Mars Rovers Update
18 Mar 2004
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Opportunity Status for sol 52
Scrutinizing the Soil
posted Mar. 18, 9 am PST
Sol 52, which ended at 5:27 p.m. PST on March 17, was a full day for Opportunity, punctuated by short naps. The rover arm was deployed on the first of five targets in the rover's current soil survey. The soil was examined by all the rover's spectrometers and the panoramic camera.
In the afternoon, the rover moved about 6 meters (about 20 feet) to the second soil target, performing several remote observations along the way. Closing out the sol, Opportunity's alpha particle X-ray spectrometer began to inspect the capture magnets on the front of the rover. Clues about Mars' watery history are present even in the smallest dust grains that settle on these magnet arrays.
Images of Opportunity's "scuff" experiment on the rock "Carousel" reached Earth this sol. Scientists are currently examining the results.
In honor of Opportunity's 52nd sol on Mars, engineers chose "Rock Lobster" by the B52s as a wake-up tune.
In the coming sols, the rover will travel to the final targets in the soil survey.
Spirit Status for sol 73
A Close-Up of 'Serpent'
posted Mar. 18, 10:45 am PST
Spirit spent most of sol 73, which ended at 5:46 a.m. PST on March 18, 2004, analyzing targets in the drift dubbed "Serpent" with the microscopic imager. But before the close-ups began, Spirit acquired miniature thermal emission spectrometer inertia measurements on a disturbed area of soil. It also captured panoramic camera images of the scuffed area, dubbed "Bear Paw," the wheel that did the digging, and a nearby rock target named "White Elephant."
The microscopic imager work began at 11:00 am Mars Local Solar Time and was targeted at four points within the scuffed area on Serpent. The targets were given the bear-type names of Polar, Spectacled, Kodiak and Panda. For each target, seven microscopic images were taken to assure proper focus. At the Spectacled and Kodiak targets, a microscopic image with the filter in place was also taken for pseudo-color. Then the Moessbauer was placed on Panda and started an overnight integration. The arm activities were completed by about noon Mars Local Solar time, and were followed by the second thermal inertia measurement on the disturbed soil.
The rover took a siesta until 1:00 p.m. Mars Local Solar time, and then woke up for a series of mini thermal emission spectrometer observations on the rocks named "White Elephant," "Fruitcake," and "Dihedral." Then the third and last thermal inertia measurement was taken on the disturbed soil.
Spirit took another quick nap in the afternoon, and then completed sky measurements with the mini thermal emission spectrometer and panoramic camera.
Spirit will have an early start on sol 74, which will end at 6:25 a.m. PST March 19, 2004. Sol 74 will include a tool change to the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and the beginning of an integration on the drift target named Panda. Before the sol is over, Spirit will also analyze an undisturbed area of the Serpent drift before continuing to drive around the rim of "Bonneville" crater.