Mars Exploration Rovers Update
14 Oct 2009
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
SPIRIT UPDATE: In X-Band Fault Mode - sols 2050-2055, Oct. 09-14, 2009:
Spirit is still in X-band fault mode due to a high-gain antenna (HGA) dynamic brake anomaly that first occurred back on Sol 2027 (Sept. 15, 2009) and has re-occurred most recently on Sol 2052 (Oct. 11, 2009). With the HGA fault, all X-band uplinks use the low-gain antenna (LGA) and uplink bandwidth is limited.
Spirit was to be back under normal HGA operation on Sol 2054 (Oct. 13, 2009). However, a Deep Space Network (DSN) station outage at the last minute, with no alternative station available, prevented the HGA-recovery uplink from getting to Spirit. Spirit will be under runout sols, and the next planned uplink will be on Sol 2057 (Oct. 16, 2009).
So the Sol 2057 plan is to clear the X-band and HGA faults and change the communication behavior manager (CBM) back to X-band nominal. The HGA dynamic brake status has been masked already in flight software.
Spirit is otherwise in good health (power positive, thermally stable and communicative over LGA and UHF) conducting limited remote sensing science in the runout sols. The Moessbauer (MB) spectrometer is positioned on a surface target and will resume an extended integration on Sol 2057 (Oct. 16, 2009).
As of Sol 2054 (Oct. 13, 2009), Spirit's solar array energy production was 427 watt-hours with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.605. The dust factor is 0.6075, meaning that about 61 percent of the sunlight hitting the solar array is penetrating through the dust on the array.
Total odometry as of Sol 2055 (Oct. 14, 2009): 7,729.97 meters (4.80 miles).
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Finished with 'Shelter Island' - sols 2029-2035, Oct. 08-15, 2009:
Opportunity completed its survey of the meteorite called "Shelter Island".
On Sol 2029 (Oct. 8, 2009), the rover completed the in-situ (contact) science campaign on the meteorite's surface with a microscopic imager (MI) mosaic and an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) placement for integration. On Sol 2031 (Oct. 10, 2009), the robotic arm (instrument deployment device, or IDD) was lifted from the meteorite and some final documentary images were collected by the panoramic camera (Pancam). On Sol 2032 (Oct. 11, 2009), the rover performed a 10-meter (33-foot) circumnavigation of the meteorite to image and document the backside.
On Sol 2034 (Oct. 14, 2009), Opportunity left "Shelter Island" and headed northwest driving 64 meters (210 feet) backwards toward another large rock (more than half a meter or 1.5 feet). With that drive, Opportunity crossed the 18 kilometer mark in total odometry. Motor currents in the right-front wheel continue to remain well behaved.
As of Sol 2035 (Oct. 15, 2009), Opportunity's solar array energy production was 446 watt-hours, with an atmospheric opacity (tau) of 0.591 and a dust factor of 0.562.
Total odometry as of Sol 2034 (Oct. 14, 2009): 18,036.06 meters (11.21 miles).