Mars Rovers Update
3 Mar 2004
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
SPIRIT UPDATE: Rock Abrasion Tool Back in Action - sol 59, Mar 03, 2004
Waking up to "One More Time" by The Real McCoy, Spirit completed a successful, 2 millimeter-deep grind (.08 inches) into a target slightly left of the depression it made yestersol during its abbreviated operation. A five-minute brush to clean the hole followed.
Completing the sol, which ended at 8:31 p.m. Wednesday, March 03, Spirit's arm then switched instruments so the Moessbauer spectrometer could examine "Humphrey's" new shallow cavity.
Before this sol's four-hour grinding, the microscopic imager and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer finished observations of yestersol's rock abrasion tool depression. To document Spirit's current position - about halfway to the "Bonneville" crater rim - the panoramic camera snapped the first of several images that, together, will provide a 360-degree view.
Engineers identified the software issue that caused the rock abrasion tool to terminate its original planned grinding on sol 58. The minor bug will be fixed when new flight software is loaded at the end of March.
In the coming sols, Spirit will complete the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer observations of the rock abrasion tool hole and get an up-close view with the microscopic imager. The final images will be obtained for the full panoramic view of Spirit's current position. After miniature thermal emission spectrometer and panoramic camera observations of the hole are conducted, Spirit will continue on toward "Bonneville" crater.
OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Opportunity Hits Pay Dirt - sol 38, Mar 03, 2004
On sol 38, which ended at 8:13 a.m. PST on Wednesday, March 3, Opportunity awoke to "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" by Creedence Clearwater Revival in honor of the confirmation that liquid water once flowed through the rocks at Meridiani Planum.
In the morning of sol 38, Opportunity observed the atmosphere with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Then, the rover turned the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to stare at the ground for science observations. Later, Opportunity took stereo microscopic images and M?ssbauer spectrometer readings of the soil target dubbed "Pay Dirt."
In the early afternoon Local Solar Time, Opportunity stowed the rover arm, took a panoramic camera image of "Last Chance," and drove a very short distance of 0.4 meters (16 inches) toward "Last Chance" to prepare for the deployment of the robotic arm.
The proposed plan for sol 39, which will end at 8:52 a.m. PST on Thursday, March 4, is to start the morning by taking images of a rare solar transit of the martian moon, Deimos. The solar transit of Deimos causes a solar eclipse only twice per Mars year (one Mars year equals roughly two Earth years). Later in the sol, Opportunity is scheduled to take a microscopic panorama of the layers in the "Last Chance" rock formation.