Mars Rover Spirit
Contact with Orbiter
is healthy but had to sit out a Martian day waiting to send data
to Earth while the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was in safe mode.
Both the rover and the orbiter share the same X-band frequency
with Earth and must coordinate communications. Ultimately, Spirit
sent data to Earth while the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was on
the other side of Mars, out of reach of Earth.
full-color mosaic of images acquired by the rover’s panoramic
camera shows the various features of the landscape
near Spirit’s "Winter Haven" and the informal
names used to identify them. With Martian spring just around
the corner and solar power levels on the rise, Spirit has
been driving again. Scientists hope to return to the circular,
plateau-like feature known as "Home Plate," though
it will take some weeks to get there with a dragging right
front wheel after visiting other points of scientific interest
along the way. Click for Full Panorama.
drove 21.26 meters (69.75 feet) on the rover’s 1,132nd and
1,136th sols, or Martian days, of exploration
(March 10 and
March 14, 2007), en route to rock targets on "Mitcheltree
Sol 1132 (March 10, 2007): Spirit touched a soil
target with the Mössbauer spectrometer, acquired microscopic images,
and surveyed the sky and ground as well as a vesicular basalt
known as "Faye Dancer" using the miniature thermal
emission spectrometer. The rover drove 10.2 meters (33.5 feet),
took images with the hazard avoidance and panoramic cameras,
and acquired a 360-degree mosaic with the navigation camera.
Sol 1133: Spirit began the day by imaging the sky with the panoramic
camera. The rover then pointed the navigation camera at the surrounding
terrain and acquired a movie in search of dust devils. Spirit
surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission
spectrometer and monitored dust on the rover mast.
Sol 1134: Spirit searched for dust devils in
the morning and spent much of the day engaged in remote targeted
acquired full-color images of a knob known as "Pitchers
Mound" using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The
rover acquired images of an outcrop known as "Backstop" and
conducted a survey of rock clasts using the panoramic camera.
Spirit acquired data on targets known as "Shirley Jameson," "Connie
Wisniewski," "Margaret Stephani," and "Tjanath" using
the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover monitored
atmospheric dust using the panoramic camera and surveyed the
sky and ground as well as targets known as "Phundahl" and "Panar" using
the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1135: Spirit began the day by examining scattered
light and searching for dust devils with the navigation camera.
rover surveyed targets known as "Ptarth" and "Thark," a
large slab of rock called "Torquas," and the sky and
ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1136: Spirit’s first task of the day was
surveying the rover’s calibration target and a target known
as "Toonal" using
the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit then drove
11.06 meters (36.29 feet) toward an outlying outcrop associated
with "Home Plate" (called "outlier 2") and
acquired post-drive images using the hazard avoidance and navigation
cameras. The rover surveyed the sky and ground using the miniature
thermal emission spectrometer.
Sol 1137: In the morning, Spirit acquired thumbnail
images of the sky using the panoramic camera and acquired a
movie in search
of dust devils using the navigation camera. When Spirit did not
receive the next day’s instructions as a result of being unable
to establish a link with Earth while the Mars Reconnaissance
Orbiter was in safe mode, the rover instead executed "runout" science
activities for the first time in 321 sols. The pre-loaded runout
activities included monitoring atmospheric dust, measuring light
looking east and west, imaging the calibration target, and taking
thumbnail images of the sky.
Sol 1138 (March 9, 2007): Spirit acquired full-color
images of targets known as "Ompt" and "Shador" using
all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover studied Ompt,
Shador, and additional targets known as "Zor" and "Zodanga" using
the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit monitored
atmospheric dust using the panoramic camera and conducted an
argon experiment using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.
Sol 1139: Spirit’s first activities of the day included acquiring
full-color images of Zodanga and Zor using all 13 filters of
the panoramic camera and searching for clouds using the navigation
camera. Spirit acquired hazard avoidance camera images and navigation
camera images of potential scientific targets as well as a 360-degree
view of the rover’s surroundings using the navigation camera.
Spirit monitored atmospheric dust using the panoramic camera.
Sol 1140 (March 19, 2007): Spirit took snapshots of the sky
using the panoramic camera and acquired a dust devil movie using
the navigation camera. The rover measured atmospheric dust, scanned
the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer,
and looked for clouds using the navigation camera.
As of sol 1136 (March 14, 2007), Spirit’s total odometry was
7,033.61 meters (4.37 miles).
Conducts Imaging and Diagnostics
Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity extended its cumulative
Martian driving record to more than 10 kilometers
(6.2 miles) by crossing 50.51 meters (165.7 feet) of flat
ground during the 1,080th Martian day since arriving on
Mars. This view shows the surroundings at the completion
of the day’s drive. It is a mosaic of frames taken by Opportunity’s
navigation camera. The
drive continued Opportunity’s clockwise progress around
the rim of "Victoria Crater," which
is visible near the horizon. Opportunity
began its fourth year of exploring Mars in January 2007.
Its mission was originally planned for three
months, with a driving-distance goal of 1,969
feet. Click for Full Panorama.
Opportunity is healthy and is positioning itself for long baseline
stereo imaging of "Cape St. Vincent," across the "Valley
Without Peril." Subsequently, the rover will drive northeast
to the mouth of the Valley Without Peril for long baseline
stereo imaging of the valley floor. On sol 1112 Opportunity
performed another test of RAT (rock abrasion tool) grind operations.
The test indicated the need to circumvent a portion of the
flight software which is still trying to use the RAT’s failed
encoder. The "patch" will be up-linked and tested
On sol 1114 Opportunity attempted an 8-meter (26 feet) drive
to a position on the west bank of the Valley Without Peril in
order to image Cape St. Vincent to the east. The drive stopped
after only a half a meter of progress because the rover failed
to stay within limits placed on its heading by the rover drivers.
A similar drive is planned for sol 1116.
In addition to Opportunity’s daily science observations, which
include a panoramic camera tau measurement and miniature thermal
emission spectrometer sky and ground stares, the rover did the
Sol 1112 (March 11, 2007): On this sol, Opportunity conducted
another RAT grind test, miniature thermal emission spectrometer
7-point sky and ground stares, panoramic camera high sun observation,
an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration to look for
Argon and panoramic camera sky thumbnail images.
Sol 1113: Opportunity used the instruments on
its "head" (or
panoramic camera mast assembly) to scan the sky and then used
the panoramic camera to image the local foreground in 13-filters.
The navigation camera was then used to prepare for miniature
thermal emission spectrometer observations and to look for clouds.
Sol 1114: The rover began to drive south-southwest to the imaging
position for Cape St. Vincent. The drive stalled due to Opportunity
exceeding heading limitations set by rover drivers. A post-drive
navigation camera image was shot for next drive.
Sol 1115: On this sol, Opportunity completed miniature thermal
emission spectrometer sky and ground stares, navigation camera
search for clouds, panoramic camera sky thumbnail images and
panoramic camera mast assembly dust monitoring.
Sol 1116: Opportunity drove south-southwest to the imaging position
for Cape St. Vincent and then completed a post-drive navigation
camera mosaic for the next drive.
Sol 1117: On this sol, Opportunity calibrated the miniature
thermal emission spectrometer and then used it to assess the
local sky and ground. The navigation camera was used to look
As of sol 1114, Opportunity’s total odometry is 10,285.53 meters