8 Mar 2004
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Opportunity Status for sol 43
posted Mar. 8, 5:15 pm PST
On sol 43, which ended at 11:31 a.m. PST on Monday, March 8, Opportunity awoke to "You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)" by Bruce Springsteen in recognition of the fact that the rock abrasion tool grind did not touch the surface of its rock target on sol 42.
Using a combination of microscopic images, hazard avoidance camera images, and rock abrasion tool tests on sol 43, Opportunity's engineering team discovered that the grind motor of the rock abrasion tool on Mars stalled prematurely during what's called the "seek/scan" phase when the rock abrasion tool instrument searches for the rock face. This resulted in no contact during the actual grind activity on sol 42. The most likely causes of the stall are dust and dirt accumulations and temperature variations on the instrument. The tests also confirmed that engineers can safely increase the motor voltage on the instrument to prevent a future stall.
In the process of conducting the rock abrasion tool activities, Opportunity placed the Moessbauer spectrometer on "Mojo 2," a target on "Flat Rock."
The remainder of the sol included preparations for the future target in this area, dubbed "Berry Bowl," taking pictures with the panoramic and navigation cameras. Opportunity also took ground and atmospheric measurements with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
The plan for sol 44, which ends at 12:10 p.m. PST on Tuesday, March 9 is to grind into "Mojo 2" using the rock abrasion tool and then to research the rock's chemical composition using the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and the Moessbauer spectrometer.