheel Driving - sols 1852-1858, March 19-25, 2009:
Spirit is making good progress around Home Plate to the west. After getting clear of troublesome rocks, Spirit drove 13.8 meters (45.3 feet) on Sol 1854 (March 21, 2009). The next drive, on Sol 1856 (March 23, 2009), achieved a new distance record for five-wheel driving. Spirit drove 25.82 meters (84.7 feet), beating the old record by about a meter.
Spirit completed another drive of 12.9 meters (42.3 feet) on Sol 1858 (March 25, 2009).
The sol ahead will see the building of the new R9.3 flight software on board the rover. The rover will boot the new software on the subsequent sol.
As of Sol 1858 (March 25, 2009), Spirit's solar array energy production is 233 watt-hours. Atmospheric opacity (tau) remains elevated at 1.15.
The dust factor on the solar array, 0.309, means that 30.9 percent of sunlight hitting the solar array penetrates the layer of accumulated dust on the array. The rover is in good health in spite of dusty skies.
Spirit's total odometry is 7,665.02 meters (4.76 miles).
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Brushing and Examining an Outcrop - sols 1831-1837, March 19-25, 2009:
Opportunity remains positioned on an exposed rock outcrop, continuing an "in situ" (contact) science campaign with the robotic arm (IDD).
On Sol 1832 (March 20, 2009), the first part of a rock abrasion tool
(RAT) brushing activity was performed. Using a new work-around for the failed RAT Z-encoder, the RAT successfully performed a seek-scan to locate the rock surface. On the next sol, the RAT successfully brushed the surface. The Microscopic imager (MI) took images to document the brushing. The M?ssbauer (MB) spectrometer was placed on the brushed target, and several sols of integration were performed. On Sol 1836 (March 24, 2009), the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) was placed on the brushed target to measure the elemental composition. On Sol 1837 (March 25, 2009), another RAT seek-scan was performed to set up for a RAT grind on the next sol.
As of Sol 1837 (March 25, 2009), Opportunity's solar array energy production is 336 watt-hours. Atmospheric opacity (tau) remains elevated at 1.145. The solar array dust factor is 0.497, meaning that 49.7 percent of sunlight hitting the solar array penetrates the layer of accumulated dust on the array. Opportunity is in good health. Its total odometry remains at 15,051.44 meters (9.35 miles).