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Mars Rovers Update
Mars Rovers Update
9 Mar 2004
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

Opportunity Status for sol 44
Back to the Grind
posted Mar. 9, 12 pm PST

On Opportunity's 44th sol, ending at 12:10 p.m. PST on Tuesday, March 9, the rock abrasion tool ground a 3.1 millimeter-deep (just over one-tenth of an inch) hole in the "Mojo 2" target on "Flatrock." Yesterday, diagnostic testing determined a voltage adjustment was necessary to overcome some mechanism "stickiness" in the routine during which the rock abrasion tool finds the highest point in the target area.

The routine worked perfectly on this grind with the new voltage setting. After one hour and five minutes of successful grinding, the rock abrasion tool grind motor stalled, probably while grinding into one of the spherules also known as "blueberries." These objects are known to obstruct the grinding tool and cause it to terminate its sequence.

Late in the martian morning, the Moessbauer spectrometer was placed on the hole, followed later by the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer took two long atmospheric measurements. The panoramic camera was busy taking images of the hole as well as surrounding target areas.

The wake-up songs were "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)" by Janis Joplin for the rock abrasion tool's second attempt at "Mojo 2," and "X-ray Eyes" by Kiss for the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. Spirit Status for sol 64
Spirit Reaches the 300-Meter Mark!
posted Mar. 9, 11 am PST

Spirit completed another 29 meters (94 feet) of its drive toward the rim of "Bonneville" crater on sol 64, which ended at 11:49 p.m. PST, bringing its total odometry to 314 meters (1,030 feet) - 14 meters (45.9 feet) past the minimum mission success criterion.

Spirit began the morning with an 18-meter (59 feet) direct drive that safely maneuvered the rover through a field of rocks. Spirit then traversed 11 more meters (35 feet) using autonomous navigation and at 11:30 a.m. Mars Local Solar Time completed the drive. Spirit had some difficulty finding a way around an obstacle during the last portion of the commanded drive. That resulted in some repeated forward and backward maneuvering which left an interesting "trench" for scientists to have the rover peer into.

Spirit is climbing up a very steep part of "Bonneville" now, and ended this sol's drive tilted at a forward pitch of about 15 degrees.

For the next sol, the plan was to have Spirit perform some mini-thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground observations before waking up to do a touch-and-go and drive again!

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Last Updated: 9 Mar 2004