NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology JPL HOME EARTH SOLAR SYSTEM STARS & GALAXIES SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY JPL Email News RSS Mobile Video
Follow this link to skip to the main content
JPL banner - links to JPL and CalTech
left nav graphic Overview Science Technology The Mission People Spotlights Events Multimedia All Mars
Mars for Kids
Mars for Students
Mars for Educators
Mars for Press
+ Mars Home
+ Rovers Home
image link to mission page
image link to summary page
link to Rover update page
Spirit Archive
Opportunity Archive
Where are they now?
month in review
image link to mission team
image link to launch vehicle
image link to spacecraft
link to mission timeline page
communications to earth
Spirit Updates
2004 |  2005 |  2006 |  2007 |  2008 |  2009 |  2010 |  2011
 

M I S S I O N     M A N A G E R S   
Scott Lever, Mission manager Mike Seibert, Mission manager Al Herrera, Mission manager
Scott Lever Mike Seibert Al Herrera
P R E V I O U S    M I S S I O N    M A N A G E R S
Matt Keuneke, Mission Manager Cindy Oda, Mission Manager Rich Morris, Mission Manager Bill Nelson, Mission manager
Matt Keuneke Cindy Oda Richard Morris Bill Nelson
Byron Jones, Mission Manager Mark Adler, Mission Manager Leo Bister, Mission manager Beth Dewell, Mission Manager
Byron Jones Mark Adler Leo Bister Beth Dewell
Emily Eelkema, Mission Manager Jeff Favretto, Mission Manager Soina Ghandchi, Mission Manager Andy Mishkin, Mission Manager
Emily Eelkema Jeff Favretto Saina Ghandchi Andy Mishkin
Art Thompson, Mission Manager Rick Welch, Mission Manager Colette Lohr, Mission Manager Dan Gaines, Mission Manager
Art Thompson Rick Welch Colette Lohr Dan Gaines

sol 1051-1057, December 22, 2006: Spirit Tests New Computer Smarts, Studies Rocks and Terrain

Spirit is healthy and conducting scientific analysis of a rock target known as "Palma." During the past week, Spirit tested some new software sequences, including a "watch for dust devil" command and an automatic placement command.

On the rover's 1052nd Martian day, or sol, of exploring Mars (Dec. 18, 2006), Spirit ran part of the dust devil watch, acquiring six images during the process, but did not run the dust-devil detection part of the program. Rover handlers planned to rerun the test on sol 1058 (Dec. 24, 2006).

On sol 1053 (Dec. 19, 2006), Spirit terminated a test run of a command sequence for autonomous placement of the rover's robotic arm on a scientific target. The sequence involved touching a target with the Mössbauer spectrometer, changing tools to the microscopic imager and suspending it 10 centimeters (4 inches) above the target, changing tools to the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, and placing the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the target. Spirit made preparations to run the test again on a new target on the same day that some Earthlings celebrate as Christmas Eve.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1051 (Dec. 17, 2006): Spirit turned to face a rock outcrop known as "Esperanza," acquired images with the hazard avoidance cameras and a 360-degree panorama with the panoramic camera, and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera. The rover measured atmospheric dust, looked at the sky, examined the terrain, and completed a survey of individual rock grains, known as clasts, using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1052: Spirit conducted step No. 2 of the new capability to watch for dust devils and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1053: Spirit acquired microscopic images of Palma, conducted step No. 2 of the autonomous placement test, monitored dust in the atmosphere with the panoramic camera, scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, and monitored the rover mast for dust accumulation.

Sol 1054: Spirit scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and collected miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from a ground target known as "Melchior." The rover continued to measure atmospheric dust opacity and take images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1055 (Dec. 21, 2006): Because the rover was not stationed at the appropriate distance from the target for the automatic placement test, Spirit prepared to run the test with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer a second time, followed by six hours of measurement with the instrument. Spirit was slated to scan the sky, ground, and a target known as "Druzhnaya" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer as well as acquire frames for a dust devil movie.

Sol 1056: Plans called for four hours of analysis of Palma using the Mössbauer spectrometer, measurements of atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, a check for changes over time in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and a scan of the ground and sky at various elevations using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit was also to acquire panoramic camera and stereo images of a rock nicknamed "Orcadas."

Sol 1057 (Dec. 23, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to conduct an additional 3.5 hours of study of Palma using the Mössbauer spectrometer, measure atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, check for drift (changes in time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, scan the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, check the calibration target of the same instrument, and use it to scan a rock target known as "Gueslaga."

Odometry:

As of sol 1054 (Dec. 20, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,886.80 meters (4.28 miles).


sol 1043-1050, December 18, 2006: Relay Link Restored After Orbiter's Recovery

After Spirit drove on sol 1041 (Dec. 7, 2006), NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter went into safe mode before the rover's could relay data to Earth about results of the drive. (Safe mode is a protective state during which only the systems essential to spacecraft health continue operating. This incident of Odyssey temporarily going into safe mode has been attributed to a burst of solar activity.) Since the rover team didn't have current information about Spirit's position and state, the rover spent eight successive Martian days, or sols, collecting untargeted remote sensing data.

Data transmission directly to Earth from Spirit on sol 1046 (Dec. 12, 2006) confirmed that Spirit was healthy. Odyssey recovered the following day and resumed relaying data from Spirit, transmitted from the rover to the orbiter in the UHF radio band.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1043 (Dec. 9, 2006): Spirit surveyed the rover's tracks using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and measured atmospheric dust opacity with the panoramic camera. The rover surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1044: Spirit surveyed the area where the rover spent the past Martian winter with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and took panoramic camera images of the area.

Sol 1045: Spirit took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera. Spirit monitored the rover mast for dust and relayed the first bits of scientific data collected and stored on sol 1040 (Dec. 6, 2006).

Sol 1046: Spirit surveyed the rover's winter haven with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and monitored atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera. The rover scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1047: Spirit collected miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from a soil target known as "Tyrone" and continued acquiring panoramic camera images of the rover's winter haven.

Sol 1048: Spirit acquired thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera. The rover monitored atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, and surveyed the sky, ground, and calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1049: Spirit acquired navigation camera images in support of miniature thermal emission spectrometer measurements of the rover's surroundings. The rover monitored atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera and acquired panoramic images of the area ahead.

Sol 1050 (Dec. 16, 2006): Spirit's instructions call for scanning for clouds and dust devils with the navigation camera, surveying the mast for dust accumulation and observing the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1048 (Dec. 14, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,885.62 meters meters (4.28 miles).


sol 1039-1042, December 08, 2006: Spirit Slowly Resumes Driving on Martian Terrain

Despite a non-functioning right front wheel, Spirit is healthy and on the move. The rover completed short drives on Martian days, or sols, 1039 (Dec. 5, 2006) and 1041 (Dec. 7, 2006) on its way toward a rock target informally named "Esperanza."

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1039 (Dec. 5, 2006): Spirit drove 1 meter (3.3 feet) and acquired images after the drive using the hazard avoidance and navigation cameras. The rover took a super-resolution image with the panoramic camera and scanned the Martian sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1040: Spirit scanned the sky, ground, and Esperanza using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover surveyed the sky and the horizon with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1041: Spirit turned in the direction of Esperanza, then drove another 1.5 meters (5 feet) toward the rock. Spirit acquired more detailed images after the drive with the hazard avoidance camera and a 360-degree view of the rover's surroundings with the navigation camera. The rover searched the sky for clouds with the navigation camera and took panoramic images of the "El Dorado" dune field and the Martian sky.

Sol 1042 (Dec. 8, 2006): Spirit panoramic camera took images for a full-color, 13-filter mosaic of the area studied by the rover during the last Martian winter. Spirit also scanned the area with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1039 (Dec. 5, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,880.86 meters (4.28 miles).


sol 1024-1038, December 05, 2006: Spirit Slowly Begins Driving Again

Spirit is healthy and preparing to drive away from the rover's winter station after completing scientific investigation of a rock nicknamed "King George Island." The rock, according to principal investigator Steve Squyres, contains some of the best-rounded grains ever seen in a Martian rock. Scientists will try to determine how the grains formed -- perhaps with help from wind or water.

Spirit arrived at King George Island on Sol 1022 (Dec. 17, 2006) after a short bump (very short drive) from a disturbed soil target nicknamed "Bear Island." Upon arrival, Spirit took a mosaic of microscopic images of King George and collected data using the alpha-particle X-ray and Mössbauer spectrometers. Spirit then brushed the target with the wire bristles on the rock abrasion tool before collecting more alpha-particle X-ray and Mössbauer data for comparison with data from the unbrushed surface.

Spirit's next planned target is a rock aptly nicknamed "Esperanza," the Spanish word for hope. The first of several drives to reach that goal began on Sol 1037 (Dec. 3, 2006). On Sol 1030 (Nov. 25, 2006), the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter used its high-resolution camera to acquire images of Spirit's "Winter Haven," where the rover has spent its second Martian winter, and of Spirit's lander, which arrived on Mars Jan. 4, 2004.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

In addition to Spirit's daily science observations, which include measuring atmospheric dust opacity with the panoramic camera, surveying the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and scanning the Martian sky for clouds using the navigation camera, the Mars rover did the following work:

Sol 1024 (Nov. 19, 2006): Spirit collected data about the Martian atmosphere using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and monitored dust accumulation on the panoramic camera mast.

Sol 1025: Spirit acquired super-resolution panoramic camera images of the circular plateau-like feature known as "Home Plate" and measured the amount of light detectable at night and during Martian twilight.

Sol 1026: Spirit coordinated daily science observations with an overflight of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The rover measured surface reflectivity using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1027: Spirit acquired a mosaic of images of King George Island and collected data from the same rock target using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1028: Spirit studied King George Island using the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 1029: Spirit studied Esperanza and two other rock targets known as "Zhong Shan" and "Korolev" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1030: Spirit continued to assess King George Island using the Mössbauer spectrometer and investigated a distant rock outcrop known as "Oberth" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1031: Spirit brushed the surface of King George Island using the rock abrasion tool and acquired microscopic images and alpha-particle X-ray data of the freshly brushed surface.

Sol 1032: Spirit acquired Mössbauer data from the brushed surface of King George Island.

Sol 1033: Spirit acquired information about rock targets known as "Syowa" and "Wiltgen" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1034: Spirit collected microscopic images of two soil targets known as "Clarence" and "Deception" and recommenced analysis of the brushed surface of King George Island using the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 1035: Spirit analyzed a spot on the same rock surface but offset from the target known as King George Island by acquiring microscopic images and collecting corresponding compositional data with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1036: Spirit acquired a 13-filter, full-color panorama of the soil target known as "Tyrone" and again analyzed Korolev and Esperanza from a distance using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1037: Spirit stowed the robotic arm carrying scientific instruments and began driving toward Esperanza.

Sol 1038 (Dec. 4, 2006): Spirit tested new capabilities for automated placement of the robotic arm.

Odometry:

As of sol 1036 (Dec. 2, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,877.63 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 1017-1023, December 04, 2006: More Remote Science for Spirit

Spirit is healthy. Downlink of information from the rover resumed after a 48-hour gap in downlink that resulted from NASA's Mars Odyssey releasing most of its Deep Space Network coverage earlier in the week to Mars Global Surveyor to support efforts to recover communications with Global Surveyor.

This week, Spirit changed robotic-arm targets from "Berkner Island" to "Bear Island" and executed a microscopic image mosaic, five hours of data collection with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and nearly 48 hours with the Mössbauer spectrometer. The engineering team planned and commanded Spirit's second drive of the season on sol 1022.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 1017 (Nov. 12, 2006): Spirit used its microscopic imager to take exposures for a stereo mosaic of target Bear Island, then placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on that target. After the Mars Odyssey pass, the rover took a tau (atmospheric clarity) measurement and then began a five-hour reading with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1018: The panoramic camera took thumbnail images of the sky, and the navigation camera scanned for clouds. The team changed tools to the Mössbauer spectrometer and used it for a 10-hour integration on Bear Island.

Sol 1019: In the morning, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer assessed the sky and ground, and the panoramic camera examined the sky. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer then stared at target "Baudoin." Some engineering maintenance was done and then the Mössbauer spectrometer was restarted on target Bear Island.

Sol 1020: In the morning, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer assessed the sky and ground, and the panoramic camera examined the sky. The rover restarted the Mössbauer data-collection on Bear Island for a 23-hour, overnight integration.

Sol 1021: Spirit's miniature thermal emission spectrometer assessed light-toned material in the rover's tracks in the morning. The Mössbauer spectrometer was restarted on Bear Island. The panoramic camera conducted a light experiment by taking multiple images throughout the day. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer assessed target "Allan Hills" during the communications pass with Mars Odyssey. After the Odyssey pass, the Mössbauer observation was completed and the panoramic camera took a tau measurement at sunset.

Sol 1022: Spirit's arm was stowed before the rover began a short drive to a nearby outcrop. After the drive the navigation and hazard avoidance cameras took images. A tau measurement was taken as well.

Sol 1023 (Nov. 28): The panoramic camera took images of targets "El Dorado" and "Prat" as well as thumbnail images of the sky. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer conducted a sky and ground observation.

Odometry:

As of sol 1023, Spirit's odometry is 6,877.63 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 1013-1016, November 13, 2006: Spirit's 'Arm' Busy Checking New Targets

After Spirit's successful 0.71-meter (28-inch) bump on sol 1010, the team has new targets in the robotic arm's work volume for the first time in 204 sols. There is some interesting light and dark material within arm's reach and this week the team planned a robotic arm campaign including a microscopic imager mosaic, four hours of alpha particle X-ray spectrometer integration and 43 hours of Mössbauer spectrometer integration. Spirit is receiving a little over 320 Watt-hours now and is able to occasionally use the Mössbauer or alpha particle X-ray spectrometer overnight.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1013 (Nov. 8, 2006): This sol began with the usual engineering block tau (atmospheric clarity) measurement, then a calibration of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer before that instrument was used to stare at the sky and ground. Spirit then used its front hazard avoidance cameras to look at the robotic arm's work volume, then unstowed the arm and took a stereo microscopic image of target "Berkner Island." The rover then placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on Berkner Island and integrated for four hours. Spirit used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer to stare at target "Davis" during the afternoon when NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft passed overhead.

Sol 1014: The rover changed tools to the Mössbauer spectrometer and integrated for 23 hours.

Sol 1015: During the morning of this sol, Spirit conducted dust monitoring of its panoramic camera mast assembly (its neck and head). The rover then restarted the Mössbauer on target Berkner Island for a 10-hour integration. A panoramic camera tau measurement and a miniature thermal emission spectrometer observation of sky and ground were conducted around the Odyssey pass.

Sol 1016: On this sol, Spirit took images with its navigation camera. It then restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer on Berkner Island for a 10-hour integration. Total integration time is 43 hours at this target. The rover then conducted a panoramic camera sky observation.

Odometry:

As of sol 1016 (Nov. 11, 2006), Spirit's odometry is 6,876.89 meters (4.27 miles).



sol 1006-1012, November 07, 2006: Spirit Passes 1000 Sols and Continues its Winter Campaign

Spirit is healthy and is starting to stir from its winter resting spot.

Sols 1006 through 1009 were spent working on winter campaign observations; Spirit is entering the final phase of these observations.

Sol 1010 saw Spirit stir from its winter resting spot with a 33-degree turn and a 0.71-meter (28-inch) bump. This was done so that Spirit could reach the bright soil pushed up by its right front wheel when the rover arrived here about 200 sols ago.

On Sol 1011 Spirit performed a coordinated experiment with NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This test was performed to characterize performance of the orbiter's UHF Electra radio. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will provide data relay services for NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, which is scheduled to arrive at Mars in May 2008.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1006 (Nov. 1, 2006): Spirit assessed atmospheric clarity (a "tau" measurement) with its panoramic camera, calibrated its miniature thermal emission spectrometer and then used that instrument to stare at the sky and ground. The rover's microscopic imager was used to image the rover's magnet array and a solar panel. During the communication window with NASA's Mars Odyssey, the rover again used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to look at the sky and ground. After the Odyssey pass, the panoramic camera imaged the sunset.

Sol 1007: In the morning of this sol, Spirit's miniature thermal emission spectrometer measured a dust spot. A tau measurement was taken by the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer checked out the sky and ground. The microscopic imager took images for stereo mosaics and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer was calibrated.

Sol 1008: This morning Spirit used its navigation camera to look for clouds and then used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer to look at the sky and ground. The rover then used its panoramic camera to do a tau measurement before the miniature thermal emission spectrometer was used again. The microscopic imager was then used on targets "Palmer" and "Mawson." The arm was stowed and then the panoramic camera did a light check before it imaged the sunset.

Sol 1009: Spirit used its navigation camera this morning to look for clouds and then took thumbnail images of the sky with its panoramic camera. The panoramic camera also surveyed the horizon. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer completed a sky and ground observation before the Odyssey pass. During the communication window with Odyssey, the spectrometer stared at target "Casey Station." After the Odyssey pass the rover did a tau measurement with the panoramic camera and began to use the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on "Argon."

Sol 1010: During the morning of this sol, Spirit used its panoramic camera to image "El Dorado." The hazard avoidance cameras were aimed at some fine ripples to assess them. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer stared at some Martian dust and the panoramic camera assessed the atmosphere. Again, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer was used to stare at the sky and ground. The rover was commanded to do a "bump," or very short movement. Post-bump images were taken with the navigation camera and the hazard avoidance cameras.

Sol 1011: Spirit used its panoramic camera to have a look at the sky before it began to take a large panoramic image. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer was used to look at the sky and ground before Spirit interacted with its Martian partner overhead, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Sol 1012 (Nov. 7, 2006): On this sol, the panoramic camera was used to finish the panorama it began "yestersol." The panoramic camera took a tau measurement before the miniature thermal emission spectrometer had a look at the sky and ground.

Odometry:

As of sol 1010 (Nov. 5, 2006), Spirit's total odometry is 6,976.89 meters (4.34 miles).



sol 982-987, October 16, 2006: Approaching Solar Conjunction

As Spirit enters a period known as solar conjuction, when the sun interferes with transmissions between Mars and Earth, mission planners sent a complete set of plans for science activities during solar conjunction to Spirit on the rover's 982nd sol, or Martian day, of exploring inside Gusev Crater (Oct. 7, 2006). During that time, the rover will achieve a new milestone: exploring Mars for 1,000 consecutive days.

Solar conjunction will begin on sol 991 (Oct. 16, 2006) and end on sol 1015 (Nov. 10, 2006). During this period, both NASA rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, will not receive any new command loads, but they will send daily downlinks to Earth, averaging 15 megabits of data per transmission. The data will be relayed to Earth via NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft in orbit above Mars.

Each day during conjunction, Spirit will spend 3 hours analyzing dust collected on the rover's filter magnet using the Mössbauer spectrometer and 24 minutes conducting a variety of early morning science observations. The morning science activities are designed to monitor the atmosphere and to search for any possible surface changes. The workload will make optimum use of solar power levels available with the retreat of Martian winter.

Spirit is healthy and continues to make progress on the winter science campaign of experiments. The rover's solar energy levels continue to rise slowly. Solar power is currently about 300 watt-hours. One hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 982 (Oct. 7, 2006): Spirit measured atmospheric dust opacity with the panoramic camera and surveyed the sky, ground, and dark soil in the rover's tracks using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit took panoramic camera images of the rover's tracks and analyzed rock targets known as "Gueslaga" and "Tor" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover measured the brightness of the morning sky in the west using the panoramic camera.

Sol 983: Spirit measured atmospheric dust opacity with the panoramic camera and surveyed the sky, ground, and dark soil in the rover's tracks using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit took a look at the elemental chemistry of the atmosphere with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover acquired super-resolution panoramic camera images of a target called "Mitcheltree Ridgecrest 11."

Sol 984: Spirit measured atmospheric dust opacity with the panoramic camera and surveyed the sky, ground, and soil in the rover's tracks using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit analyzed a rock target dubbed "O'Higgins" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and referenced instrument measurements to the calibration target on the rover. The rover scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, measured morning sky brightness with the panoramic camera, and monitored dust on the panoramic camera mast assembly.

Sol 985: Spirit measured atmospheric opacity using the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and restarted analysis of dust collected by the filter magnets using the Mössbauer spectrometer. Spirit scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera and acquired thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 986: Spirit measured atmospheric opacity using the panoramic camera, checked for drift (changes with time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera and acquired thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 987 (Oct. 12, 2006): Spirit measured atmospheric dust opacity using the panoramic camera, checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover restarted Mössbauer analysis of dust on the filter magnets. Spirit surveyed the sky during high sun using the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 986 (Oct. 11, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 977-981, October 13, 2006: Spirit Studies Layers of Volcanic Rock

Spirit is healthy and continues to make progress on a winter science campaign of experiments.

In parallel with normal planning, a special team has been developing plans to be executed during solar conjunction, when the sun obscures the line of sight between Earth and Mars and severely limits radio communication. Rover handlers will upload the plans to be executed by Spirit during solar conjunction prior to the beginning of conjunction. This year's solar conjunction period begins on the rover's 991st Martian day, or sol, (Oct. 16, 2006) and ends on sol 1005 (Oct. 30, 2006). Planning for future activities on sols 1006 and 1007 (Oct. 31 to Nov. 1, 2006) will resume Oct. 30.

Spirit continued to produce atmospheric profiles of dust, temperature at different heights, ice, and water vapor, as well as surface and sub-surface temperatures using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Plans also called for a scan of the sky for clouds, which, if found, could be incorporated into a multi-frame movie for observing cloud movement.

Spirit acquired super-resolution panoramic camera images of volcanic outcrops called "Marambio," "Jubany," and "Mitcheltree Ridge" on sols 979 and 981 (Oct. 4 and Oct. 6, 2006). The outcrops consist of basalt, a dense, dark rock that hardens from lava and often has a glassy appearance. These basalts were also vesicular, meaning they are porous because there were gas bubbles in the lava when it solidified.

The purpose of the super-resolution imaging campaign is to identify and map characteristics of the local geology. In particular, scientists hope to determine the relative stratigraphy of Mitcheltree Ridge, "Low Ridge," and the raised, circular plateau known as "Home Plate." Stratigraphy is the study of rock layers.

Spirit's solar energy levels continued to rise, ending the week at around 300 watt-hours. One hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 977 (Oct. 2, 2006): Spirit measured atmospheric opacity using the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, used the Mössbauer spectrometer to analyze dust collected by the filter magnets, acquired panoramic camera images of the work volume accessible by the robotic arm, and collected images of the rover's tracks with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 978: Spirit measured atmospheric opacity using the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and collected thermal data from targets known as "Casey Station" and "Sobral." The rover acquired super-resolution images of volcanic rock outcrops called Marambio and Jubany and measured morning sky brightness in the west with the panoramic camera.

Sol 979: Spirit measured atmospheric dust opacity using the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and restarted integration of data from the Mössbauer spectrometer's inspection of dust on the filter magnets. In addition, Spirit acquired morning images of the dune field known as "El Dorado" as well as images of the Martian horizon using the panoramic camera, measured morning sky brightness in the west with the panoramic camera, and scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera.

Sol 980: Spirit measured atmospheric dust opacity using the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, surveyed the sky with the panoramic camera, and acquired super-resolution images of Mitcheltree Ridge with the panoramic camera.

Sol 981 (Oct. 6, 2006): Spirit measured atmospheric dust opacity using the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, restarted integration of data from the filter magnets with the Mössbauer spectrometer, and acquired super-resolution panoramic camera images of the soil target known as "Tyrone."

Odometry:

As of sol 981 (Oct. 6, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 970-976, September 29, 2006: Solar Power Is on the Rise as Spirit 'Follows the Water'

Solar power levels on Spirit are slowly beginning to rise again following a winter low of 275 watt-hours on Martian day, or sol, 933 (Aug. 18, 2006). One hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour. This week, the rover's power levels rose to about 296 watt-hours.

Spirit spent much of the week analyzing atmospheric dust attracted to magnets on the spacecraft. The rover identifies iron minerals in the dust using the Mössbauer spectrometer. One of the two magnets, the filter magnet, is weaker than the capture magnet, allowing scientists to separate mineral grains that have the highest magnetic susceptibility, particularly minerals that contain iron.

During the week, Spirit studied rock targets known as "Juan Carlos," "Gueslaga," and "Tor" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Juan Carlos and Tor are vesicular rocks filled with tiny holes that formed during the cooling of a froth of magma and gas. Scientists hope to determine whether these rocks are similar to or different from nearby smooth-textured volcanic rocks known as basalts. Gueslaga, meanwhile, is an entirely different kind of rock known as an "exotic," meaning it came from somewhere else and may have been emplaced during an impact event.

Spirit continued to make scientific observations of the soil target known as "Tyrone." Tyrone is a patch of bright material, white and yellow in color, that is possibly analogous to salty soils examined earlier in the mission known as "Arad" and "Paso Robles." Spirit's dragging right front wheel churned up the bright material on the rover's 784th sol of exploration of Mars (March 18, 2006). Some science team members have speculated that some component in this material is hydrated. If moisture enters or leaves the material, the miniature thermal emission spectrometer would be able to detect it. Scientists are also monitoring the soil with the rover's panoramic camera for any color changes, because variability in water content could affect the color. These observations are ongoing to account for seasonal variability.

The rover continues to operate successfully with the new flight software package.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 970 (Sept. 25, 2006): Spirit measured atmospheric opacity using the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, analyzed dust on the filter magnet with the Mössbauer spectrometer, acquired morning images of the spacecraft deck with the panoramic camera, and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 971: Spirit measured atmospheric opacity using the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, collected data from the rock target known as Juan Carlos, and surveyed the horizon using the panoramic camera.

Sol 972: Spirit measured atmospheric opacity using the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, restarted integration of data from the filter magnets with the Mössbauer spectrometer, acquired panoramic camera images of the work volume accessible by the robotic arm, and measured morning sky brightness in the west with the panoramic camera.

Sol 973: Spirit measured atmospheric opacity using the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, studied the rock targets Gueslaga and Tor using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and used the panoramic camera to take images of rover tracks and measure morning sky brightness in the west.

Sol 974: Plans called for Spirit to measure atmospheric opacity using the panoramic camera, survey the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, restart integration of data from the filter magnets with the Mössbauer spectrometer, survey the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, scan the sky for clouds, measure morning sky brightness, and take a morning measurement of dust on the panoramic camera mast assembly with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 975: Plans called for Spirit to measure atmospheric opacity using the panoramic camera, survey the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquire morning images of the rover's tracks with all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 976 (Oct. 1, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to measure atmospheric opacity using the panoramic camera, survey the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, continue analysis of dust on the filter magnets with the Mössbauer spectrometer, and complete a morning sky survey with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 973 (Sept. 28, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 964-969, September 22, 2006: Spirit Activates New Software

Following some dramatic scrambling by rover handlers to command both Mars Exploration Rovers to switch to new flight software during a bit of a traffic jam at the Red Planet, Spirit successfully woke up and began operating with the new software. The X-band frequency for communicating directly with Earth had become unavailable while being used by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter during critical events for that mission. As in the past, engineers were able to use the UHF-band frequency to relay commands indirectly to the rovers via NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter. Time was of the essence in order to begin running and testing the new software before solar conjunction in October, when Mars will be on the opposite side of the sun from Earth and radio communication will be intermittent for a couple of weeks.

The new software gives the rover enhanced autonomous operational capabilities to be tested in coming months.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 964 (Sept. 19, 2006): Spirit halted operations temporarily while awaiting instructions from Earth. Rover handlers originally planned to have the rover reboot using the new flight software by sending a command over the X-band uplink. The X-band became unavailable when it was needed by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The team sent the reboot command via the UHF-band antenna on the Odyssey orbiter later the same day.

Sol 965: At 11 a.m. local solar time on Mars, Spirit woke up for the first time running the new flight software, known as version R9.2. Later the same sol, or Martian day, Spirit ran a series of engineering sequences to establish operating parameters for data products and imaging.

Sol 966: Spirit set operating parameters for driving and operating the rover's robotic arm. The rover measured atmospheric dust using the panoramic camera.

Sol 967: Plans called for Spirit to continue to test the new software. Science activities remained light as the uplink team waited for both Spirit and Spirit's twin, Opportunity, on the other side of Mars, to reboot using the new software.

Sol 968: Plans called for Spirit to return to relatively normal science operations without moving the robotic arm, while team members awaited confirmation that the rover had established the correct operating parameters for the arm. Spirit was to complete 5 hours of analysis of dust on the rover's capture magnet using the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 969 (Sept. 24, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to measure surface reflectivity with the panoramic camera, measure atmospheric dust, and complete a morning scan of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, followed by similar observations in the afternoon. Spirit was also instructed to measure sky brightness, check for changes over time in the panoramic camera, and study a soil target known as "Tyrone" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 965 (Sept. 20, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 957-963, September 14, 2006: The Martian Sun Also Rises as Winter Retreats

Spirit is beginning to see an upward trend in electrical power as winter slowly recedes and the sun ascends higher in the sky each day. Electrical power from the rover's solar array rose to 287 watt-hours on the rover's 958th Martian day, or sol (Sept. 12, 2006) of exploration, compared with 277 watt-hours on sol 944 (Aug. 29, 2006). One hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour.

During the past week, Spirit conducted 10 hours of analysis of the elemental composition of dust on the rover's magnets using the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. Spirit also finished taking images of the spacecraft deck.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 957 (Sept. 11, 2006): Spirit continues to complete the same set of observations each sol in parallel with engineering activities such as data management. The engineering block of activities includes monitoring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. On this particular sol, Spirit demonstrated additional multi-tasking abilities by acquiring data on a rock target known as "Vostok" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer while transmitting data to the Odyssey spacecraft as it passed overhead.

Sol 958: Spirit acquired part 13 of the 15-part image mosaic of the spacecraft deck with the panoramic camera. Spirit spent about five hours acquiring data on the elemental composition of dust on the rover's filter magnets using the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 959: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a soil target consisting of bright material in the rover's tracks known as "Tyrone."

Sol 960: Plans called for Spirit to continue to acquire panoramic images of the rover deck, restart the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer following the overhead pass of the Odyssey spacecraft, and spend 4 hours and 50 minutes collecting elemental data of dust on the filter magnets. Plans also called for a morning measurement of sky brightness in the west with the panoramic camera (known as a pancam skyspot), a search for clouds using the navigation camera, a horizon survey with the panoramic camera, imaging of the "El Dorado" dune field with the panoramic camera, and imaging of ripples with the rear hazard avoidance camera.

Sol 961: Plans called for Spirit to acquire data from a target known as "Macquarie" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, acquire data from the calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and search for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 962: Plans called for Spirit to acquire the last segment of the 15-part panoramic mosaic of the spacecraft deck and conduct a 4-hour and 35-minute alpha particle X-ray spectrometer analysis of the filter magnets. Plans also called for Spirit to acquire sky images with the panoramic camera and validate measurements of complete darkness by the panoramic camera.

Sol 963 (Sept. 18, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to acquire images of the rover's tracks with the navigation camera, take microscopic images of the filter and capture magnets, and place the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on the capture magnet. Plans also called for the rover to acquire hazard avoidance camera images of the work volume reached by the rover's robotic arm, monitor dust on the panoramic camera mast assembly, survey the horizon with the panoramic camera, and search for morning clouds with the navigation camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 958 (Sept. 12, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 950-956, September 08, 2006: Spirit Monitors Dust and Searches for Clouds

Spirit is healthy and continues to make progress on the rover's winter science campaign. During the past week, Spirit continued filling in sections of the rover's deck as part of the "Deck Pan" mosaic of panoramic images.

Electrical power from the rover's solar array has continued to hold steady at approximately 280 watt-hours per sol (a hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 950 (Sept. 4, 2006): Spirit collected images of the rover deck with the panoramic camera, checked the atmosphere for opacity caused by dust, and scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 951: Spirit collected images of the rover deck with the panoramic camera, checked the atmosphere for opacity caused by dust, and scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 952: Spirit collected images of the rover deck with the panoramic camera, checked the atmosphere for opacity caused by dust, and scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 953: Plans called for Spirit to acquire images of the sun high in the sky and acquire data from rock targets known as "Primero" and "Castilla" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Plans also included checking the atmosphere for opacity caused by dust and scanning the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 954: Plans called for Spirit to acquire panoramic camera images of the capture and filter magnets (two dust-collecting magnets on the rover deck), search for clouds using the navigation camera, check the atmosphere for opacity caused by dust, and scan the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 955: Plans called for Spirit to acquire images of the rover deck, microscopic images of the capture magnet, and miniature thermal emission spectrometer data on a rock target known as "Signy." The rover was also slated to make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 956 (Sept. 11, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to collect images of the rover deck with the panoramic camera and microscopic images of the filter magnet, as well as make the usual daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 952 (Sept. 6, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 943-949, September 05, 2006: Spirit Recovers from Software Reset, Makes Finishing Touches to Winter Panorama

Spirit experienced a software reset during the evening overpass of the Odyssey orbiter on sol 944 (Aug. 29, 2006). The rover was in the process of receiving command sequences for the following two Martian days, sols 945 and 946 (Aug. 30-31, 2006). As a result of the reset, the rover went into automode, meaning the rover did not attempt to execute a master sequence of activities for the day. The apparent cause was that the rover's central processing unit was overworked as several tasks were running in parallel at the time. Engineers transmitted a new, abbreviated plan of activities on sol 946 along with the plan of activities for sol 947 (Sept. 1, 2006).

Spirit is healthy and continues to make progress on the rover's winter science campaign. The rover spent part of the week filling in sections of the rover deck for the "McMurdo panorama." Electrical power from the rover's solar array has been holding steady at about 280 watt-hours per sol (a hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 943 (Aug. 28, 2006): Spirit acquired sky images with the navigation camera. The rover scanned the atmosphere for opacity caused by dust and scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 944: Spirit acquired microscopic images of the soil target known as "Halley Brunt." Spirit scanned the atmosphere for opacity caused by dust and scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 945: Spirit experienced a software reset and went into automode, meaning the rover did not attempt to execute a master sequence of activities for the day. The apparent cause was that the rover's central processing unit was overworked.

Sol 946: Spirit remained in automode. Engineers transmitted an abbreviated plan of activities for the sol along with the plan of activities for sol 947.

Sol 947: Plans called for Spirit to acquire fill-in images for the McMurdo panorama and to continue to make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 948: Plans called for Spirit to acquire Mössbauer data on the soil target called "Halley Brunt" and to continue to make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 949 (Sept. 3, 2006): Plans called for the rover to acquire fill-in frames for the McMurdo panorama and to continue to make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 945 (Aug. 30, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 933-942, August 25, 2006: Spirit Continues Mid-Winter Studies of Martian Rocks and Soil

Spirit continued to make progress on the rover's winter campaign of science observations, acquiring microscopic images and data about rock composition with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit took images of the spacecraft deck for incorporation into the "McMurdo panorama."

Spirit remains healthy. Electrical power from the rover's solar array has been holding steady at about 280 watt-hours per sol (a hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 933 (Aug. 18, 2006): Spirit acquired super-resolution images of a basalt hill nicknamed "Dome Fuji" with the panoramic camera and monitored dust on the pancam mast assembly. Spirit scanned the atmosphere for opacity caused by dust and scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 934: Spirit acquired touch-up images for the McMurdo panorama with the panoramic camera. Spirit scanned the atmosphere for opacity caused by dust and scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 935: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a rock target called "Prat" and measured the magnitude of sunlight in addition to scanning the horizon and sky with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 936: Spirit acquired data from a rock target called "Wasa" with the miniature thermal spectrometer. The rover continued to make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 937: Spirit acquired microscopic images of a ripple called "Palmer" and scanned for wind-related changes in a sand target known as "Rothera." Spirit continued to make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 938: Spirit acquired super-resolution, panoramic camera images of a possible meteorite candidate known as "Vernadsky." The rover continued to make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 939: Spirit acquired super-resolution, panoramic camera images of a target known as "Scott Base." Spirit continued to make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 940: Plans called for Spirit to acquire images of the rover deck with the panoramic camera and acquire miniature thermal emission spectrometer data on a rock target known as "Law-Racovita." Plans called for continued daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 941: Plans called for Spirit to acquire panoramic camera images of the rover deck as well as continue to make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 942 (Aug. 27, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to continue acquiring panoramic camera images of the rover deck, collect data about elemental composition of the rock target called "Halley Brunt," and make daily observations of the sky and ground with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 938 (Aug. 23, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 929-932, August 18, 2006: Spirit Checking 'Korolev'

Spirit is healthy and continues to make progress on its winter science campaign.

Spirit is finishing the "McMurdo mega-panorama" by acquiring touch-up images (dubbed "grout" by engineers). Spirit is nearly complete with the coverage of the ground around the rover.

Spirit continues making a series of atmospheric observations at the same time each day.

Spirit is collecting about 280 watt-hours of electrical power each sol from the rover's solar array (100 watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 929 (Aug. 14, 2006): Spirit studied a target called "Halley Brunt" with the panoramic camera and microscopic imager.

Sol 930: Spirit took a tau measurement, an observation during which the rover evaluates atmospheric opacity to estimate dust height.

Sol 931: Spirit took pictures with the panoramic camera of targets named "Korolev" and "McMurdo grout 10." Spirit also used the panoramic camera to take a tau measurement.

Sol 932 (Aug. 17, 2006): Spirit took a tau measurement with the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and took measurements of a target named "Vernadsky" along with a background stare with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 932 (Aug. 17, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 922-928, August 11, 2006: Spirit Survives Second Winter Solstice on Mars

Spirit has now survived the rover's second Martian winter solstice -- the shortest day of the year with the least amount of sunlight and solar energy. The solstice arrived on the rover's 923rd Martian day, or sol (Aug. 8, 2006). Spirit is healthy and continues to make progress on its winter science campaign.

Having completed the "McMurdo mega-panorama," Spirit is currently filling cracks between frames by acquiring touch-up images (dubbed "grout" by engineers). The rover is also spending this week and next making a series of atmospheric observations at the same time each day.

Spirit continues to collect about 280 watt-hours of electrical power each sol from the rover's solar array (a hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 922 (Aug. 7, 2006): Spirit measured atmospheric dust opacity (known as a tau measurement) with the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired fill-in images with the panoramic camera for column 24A (a single frame) of the McMurdo pan.

Sol 923: Spirit took a tau measurement with the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired morning fill-in images for the McMurdo pan with the panoramic camera.

Sol 924: Spirit took a tau measurement with the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired panoramic camera images of the "El Dorado" dune field (a two-by-one mosaic). The rover acquired images of fine ripples with the hazard avoidance cameras and a rearward-looking view with the left eye of the right rear hazard avoidance camera. Spirit also acquired morning fill-in images for the McMurdo pan.

Sol 925: Spirit took a tau measurement with the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired morning fill-in images for the McMurdo pan with the panoramic camera. Spirit also took a sunset tau measurement, an observation during which the rover evaluates atmospheric opacity at sunset to estimate dust height.

Sol 926: Plans called for Spirit to take a tau measurement with the panoramic camera, survey the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquire morning fill-in images for the McMurdo pan.

Sol 927: Plans called for Spirit to take a tau measurement with the panoramic camera, survey the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquire compositional data on a rock-and-soil target known as "Halley Brunt Offset 2" using the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. Plans also called for Spirit to complete a morning sky survey using the panoramic camera.

Sol 928 (Aug. 13, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to take a tau measurement with the panoramic camera, survey the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquire morning fill-in images for the McMurdo pan.

Odometry:

As of sol 924 (Aug. 9, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).



sol 915-921, August 04, 2006: Spirit Completes Camera Check-Up, Puts Finishing Touches on Panorama

Spirit has finished acquiring images for the "McMurdo panorama" and began adding some finishing touches around the edges. The rover is healthy and continues to make progress on its winter science campaign of observations on Mars.

Plans called for Spirit to complete a winter check-up of all the rover's cameras by calibrating the microscopic imager. To accomplish this procedure, known as a photon transfer observation, Spirit acquired 20 pairs of images, each pair taken during a different exposure time. Engineers used these images to form a baseline for estimating unwanted electronic signals using a Poisson distribution.

The Poisson curve measures probability over a fixed time interval based on a known average. Using this probability, engineers correlated the signal measured by the camera with differences in signals acquired in the image pairs to calculate the efficiency with which the camera's imaging sensors convert photons from sunlight into electrical energy. They used the same approach to characterize the electrical system's ability to translate measurements of voltage into digital numbers.

Spirit is collecting about 280 watt-hours of electrical power each sol from the rover's solar array (a hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 915 (July 30, 2006): Spirit acquired flat-field images for calibrating variations in the field of light in the McMurdo panorama.

Sol 916: Spirit surveyed the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 917: Spirit searched for clouds using the navigation camera.

Sol 918: Spirit added some finishing touches to the McMurdo panorama.

Sol 919: Spirit added more finishing touches to the McMurdo panorama.

Sol 920: Plans called for Spirit to conduct a photon transfer observation to measure electronic noise (unwanted signals) picked up by CCDs (charge-coupled devices -- imaging sensors that convert light into electrical current) in the microscopic imager.

Sol 921 (Aug 5, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to acquire panoramic camera images of a soil target known as "Tyrone."

Odometry

As of sol 918 (Aug. 2, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 908-914, July 29, 2006: NASA's Spirit Rover Survives Record Cold on Mars

Spirit remains healthy and continues to make progress on computer upgrades and scientific research, despite winter temperatures colder than any yet experienced during the rover's two and a half years on Mars. Models show that at the coldest part of the Martian night, around 5:00 a.m. Mars time, temperatures near the surface have dipped to approximately minus 97 degrees Celsius (minus 143 degrees Fahrenheit).

With the deepest part of the Martian winter just around the corner, Spirit is collecting about 284 watt-hours of electrical power each sol from the rover's solar array (a hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour). The shortest day, winter solstice in Mars' southern hemisphere, will arrive on Aug. 8, 2006. The lowest amount of solar energy the rover is expected to receive is about 275 watt-hours per sol.

Spirit has put the finishing touches on a new version of its flight software -- assembling, checking, and saving 200 sections of computer code transmitted from Earth in recent weeks. The software upgrade will give the rover enhanced autonomous operational capabilities. NASA plans for Spirit to switch from its current flight software to the new version in coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Spirit is only one frame away from completing the long-anticipated "McMurdo panorama," a full-color, 360-degree view of the rover's winter haven amid the "Columbia Hills" in Gusev Crater on Mars. The collection of images from the panoramic camera, as with all scientific data, has taken extra time to complete with the sun lower on the horizon and solar power levels on the wane. During the week, Spirit also used the microscopic imager to get a closer look at a small ripple nicknamed "Palmer."

For the next several weeks until Labor Day, Spirit will communicate with Earth only using UHF-band relay via NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter. The X-band Spirit uses for communicating directly with Earth will not be available while that frequency is used intensively by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in the final stages of trimming its orbit around Mars.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 908 (July 23, 2006): Spirit took microscopic images of Palmer.

Sol 909: Spirit continued work on the McMurdo panorama and used its miniature thermal emission spectrometer to study a rock target known as "Korolev2."

Sol 910: Spirit continued work on the McMurdo panorama and cleaned and calibrated the rock abrasion tool.

Sol 911: Spirit continued work on the McMurdo panorama and gathered remote-sensing information about a target known as "Druzhnaya."

Sol 912: Spirit continued work on the McMurdo panorama.

Sol 913: Spirit took microscopic images of a target known as "Palmer2."

Sol 914 (June 29, 2006): Plans call for Spirit to continue work on the McMurdo panorama.

Odometry

As of sol 911 (July 26, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 904-907, July 21, 2006: Spirit Clears Away Dust, Gets New Software Upgrade

Beginning July 22, 2006, in the early hours of the rover's 907th Martian day, Spirit is scheduled to begin knitting together and testing all 200 pieces of a new flight software package transmitted to the rover in recent weeks. Spirit remains healthy despite experiencing lower amounts of solar energy during the Martian winter.

The deepest part of the Martian winter - that is, the Martian winter solstice - will be on Aug. 8, 2006. The lowest amount of solar energy the rover is expected to receive is 275 watt-hours per sol (a hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour). The rover typically spends at least one sol recharging the batteries following each sol of heavy science activities.

During sols 904 through 907, Spirit continued work on the "McMurdo panorama," examined rock target "Halley Brunt" with the microscopic imager, and took atmospheric measurements with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Spirit also completed a test of the rock abrasion tool. Rover handlers ran the grind motor on the rock abrasion tool backward three times to remove a clod of dust that was thought to be interfering with the operation of the device. After running the motor backward for three seconds at three different voltages -- 5 volts, 8 volts, and 10 volts -- engineers concluded that the tool was operating normally and that it either never had a problem or dislodged whatever was stuck beneath the bit.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 904 (July 19, 2006): Spirit monitored atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera and acquired a mosaic of microscopic images of a rock and soil target known as "Halley Brunt Offset1." The rover ran the rock abrasion tool backward to remove dust. In preparation for traversing and collecting data from a laminated patch of soil known as "Palmer," the rover suspended the Mössbauer spectrometer above the target and documented the position of the instrument with the hazard avoidance cameras. Spirit continued to make progress on the McMurdo mosaic, acquiring one frame of column 24.

Sol 905: Spirit monitored atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, acquired another frame of column 24 of the McMurdo panorama, checked for drift (changes with time) in the pointing of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 906: Commands for uplink on sol 906 call for Spirit to monitor atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera. The plan also includes Spirit's task for the morning of sol 907, before that morning's uplink. This task is for Spirit to build the rover's new flight software package, a process that entails assembling, validating, and saving many thousands of lines of computer code sent from Earth in small packages during the past few weeks.

Sol 907 (July 22, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to monitor atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera and check for drift (changes with time) in the pointing of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit was also scheduled to conduct surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and acquire the first frame of column 25 of the McMurdo pan.

Odometry

As of sol 904 (July 19, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 897-904, July 14, 2006: Spirit to Get New Robotic Capabilities As Martian Winter Turns to Spring

This week Spirit greeted the 900th day, or sol, of exploration on Mars. Spirit is healthy and continues to make science observations despite winter power limitations. One file of a new software upgrade remains to be transmitted to the rover. Rover handlers plan to have Spirit start using the new software sometime in mid-August. The upgrade will enable the rover to process images more quickly and focus on a single target more efficiently and, when solar power levels increase again, demonstrate new robotic autonomous capabilities.

While studying images from the panoramic and hazard avoidance cameras to characterize dirt buildup on the rock abrasion tool, science and engineering team members discovered a possible small clod of dirt lodged in the device. They are considering running the rock abrasion tool backward in an attempt to dislodge it.

Solar array input was down to about 280 watt-hours per sol (a hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 897 (July 12, 2006): Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a rock believed to be a meteorite known as "Zhong Shan."

Sol 898: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a dark rock known as "Orcadas."

Sol 899: Spirit acquired images with the panoramic camera for the "McMurdo panorama."

Sol 900: Plans called for Spirit to monitor atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera.

Sol 901: Plans called for continued analysis of the soil target known as "Halley" with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 902: Spirit was scheduled to collect more images for the McMurdo panorama.

Sol 903: Plans called for Spirit to recharge the batteries.

Sols 904 (July 19, 2006): Plans called for reverse operation of the rock abrasion tool to attempt to dislodge something that looks like a clod of dirt.

Odometry:

As of sol 898 (July 13, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 889-896, July 07, 2006: Spirit Continues Work As Martian Days Grow Shorter

Spirit has been busy receiving new flight software upgrades, both directly from Earth via the rover's high-gain antenna and indirectly via relay from NASA's Odyssey spacecraft. Engineers anticipated that all flight software upgrades would be on board the rover by early in the week of July 10, 2006.

Spirit also successfully completed a procedure to correct for drift in the inertial measurement unit, resulting in more accurate pointing of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit remains healthy and continues to make progress on the rover's winter science campaign of experiments.

Spirit's handlers planned to have the rover spend part of the weekend calibrating the brush on the rock abrasion tool, using images from the panoramic camera and hazard avoidance cameras to characterize dirt buildup on the instrument.

Solar array input was down to about 290 watt-hours per sol (a hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 889 (July 4, 2006): Spirit studied the rock target "Halley" with the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 890: Spirit calibrated the elevation actuator (a motor that controls horizontal tilt) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 891: Spirit made observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 892: Engineers transmitted an uplink of flight software files via X-band radio to the rover's high-gain antenna.

Sol 893: Plans call for Spirit to calibrate and take images of the rock abrasion tool.

Sols 894 to 896 (July 9 to 11, 2006): Plans call for Spirit to continue acquiring panoramic camera images for the "McMurdo Panorama."

Odometry:

As of sol 891 (July 6, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 881-888, July 06, 2006: Spirit Copes with Decreasing Solar Energy

With electrical power from Spirit's solar array down to about 300 watt-hours per Martian day, or sol, the science team is able to plan only one major activity per sol and often needs to devote one sol to recharging the rover's batteries. (A hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour.) Spirit remains healthy and continues to make progress on the winter science campaign.

Engineers successfully uploaded half of a new flight software upgrade and planned to take advantage of overflights by NASA's Odyssey orbiter to transmit more flight software files via UHF frequencies.

The rover team created a new technique for correcting drift (changes with time) in the rover's inertial measurement unit, which affects the pointing accuracy of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The IMU provides roll, pitch, and yaw information to the rover. Typically, rover handlers minimize error by having the rover complete a sequence of steps known as a "get fine attitude" based on the changing position of the sun relative to the rover. The rover then takes images with the hazard avoidance and navigation cameras, which provide guidance for positioning the robotic arm and driving as well as documenting the correction. The entire process takes about one hour, which at present is roughly equivalent to a week of winter science operations. Between these updates, the rover's onboard computer keeps track of attitude changes, but error builds up in this calculation over time.

The new process involves sending a command to Spirit with the position reported by the rover after the last quick "get fine attitude," on sol 855 (May 30, 2006). Rover drivers confirmed that the rover had not moved since then by checking images from the hazard avoidance cameras. Following the usual attitude adjustment, the team planned to direct the rover to take two new images with the navigation camera and compare those to images from sol 855 as an additional means of verifying the accuracy of the adjustment.

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 881 (June 25, 2006): Rover handlers spent one hour transmitting flight software files to Spirit via X-band frequencies using the rover's high-gain antenna.

Sol 882: Spirit completed a "bitty cloud" search designed to look for changes in the Martian sky, a photon transfer observation to measure electronic noise (unwanted signals) picked up by CCDs (charge-coupled devices -- imaging sensors that convert light into electrical current) in the left eye of the rover's panoramic camera, and observations of ground targets and atmosphere with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 883: Spirit conducted a 5-hour observation of the rock target "Halley" with the Mössbauer spectrometer. The rover also conducted morning atmospheric studies.

Sol 884: Spirit completed a photon transfer observation of the right eye of the panoramic camera.

Sol 885: Plans called for Spirit to conduct atmospheric studies of the Martian sky and ground using the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover's schedule also included another 5-hour study of Halley with the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 886: Plans called for Spirit to conduct more "bitty cloud" observations, collect remote observations of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, set the rover attitude, and calibrate the high-gain antenna.

Sol 887: Plans called for Spirit to acquire a single frame of column 21 of the "McMurdo panorama."

Sol 888 (July 3, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to recharge the batteries and make morning atmospheric studies.

Odometry:

As of sol 884 (June 28, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 874-880, June 23, 2006: Spirit "Warms up the Engines," Continues Work on Mars

Since the beginning of Spirit's winter science campaign, the science and engineering teams have held joint meetings every few weeks to track campaign progress and come up with a strategic plan that balances engineering resources with science productivity. This week, Spirit began acquiring the 22nd column of the 27-column "McMurdo panorama" and completed the seventh of nine photon transfer calibrations - procedures designed to measure electronic noise (unwanted signals) picked up by imaging sensors that convert light into electrical current in the rover's cameras.

Spirit also conducted studies of a soil target nicknamed "Halley Brunt," which is an undisturbed exposure of bright, sparkly bits of soil near the rover's left front wheel. The work included 5 hours of examination with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, 10 hours of examination with the Mössbauer spectrometer, and acquisition of microscopic images.

For the first time on either rover, Spirit's battery heaters turned on at 8:15 a.m. local solar time on Mars on Sol 865 (June 9, 2006). The heaters activate automatically when local temperatures drop to about minus 19 degrees Celsius (minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit). The lowest allowable operating temperature is minus 20 degrees C (minus 4 degrees F.).

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 874 (June 18, 2006): Spirit acquired Part A of column 22 of the McMurdo panorama.

Sol 875: Spirit studied soil target "Halley Brunt" with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 876: Spirit completed a photon transfer calibration of the microscopic imager. Spirit also acquired a panoramic view of a dune field called "El Dorado" and conducted remote studies using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 877: Spirit acquired navigation camera images of the rover's tracks and continued to make remote observations using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. While communicating with the Odyssey spacecraft as it passed overhead, Spirit calibrated the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, took images of a sand ripple using the hazard avoidance cameras, and made observations of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 878: Spirit completed a dust monitoring assessment of the panoramic camera's mast assembly, acquired panoramic camera images to measure atmospheric dust opacity (known as a tau measurement), and conducted sky and ground observations using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 879: Plans called for Spirit to complete acquisition of Part B of column 22 of the McMurdo panorama and make more observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 880 (June 24, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to take microscopic images of Halley Brunt and then switch tools to the Mössbauer spectrometer for a 10-hour study of the same target.

Odometry:

As of sol 877 (June 21, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 867-873, June 21, 2006: Spirit Continues Work Even As Martian Winter Deepens

Spirit continues to be productive, even as winter conditions harshen. Spirit now receives about one-third as much solar energy as the rover received in mid-2005 while on "Husband Hill." That is, the rover now receives about 310 watt-hours per Martian day, or sol, compared with 900 watt-hours per sol last summer. (A hundred watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour.) The power supply limits how much work Spirit can do each sol. Even so, Spirit acquired two more columns of the "McMurdo panorama" plus a mosaic of microscopic images of a third layer of soil in a target known as "Progress 3." In addition, Spirit completed six targeted studies using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, all while the rover was also communicating with the Odyssey spacecraft during its overhead pass.

The rover team also planned to begin sending new flight software, known as version R9.2, to Spirit. Two previous flight-software upgrades were sent solely via Spirit's high-gain, X-band antenna. The new uplink plan, however, calls for use of both X-band and UHF antennas because X-band communications with Spirit are often unavailable due to use of that frequency to support NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter during its aerobraking around the planet.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 867 (June 11, 2006): Spirit acquired the first portion of column 20 (a one-by-two mosaic) of the McMurdo panorama.

Sol 868: Spirit completed a "photon transfer calibration" of the front hazard-avoidance cameras. This procedure is designed to measure electronic noise (unwanted signals) picked up by imaging sensors that convert light into electrical current in the rover's cameras.

Sol 869: Spirit acquired the second portion of column 20 (a one-by-three mosaic) of the McMurdo panorama. The rover made targeted observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer on rock targets nicknamed "Riquelme" and "Zucchelli" while communicating with the Odyssey spacecraft as it passed overhead.

Sol 870: Spirit acquired microscopic images of the soil target known as "Progress 3" and made remote observations of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 871: Spirit acquired images of the rock abrasion tool and spent 60 minutes communicating with Odyssey while conducting remote observations of rock targets nicknamed "Law-Ricovita," "Tor," "Scott Base," and "Arctowski" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 872: Plans called for transmission of new flight software, version R9.2, to Spirit.

Sol 873 (June 17, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to acquire super-high-resolution images of a rock target known as "Korolev" using the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 869 (June 13, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 860-866, June 09, 2006: Progress on Long-Term Experiments

Spirit is healthy and continues to make progress on the rover's winter science experiments. Spirit has begun work on a new "photon transfer calibration" experiment designed to measure electronic noise (unwanted signals) picked up by CCDs (charge-coupled devices -- imaging sensors that convert light into electrical current) in the rover's cameras. This week the rover conducted the calibration experiment on the panoramic camera and rear hazard-avoidance cameras.

Spirit also began an experiment to look for wind-driven changes in the Martian surface by making the first of several monthly checks, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of a bright soil target nicknamed "Tyrone." In addition, that camera acquired column 18 of the "McMurdo panorama." Rover science team members prepared to have the rover remove another 2 millimeters of soil as part of a soil analysis experiment. The newly exposed soil target will be called "Progress 3."

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 860 (June 4, 2006): Spirit completed 30 minutes of remote sensing and conducted the photon transfer calibration on the panoramic camera. Demonstrating that the rover is capable of multi-tasking, Spirit spent 60 minutes communicating with NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft as Odyssey passed overhead while Spirit also studied Martian terrain targets with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 861: Spirit collected images with the microscopic imager and transmitted 70 megabits of data over UHF frequencies during a morning telecommunications link with Odyssey. Spirit also checked the three-dimensional movement of the rock abrasion tool at the end of the rover's instrument arm. This process involves taking measurements from encoders, which resemble dials on a safe. The encoders tick off the distance traveled by motor shafts and convert the mechanical motion into electronic signals. The results enable engineers to check for slippage or sticking that would necessitate changes in the amount of movement needed to position the instrument as desired.

Sol 862: Spirit acquired the first part of Column 18 (a 1-by-3 mosaic) of the McMurdo panorama. The rover spent 60 minutes communicating with Odyssey as it passed overhead, while also conducting remote targeted sensing using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 863: Spirit acquired the second half of Column 18 (a 1-by-3 mosaic) of the McMurdo panorama and took a picture of the Martian sunset.

Sol 864: Spirit took a 13-filter color image of the Tyrone soil target using the panoramic camera and conducted analysis of the ground and sky at different elevations using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 865: Spirit completed the photon transfer calibration experiment on the rover's rear hazard-avoidance cameras.

Sol 866 (June 10, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to use the rock abrasion tool to brush away a third layer of soil 2 millimeters thick from the soil target called Progress. Spirit was to spend 54 minutes on the task as part of a progressive soil brushing experiment before documenting the spot with images from the panoramic camera using all 13 color filters.

Odometry:

As of sol 863 (June 7, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 855-859, June 01, 2006: Spirit Perfects Pointing Parameters, Collects Images Large and Small

Since arriving at the rover's current location on the 807th sol, or Martian day, of exploration (April 10, 2006), Spirit's knowledge of its attitude relative to the sun has drifted. The rover uses an onboard computer to keep track of attitude changes, but error builds up in this measurement over time. On sol 855 (May 30, 2006), rover planners transmitted an attitude update of 1.97 degrees to correct for the drift. After the update, Spirit re-acquired images from the same location to allow the science team to accurately target future observations.

Meanwhile, Spirit continued acquisition of the "McMurdo panorama" and removed another 2 millimeters of soil as part of a layer-by-layer soil study.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 855 (May 30, 2006): Spirit completed a quick get-fine attitude, which is a procedure completed every couple of weeks to correct any error in the rover's knowledge of its attitude relative to the sun. Spirit also took a 360-degree view of its surroundings with the navigation camera and a forward-looking view through the front hazard avoidance camera. The rover conducted remote sensing with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer during the overhead pass of the Mars Odyssey spacecraft.

Sol 856: Spirit acquired column 16 (a one-by-five mosaic) of the McMurdo panorama.

Sol 857: Spirit spent 80 minutes brushing away another 2 millimeters of soil from the soil target "Progress." This layer of the study is known as "Progress 3."

Sol 858: Plans called for Spirit to take microscopic images of Progress 3, conduct remote sensing with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer during the afternoon overhead pass of the Odyssey spacecraft, and take two panoramic-camera images during the Martian sunset.

Sol 859 (June 3, 2006): Plans call for Spirit to acquire column 17 (a one-by-three mosaic) of the McMurdo panorama.

Odometry:

As of sol 857 (June 1, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 847-854, May 26, 2006: Spirit Continues Studies of Martian "Winter Haven"

Spirit continued to collect images for the 360-degree panorama, now under construction, of the rover's "Winter Haven" on Mars. Rover planners anticipated that by the end of the Memorial Day weekend, Spirit would complete 15 of the 27 columns for the final product. Spirit also continued scientific studies of the soil target called "Progress" after brushing away about 6 millimeters (a quarter of an inch) of soil to reveal a second layer, dubbed "Progress 2." Rover team members prepared commands for the next round of scientific measurements, to include a 49.5-hour study divided over three Martian days, or sols, using the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Five of seven opportunities to transmit signals to Mars at higher-frequency X-band wavelengths were needed for higher-priority communications in support of aerobraking activities of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, so engineers continued sending commands to Spirit via the UHF link on the Mars Odyssey spacecraft.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 847 (May 21, 2006): Spirit acquired a one-by-three mosaic for column 14 of the "McMurdo Panorama" and studied Progress 2 with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sols 849 to 851: In the absence of an uplink for new commands, Spirit executed the master sequence from sol 848. Spirit continued downlinking data to Earth and charged the battery.

Sol 852: Plans called for Spirit to place the Mössbauer spectrometer on Progress 2 and start overnight collection and integration of data.

Sol 853: Plans called for Spirit to re-start analysis with the Mössbauer spectrometer for 3.5 hours, acquire all three frames of column 15 of the McMurdo panorama, and make targeted observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 854 (May 29, 2006): Plans called for an overnight study of Progress 2 with the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 850 (May 25, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 842-846, May 19, 2006: Spirit Continues Winter Studies of Soil, Sky and Terrain

Spirit is healthy and making progress on a winter science campaign of experiments in Gusev Crater on Mars. Spirit has completed the first phase of a layer-by-layer soil study by collecting a mosaic of images with the microscopic imager and analyzing composition of undisturbed soil with the Mössbauer and alpha particle X-ray spectrometers. Spirit used the rock abrasion tool to brush away the top soil layer on Martian day, or sol, 830 (May 4, 2006). After that, the rover studied the brushed spot with the microscopic imager and Mössbauer and alpha particle X-ray spectrometers.

Before telling the rover to brush away a second layer, rover planners performed a test on sol 842 (May 16, 2006) to better characterize the position of the rock abrasion tool above the soil. The robotic arm performed as expected during the test. Removal of the second layer was planned for sol 845 (May 20, 2006).

Spirit also collected two additional columns of a 360-degree view called the "McMurdo panorama" and completed four targeted studies with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 842 (May 16, 2006): Spirit conducted a positioning test of the rover's robotic arm, including touching the Mössbauer spectrometer to the soil, collecting a two-by-two mosaic of images with the microscopic imager, and suspending the rock abrasion tool just above the soil surface. The test was successful. Spirit also conducted remote analysis of two targets, known as "Allan Hills" and "Dome Fuji," with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 843: Spirit acquired column 12 of the "McMurdo panorama" and conducted atmosphere studies with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 844: Spirit acquired column 13 of the "McMurdo panorama" and conducted remote sensing analysis of targets called "VonNeumayer" and "d'Urville" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 845: Plans called for Spirit to begin brushing away a second, 1-millimeter layer of soil from the target labeled "Progress" using the rock abrasion tool.

Sol 846 (May 21, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to recharge its batteries and transmit communications during an overnight pass of NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Odometry:

As of sol 836 (May 11, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 835-841, May 11, 2006: Spirit Continues Studying Soil and Collecting Images

Spirit continued to make progress on collecting panoramic images of Martian terrain and conducting detailed studies of soil targets using the Mössbauer spectrometer. The rover acquired another column of the "McMurdo panorama" and continued to relay new data to Earth via the UHF antenna on NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter.

Sol-by-sol summary

Sol 835 (May 9, 2006): Spirit conducted scientific analysis of the soil target "Halley" using the Mössbauer spectrometer. Spirit also acquired panel 11 of the planned 27-panel, 360-degree, full-color view of the rover's surroundings known as the McMurdo panorama.

Sol 836: Spirit conducted remote sensing observations.

Sol 837: Spirit continued acquisition of scientific data from Halley using the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 838: Spirit continued acquisition of scientific data from Halley using the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 839 to 841 (May 13 to 15, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to move the rover's robotic arm back to the soil target nicknamed "Progress," where the rover previously brushed away a fine layer of soil. The next phase of the rover's detailed winter soil analysis experiment will be to conduct a three-day study of the brushed surface using the Mössbauer spectrometer. Plans for remote sensing were kept very light in order to devote resources to transmitting data acquired in recent weeks.

Odometry:

As of sol 836 (May 11, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 828-834, May 05, 2006: Spirit Begins First Interplanetary Layer-by-Layer Soil Analysis

Spirit is healthy and continuing to make progress on the rover's winter campaign of scientific experiments. This week Spirit continued work on the full-color, 360-degree "McMurdo panorama." The finished panorama will combine 27 columns of images. Scientists anticipate that Spirit will have finished collecting the first 10 of those columns by Martian day, or sol, 834 (May 8, 2006). Spirit also continued studies of two soil targets nicknamed "Progress" and "Halley."

A winter soil analysis experiment will involve a multi-step process of removing the Mössbauer spectrometer from the target, flipping the wrist joint at the end of the robotic arm to put it in a better position for exchanging tools, re-touching the target with the Mössbauer to confirm precise placement, and exchanging tools from the Mössbauer spectrometer to the rock abrasion tool. Using the brush at the end of the rock abrasion tool, Spirit will remove a layer of soil up to 1 millimeter thick (the thickness of a dime). During brushing, the rover will take a movie of the procedure with the right lens of the hazard-avoidance camera. After the brushing, the rover will acquire a microscopic image of the freshly exposed surface as well as a color image using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover will then start the process again and remove another layer of soil.

Spirit is also poised to begin a five-month, remote, photometric study of seasonal changes in surface properties of soil exposed in the rover's tracks.

As the newly arrived Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter continues the aerobraking phase of its mission (using friction from the Martian atmosphere to refine its orbit), high-frequency X-band communications directly between Spirit and Earth will not always be available. On sol 830 (May 4, 2006), NASA's Odyssey spacecraft began transmitting communications to Spirit at UHF frequencies.

Sol-by-sol summary

Sol 828 (May 2, 2006): Spirit conducted remote sensing and completed acquisition of column 8 of the McMurdo panorama.

Sol 829: Spirit conducted a third day of Mössbauer spectrometry of the Progress soil target, for a total of 69 hours of analysis of the target with the instrument.

Sol 830: Spirit began progressive brushing of loose soil for the first time and collected microscopic images.

Sol 831: Spirit conducted remote sensing, acquired column 9 of the McMurdo pan, and completed an 18-hour analysis of Progress with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 832: Plans called for Spirit to acquire microscopic images of Halley.

Sol 833: Plans called for Spirit to conduct remote sensing, acquire column 10 of the McMurdo pan, and complete a second 18-hour study of Progress with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 834 (May 8, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to continue remote sensing studies and begin monitoring changes in surface properties of soil exposed in the rover's tracks.

Odometry:

As of sol 831 (May 5, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 820-827, May 01, 2006: Spirit Continues Winter Science Studies on Mars

Spirit remains healthy and is making good progress on the rover's winter campaign of scientific experiments. This week Spirit continued collecting a full-color, high-resolution, 360-degree panorama called the "McMurdo pan." When complete, the panorama will be a mosaic of 27 columns of images. The product could be finished in about six weeks, given power and data limitations.

Spirit also conducted scientific analysis of a soil target nicknamed "Progress" using the instruments on the rover's robotic arm.

Sol-by-sol highlights:

Sol 820 (April 24, 2006): Spirit worked on acquiring column 4 of the McMurdo pan and made ground observations using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 821: Spirit continued work on acquiring column 4 of the McMurdo pan and making ground observations using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 822: Spirit began characterization of the undisturbed soil surface of Progress using the microscopic imager and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover also began acquiring column 5 of the McMurdo pan and made observations with the miniature thermal X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 823: Spirit continued work on characterizing the undisturbed soil surface of Progress using the microscopic imager and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover also continued acquiring column 5 of the McMurdo pan and making observations with the miniature thermal X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 824: Spirit continued work on characterizing the undisturbed soil surface of Progress using the microscopic imager and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover also continued acquiring column 5 of the McMurdo pan and making observations with the miniature thermal X-ray spectrometer.

Sols 825-827 (April 29 to May 1, 2006): Plans called for analyzing Progress with the Mössbauer spectrometer and acquiring columns 6 and 7 of the McMurdo pan.

Odometry:

As of sol 824 (Apil 28, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 812-819, Apr 21, 2006: Spirit Studies New Terrain

Spirit remains healthy and is enjoying the winter sun on Mars. This week, Spirit began acquiring a full-color, high-resolution, 360-degree panorama nicknamed the "McMurdo Pan." The panorama campaign will take a few weeks because of power and data limitations. In addition, Spirit conducted a scientific study of a soil target called "Mawson" using instruments on the rover's robotic arm.

All the rock and soil targets in this area are being named after Antarctic research stations and explorers.

Sol-by-sol highlights:

Sol 812 (April 16, 2006): Spirit performed targeted remote sensing with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and acquired microscopic images of undisturbed soil.

Sol 813: Spirit conducted targeted remote sensing with the panoramic camera.

Sol 814: Spirit began acquisition of the "McMurdo Pan." The rover studied a soil target called "Mawson" with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 815: Spirit conducted targeted remote sensing with the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 816: Rather than pause for new instructions, Spirit continued to acquire panoramic camera data following master sequences already transmitted to the rover.

Sols 817 to 819 (April 21-23, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to continue work on the "McMurdo panorama," complete overnight studies of the soil target called "Mawson" with the Mössbauer spectrometer, and conduct targeted remote sensing.

Odometry:

As of sol 816 (April 20, 2006), Spirit's total odometry remained at 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 803-811, Apr 14, 2006: Spirit Finally Reaches a Potential Winter Haven

Spirit is basking in the sun, relatively speaking, on a 10.8-degree, north-facing slope in Gusev Crater on Mars. After turning away from the rover's previous heading toward "McCool Hill" last week, Spirit started driving toward a nearby area known as "Low Ridge Haven" and arrived there over the weekend. Because rover drivers were able to get Spirit to a place where the solar panels tilt more steeply toward the sun, the rover's power output increased by 50 to 60 watt-hours per sol (a sol is one day on Mars). That gives the rover enough energy for about one hour of daytime remote science.

So far in this location, Spirit has collected a 360-degree panorama with the navigation camera, a smaller panorama with the panoramic camera, two targeted observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and five targeted images with the panoramic camera. Spirit also collected data with instruments on the robotic arm, including the microscopic imager, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, and the Mössbauer spectrometer. All the rock and soil targets in this area are being informally named after Antarctic research stations and explorers.

Sol-by-sol highlights:

Sol 803 (April 6, 2006): Spirit drove about 9 meters (30 feet) closer to "Low Ridge Haven," approaching a break in the north-facing slopes of the small outcrop.

Sol 804: Spirit recharged the batteries and conducted atmospheric remote sensing.

Sol 805: Spirit spent as much of the weekend as possible driving toward a north-facing slope to allow the rover's solar panels to soak up more energy from the sun. After advancing slightly more than 10 meters (33 feet), Spirit ended up in a nice, sunny spot, with a northerly tilt of 10.8 degrees.

Sol 806: Spirit recharged the batteries and used the panoramic camera to view the surrounding terrain from the new location reached by the sol 805 drive.

Sol 807: Spirit's weekend drive placed the rover at a potentially safe place to spend the winter on Mars. Activities included a "get fine attitude," a procedure completed every couple of weeks to correct any error in the rover's knowledge of its attitude relative to the sun. (Between updates, the rover uses the onboard computer to keep track of attitude changes, but error builds up in this measurement over time.) The rover also used the navigation camera and panoramic camera for additional and higher-resolution images of the terrain surrounding the current location.

Sol 808: Spirit observed rock targets called "Marambio" and "Orcadas" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and collected images of a target called "Maitri" using the panoramic camera.

Sol 809: Spirit deployed the robotic arm for the first time since the week of sols 769 to 772 (March 2 to March 5, 2006), when the rover conducted scientific observations near "Home Plate." Spirit acquired microscopic images of a target called "Halley" and completed an overnight analysis with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover also acquired panoramic-camera images of "Troll" and "Mirny."

Sols 810-811 (April 13-14, 2006): Plans for the weekend called for continued work on "Halley," including measurements with the Mössbauer spectrometer, and targeted remote sensing, including panoramic camera images of "Orcadas" and "Marambio."

Odometry:

As of sol 811 (April 14, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,876.18 meters (4.27 miles).


sol 796-804, Apr 06, 2006: Spirit Seeks Alternate Winter Science Station

On the way to north-facing slopes on "McCool Hill" between outcrops nicknamed "Oberth" and "Korolev," Spirit ran into an impassable, sandy area. To increase solar power output, Spirit's handlers redirected the rover to a closer north-facing slope in an area known as "Low Ridge" or "Low Ridge Haven," about 20 meters away from the rover's position on sol 802 (April 5, 2006). Spirit continued to make progress in that direction after successfully exiting the sandy area on sol 799 (April 2, 2006).

Sol-by-sol highlights:

Sol 796 (March 30, 2006): In an attempt to get the rover out of some slippery sand, engineers planned a 5-meter (16-foot) drive. Spirit terminated the drive after less than one meter (3 feet) due to excessive slip.

Sol 797: Spirit recharged the batteries and conducted atmospheric remote sensing.

Sol 798: Spirit conducted targeted remote sensing, which included observations of the rover's own tracks using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 799: Rover planners designed a drive that finally got Spirit out of the sandy stuff. Spirit drove 5.8 meters (19 feet) to firmer ground.

Sol 800: Spirit recharged the batteries and conducted atmospheric remote sensing.

Sol 801: Rover handlers transmitted drive commands to Spirit via the Odyssey spacecraft. Uplink time, however, was shorter than expected, and only 10 of 16 drive sequences made it on board. The rover remained healthy but did not execute the plan.

Sol 802: Spirit successfully drove 8.2 meters (27 feet), experiencing maximum slip of only 11 percent.

Sol 803: Drive plans call for moving the rover closer to "Low Ridge Haven," using post-drive images to design a safe approach.

Sol 804 (April 7, 2006): Planned activities include recharging the batteries, monitoring dust and observing clouds.

Odometry:

As of sol 802 (April 5, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,853.98 meters (4.26 miles).


sol 790-797 , Mar 31, 2006: Difficult progress with five-wheel drive

NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter resumed communication-relay support of the Mars Exploration Rovers on March 25, 2006. Spirit executed drives on sols 792 and 794 (March 26 and 27), but has been having trouble making progress given the current terrain and driving conditions. The team is developing new drive strategies for five-wheel driving in the test facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The new techniques for turning the rover to face waypoints are proving successful on Mars, but soft soil and inclines in Spirit's current location make uphill progress difficult to achieve. At the end of the week, the team decided to stop trying to advance along a route Spirit had been attempting in recent sols and, instead, to drive back downhill a few meters and then begin a different route toward a north-facing slope for surviving the Martian winter.

Right-front wheel status

Diagnostic tests run on the drive motor for Spirit's right-front wheel at various voltage levels resulted in no motion. These tests were consistent with results in the test facility, and they indicate an open connection in the motor. As a result, the team has precluded further use of this motor, so Spirit will continue driving with five wheels.

Sol-by-sol highlights:

Sol 790 (March 24): Spirit completed its usual morning science observations of assessing the clarity of the sky (a variable called "tau") with the panoramic camera, and checking the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Before shutting down for this light-activity sol, the rover used 13 different filters of the panoramic camera to examine soil that had been churned up in wheel tracks.

Sol 791: The Mars Odyssey orbiter, which had been unavailable for communication-relay support for three days because it went into a precautionary "safe" mode temporarily, resumed relay work. Spirit used the panoramic camera for assessing sky clarity and for surveying some rocks. It used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer for sky and ground observations and to examine the disturbed soil in the wheel tracks.

Sols 792 and 793: With a new downlink from Odyssey, the team came in on Saturday to plan a two-hour drive for sol 792. Spirit turned about 125 degrees to face a new drive target and began to drive toward it. The drive ended a few meters later when Spirit detected 71-percent slippage. On sol 793, Spirit completed a light schedule of remote-sensing observations.

Sols 794 and 795: Spirit drove 5.7 meters (19 feet) on sol 794, but most of the odometry change was a part of the heading change, rather than progress toward a destination. Again, high slip terminated the drive. As in the previous two-sol plans, there was light remote sensing on the second sol.

Sols 796 and 797: Spirit's sol 796 uplink time was during a Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter aerobraking maneuver and the two spacecraft cannot use the same radio band at the same time, so the rover team used forward commanding relayed via Odyssey to uplink Spirit's sequences of commands for sols 796 and 797. The plan for sol 796 was to turn 60 degrees clockwise toward a new waypoint and drive toward it using visual odometry to help check for slip. The rover drove 4 meters (13 feet) before the drive stopped due to excessive (61 percent) slippage. As on the previous drive attempt, most of the added odometry was in the turning, not forward progress. After the drive, Spirit acquired images to help the uplink team analyze possible alternative routes to north-tilted slopes.

As of sol 796 (March 30, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,836.48 meters (4.25 miles).


sol 782-789, Mar 28, 2006: Flight Team Investigates Right Front Wheel Anomaly

The flight team continues to investigate the right front wheel anomaly on Spirit. A diagnostic test conducted at a different temperature than earlier testing continued to indicate an open circuit condition for the wheel. Team members are conducting testbed experiments at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to understand the new characteristics of five-wheel driving.

On March 21, 2006, NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter went into a precautionary safe mode as a result of action by on-board fault protection. Odyssey was unavailable for three days to relay data from either Spirit or Opportunity to Earth. Spirit's flight team held a special Saturday planning session to make up for lost sols. Because of the approaching winter, it is imperative to move Spirit to north-facing slopes to insure the rover has adequate power during the deepest part of the winter.

Spirit was in restricted sols, which occur when the timing of downlinks is too late in the planning day to provide vital location and health information about the rover after it executes the previous day's commands. Therefore, drives could be planned for only every second sol.

Sol-by-sol highlights:

Sol 782 (March 16, 2006): Spirit drove more than 9 meters (30 feet).

Sol 784: Challenged by a mound with a modest slope, Spirit stopped the drive after only 0.85 meters (2.8 feet) because of excessive slip.

Sol 787: Spirit moved away from the sticky mound with a 4.5-meter (15-foot) drive.

Sol 788 (March 22, 2006): The flight team planned to have Spirit drive approximately 11 meters (36 feet) to a new waypoint.

Odometry:

As of sol 787 (March 21, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,812.16 meters (4.23 miles).


sol 778-783, Mar 16, 2006: Spirit Continues Driving on Five Wheels

Spirit continued to make progress toward "McCool Hill" despite a reduction in solar energy and problems with the right front wheel. The team plans to have the rover spend the winter on the hill's north-facing slopes, where the tilt toward the sun would help maximize daily output by the solar panels. On Spirit's 779th sol, or Martian day (March 13, 2006), the drive actuator on the right front wheel stalled during a turn to adjust the position of the rover's antennas. The stall ended the day's drive, which brought Spirit 29 meters (95 feet) closer to McCool, still approximately 120 meters (390 feet) away.

Engineers conducted tests on sols 781 and 782 (March 15 and 16, 2006) on a testbed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as well as remotely on Spirit. Further analysis is needed to determine what caused the right front actuator to stop working. Meanwhile, the operations team has successfully commanded Spirit to drive using only 5 wheels. Engineers plan to have Spirit continue driving backward with five healthy wheels while dragging the right front wheel.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 778 (March 12, 2006): Spirit spent the day conducting remote atmospheric sensing.

Sol 779: Spirit drove about 29 meters (95 feet) and acquired post-drive images. A fault in the right front wheel drive actuator terminated the drive.

Sol 780: Spirit spent the day recharging batteries and re-transmitting information about the previous day's drive to Earth. Spirit collected additional imagery of the right front wheel.

Sol 781: Spirit completed diagnostic tests and drove 3.9 meters (13 feet) using only five wheels. Diagnostic tests showed that the right-front-wheel problem involved the drive actuator, not the steering.

Sol 782: Rover drivers planned a drive of approximately 12 meters (40 feet) using only five wheels.

Sol 783 (March 17, 2006): The operations team planned to have Spirit spend the day sleeping to charge up the batteries.

As of sol 781 (March 15, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,797 meters (4.22 miles).


sol 771-777, Mar 11, 2006: Spirit Studies Surface and Atmosphere on Way to 'McCool'

Since backing down from the top of "Home Plate" on Martian day, or sol, 764 (Feb. 25, 2006), Spirit has driven southeast 103 meters (338 feet) toward "McCool Hill." Along the way, the rover used its robotic arm to analyze a rock target dubbed "Fuzzy Smith" and conducted remote scientific studies of outcrops along the side of Home Plate and on "Mitcheltree Ridge." Scientists plan to acquire long-baseline stereo images of McCool Hill before driving too close to the hillside. The images will provide measurements of surface features necessary for planning the rover's path.

During the week, NASA's Odyssey spacecraft has been relaying commands from Earth to Spirit via the UHF link. Communications over X-band frequencies have been allocated for use by the Deep Space Network to track the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter during its approach to the red planet. Next week, Spirit is expected to resume operations via X-band uplinks.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 771 (March 4, 2006): Spirit completed an analysis of targets dubbed "Rube Foster" and "Willie Wells" using the Mössbauer spectrometer and 13 filters on the panoramic camera. During the afternoon Odyssey pass, Spirit collected data with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit then began a study of a rock target called Fuzzy Smith with the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 772: Spirit stowed the robotic arm and took panoramic camera images of Fuzzy Smith, then drove 27 meters (89 feet) southeast across Home Plate. After the drive, Spirit conducted opacity observations of afternoon dust and measurements of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 773: After waking, Spirit continued atmospheric studies by taking thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera and images of both the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. In the afternoon, Spirit acquired images with both the panoramic and navigation cameras to provide essential data for selecting targets and planning routes. The rover also completed a systematic ground survey and survey of rock clasts using the panoramic camera.

Sol 774: Spirit drove off of Home Plate and back into the "Dugout" - a gulley near the southeast edge of Home Plate. The rover acquired mid-drive images and post-drive images of surrounding terrain, then completed opacity observations and measurements of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 775: In the morning, Spirit took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer measurements of the sky and ground. With the robotic arm still stowed, Spirit spent 30 minutes collecting temperature data using the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. In the afternoon, Spirit conducted reconnaissance with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 776: Plans for this sol call for Spirit to begin collecting a long-baseline stereo mosaic of images of the hill by taking panoramic camera images from one site, driving 8 meters (26 feet), and then acquiring the part of the second half of the stereo mosaic.

Sol 777 (March 11, 2006): Plans for this sol include morning atmospheric studies, finishing the long-baseline stereo mosaic, and taking pictures of a target called "Bitty Cloud."

As of sol 775 (March 9, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,756 meters (4.2 miles).


sol 763-770, Mar 03, 2006: Spirit Studies Geology While Preparing for Martian Winter

Spirit successfully completed four Martian days, or sols, of driving clockwise around the rim of "Home Plate" toward the south and east. The rover is currently spending three sols studying a rock target called "Fuzzy Smith" using three instruments on the robotic arm: the microscopic imager, Mössbauer spectrometer, and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

During the coming week, Spirit will communicate with Earth in UHF-only mode while NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrives at the red planet.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 763 (Feb. 25, 2006): Spirit completed scientific studies of a rock target called "Crawfords."

Sol 764: Spirit drove 22.7 meters (74.4 feet) and acquired post-drive images with the panoramic and navigation cameras.

Sol 765: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a transit of the Martian moon, Phobos, and recharged the batteries for the next day of driving.

Sol 766: Spirit drove 37 meters (121 feet), acquired post-drive images, and conducted atmospheric observations.

Sol 767: Spirit drove 29 meters (95 feet), acquired post-drive images, and conducted atmospheric observations.

Sol 768: Spirit drove 14.26 meters (47 feet) to the top of white outcrops on the rim of "Home Plate."

Sol 769: Plans are for Spirit to began a 3-day campaign of scientific observations on a rock target dubbed "Al 'Fuzzy' Smith," using instruments on the rover's robotic arm, including the microscopic imager, alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, and Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 770 (March 3, 2006): Plans are for Spirit to continue scientific studies of "Al 'Fuzzy' Smith."

As of sol 770 (March 3, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,693 meters (4.16 miles).


sol 758-763, Feb 24, 2006: Spirit Races Against Time and Dwindling Sunlight

In a race to collect as much scientific data as possible before the onset of Martian winter, Spirit climbed to the top of "Home Plate" and acquired images of the surrounding terrain. Each day, Spirit logs a reduction in the total amount of solar energy collected as the sun sinks lower on the planet's northern horizon.

The science team's objective is to do as much science as possible while concentrating on a drive campaign that will move the rover to the north-facing slopes of "McCool Hill." The team has already begun mapping routes to McCool, where Spirit will attempt to survive a second Martian winter with its solar panels tilted toward the sun.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 758 (Feb. 19, 2006): Spirit conducted targeted remote sensing and acquired 13-filter images of a target dubbed "Wilmington," as well as mosaics of the surrounding terrain, with the panoramic camera.

Sol 759: Spirit edged closer to a rock nicknamed "James 'Cool Papa' Bell."

Sol 760: Spirit acquired images of its work area with the navigation and panoramic cameras. The rover also conducted atmospheric observations.

Sol 761: Spirit used the microscopic imager to acquire images of a rock target called "Stars." Then the rover brushed that target with the rock abrasion tool and examined it again with the microscopic imager after the brushing. Spirit then began checking the mineral composition of the Stars target with the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 762 (Feb. 23): Spirit continued the Mössbauer study of Stars. Following an overhead pass of the Odyssey orbiter, Spirit began an analysis of Stars with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. Scientists planned to have the rover continue collecting scientific data over the weekend from another target, nicknamed "Crawfords."

As of sol 762 (Feb. 23, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,589.83 meters (4.09 miles).


sol 750-755, Feb 17, 2006: Spirit Studies Layered Rocks

Spirit will soon be on top of the rugged plateau known as "Home Plate," which features the most spectacular layering Spirit has yet encountered, and begin taking images of the surrounding terrain. Spirit had a productive week investigating two rock targets, "Barnhill" and "Posey." A restricted planning period (resulting from periodic, limited opportunities to communicate with overhead satellites) gave Spirit an opportunity to spend a few sols (Martian days) engaged in untargeted remote sensing and atmospheric science. The rover also charged its batteries. The science team is assigning nicknames to surface features honoring star players and managers of the Negro Leagues of baseball in the first half of the 20th century.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 750 (Feb. 11, 2006): Spirit examined a rock target dubbed "Pitcher" with the microscopic imager, then completed an overnight study of a rock target dubbed "Fastball" with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 751: Spirit stowed the robotic arm and executed a commanded, 5.3-meter (17-foot) drive to Posey using visual odometry. The drive went exactly as planned and ended with the rover in place to immediately begin scientific studies with the robotic arm without further adjustment of the rover's position.

Sol 752: Spirit conducted light remote sensing and recharged the rover's batteries.

Sol 753: Spirit acquired images of a rock target dubbed "Gray" using the microscopic imager, brushed a surface target known as "Manager" using the rock abrasion tool, and completed an 18-hour analysis of Manager using the Mössbauer spectrometer. The science team opted to complete an overnight Mössbauer study before conducting an overnight alpha particle X-ray spectrometer study in order to decide how long to stay at this location. Because the Mössbauer spectrum was similar to that of an earlier un-brushed target nicknamed Barnhill, the team directed the rover to resume driving after collecting the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer data.

Sol 754: Spirit took after-brushing images of Manager with the microscopic imager, finished the analysis of Manager with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, and took panoramic camera images of Barnhill.

Sol 755 (Feb. 16, 2006): Before moving on, Spirit rolled back from Manager and collected data from the site with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover paused to take mid-drive images with the navigation camera before "sliding into" Home Plate after driving 10 meters (33 feet) using visual odometery and 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) using autonomous navigation.

Odometry:

As of sol 755, Spirit's total odometry was 6,575 meters (4.09 miles).


sol 743-749, Feb 10, 2006: Spirit Reaches "Home Plate"

After several months of driving, Spirit finally reached the semicircular geologic feature dubbed "Home Plate" in Gusev Crater. Spirit first got a good view of Home Plate in late August, after cresting "Husband Hill." After that, the rover made scientific observations near the summit before commencing an ambitious drive of 848 meters (2,782 feet, a little more than half a mile) in 94 Martian days, or sols, to get to Home Plate. Spirit is now studying a rock target called "Barnhill" just below the tabletop-like surface of Home Plate using instruments on the rover's robotic arm. Science team members have begun calling Home Plate the "Burns Cliff of Gusev" because of its layered appearance and steep slopes, which is reminiscent of, but smaller than, "Endurance Crater," explored by Spirit's twin, Opportunity, on the opposite side of Mars in 2004.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 743 (Feb. 4, 2006): Spirit performed untargeted remote sensing and drove 45.7 meters (150 feet), navigating with the guidance of engineers.

Sol 744: Spirit completed an autonomous drive of 17.5 meters (57.4 feet), checked its orientation, and took post-drive images of surrounding terrain.

Sol 745: Spirit completed light remote sensing and recharged the battery for the coming week.

Sol 746: Spirit moved 9 meters (29.5 feet) closer to the target nicknamed "Barnhill." Following the approach, Spirit was perched at a tilt of 27 degrees.

Sol 747: Spirit carefully unstowed the robotic arm, continuously checking the rover's own tilt, which changes when the arm is deployed. Engineers expected a change in tilt of less 0.3 degrees; the actual change was minus 0.048 degrees. Spirit then performed scientific analysis as planned with the microscopic imager and Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 748: Spirit continued conducting scientific studies using the Mössbauer instrument and began acquiring a large mosaic of images with the panoramic camera.

Sol 749: The team proceeded with plans to have the rover change tools to the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, continue to acquire panoramic images, and conduct other remote sensing.

As of sol 749 (Feb. 11, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6.559 meters (4.08 miles).


sol 735-742, Feb 06, 2006: Spirit Completes Mile No. 4 on Mars

Spirit is healthy and continues to make progress toward "Home Plate" after driving more than 150 meters (492 feet), taking images, making atmospheric observations, and analyzing geology.

Spirit completed two diagnostic tests of the dynamic brakes on sol 735 (Jan. 27, 2006) after the team detected a dynamic brake fault associated with the left-front and right-rear steering actuators on Sol 733. The tests were copies of tests that were run after a similar anomaly on sol 265 for Spirit. Also on sol 735, the rover performed a small wheel wiggle after its drive to test the dynamic brakes. The wheel wiggle steered the wheels slightly, then steered them straight. No dynamic brake warnings were observed. The intermittent behavior of the relay status that controls the dynamic brakes, as well as the results of the diagnostic activities, are consistent with the behavior observed after the sol 265 anomaly. The team continued with the same resolution, which was to instruct the rover to ignore the dynamic brake error status. Driving has continued with normal steering function.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 735 (Jan. 27, 2006): Rover planners had a busy day of preparing and executing a dynamic brake diagnostic test in addition to a day of driving. Spirit drove 26.3 meters (86.3 feet) without using the steering motors on the left-front and right-rear wheels. Results of the diagnostic testing were consistent with behavior following an anomaly on sol 265 (Oct. 1, 2004). Spirit also acquired panoramic camera images of "Allegheny Ridge" and "YuGong."

Sol 736: Rover science team members discovered an interesting rock and decided to spend a couple of days studying it with instruments on Spirit's robotic arm. Spirit collected a mosaic of microscopic images and collected spectrographic information with the Mössbauer instrument. Spirit took panoramic camera images of rock targets called "Xing Tian," "GongGong," "Luo Zu," "Sui Ren," "Cang Jie," and used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to examine "Cang Jie," "Sui Ren," "Ho Ji," and "Luo Zu."

Sol 737: Spirit made remote sensing observations of Ho Ji and atmospheric observations using the rover's panoramic camera.

Sol 738: Spirit began driving around a rocky ridge that separated the rover from Home Plate, traveling an additional 33.7 meters (111 feet). Following a complete analysis of diagnostic tests run on sol 735, rover drivers decided to follow the same recovery plan used after the sol 265 anomaly, and Spirit continued to drive without incident.

Sol 739: Spirit drove 30.5 meters (100 feet). The rover stopped after 5 meters (49 feet) of autonomous navigation because of a sequencing error. Rover drivers added an automated flight check to the sequence to catch future errors of a similar nature. Spirit was unable to complete most of the planned post-drive imaging.

Sol 740: Rather than wait another day for Spirit to take a set of post-drive images, rover drivers gave Spirit the go-ahead to navigate independently using onboard instruments. Spirit drove 17 meters (56 feet) autonomously.

Sol 741: Spirit drove 43.5 meters (143 feet) to the top of a gently sloping ridge, providing an excellent view of the path to Home Plate.

Sol 742 (Feb. 3, 2006): Spirit prepared for a day of driving 30 meters as directed by rover drivers plus driving 15 meters to 20 meters autonomously.

Odometry:

As of sol 741 (Feb. 2, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,430 meters (exactly 4 miles).


sol 730-735, Jan 27, 2006: Spirit Nears 'Home Plate'

Spirit continues to make progress toward "Home Plate," a conspicuous circular feature scientists hope to investigate before the Martian winter, in search of layered rock outcrops that may provide additional information about the geology of the "Columbia Hills." During the past week, the rover has driven nearly 100 meters (328 feet), and has still had time to do some targeted remote sensing. Spirit is currently just less than 170 meters (560 feet) from Home Plate.

During the past week, engineers noticed some anomalies in dynamic braking on two of the steering motors, similar to previous events on Spirit. Based on analysis and testing, they were able to continue the drive without incident.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sols 730 and 731 (Jan. 22 and 23, 2006): The weekend plan included a 10.8-meter (35.4-foot) drive to the crest of "Lorre Ridge." Spirit acquired targeted pre-drive and post-drive images. The rover spent most of Sunday recharging the battery to allow a longer drive on Monday.

Sol 732: Spirit drove 40 meters (131 feet), using a combination of commanded and autonomous navigation along with a parallel obstacle-check sequence to keep from getting too close to potential hazards. The rover acquired a pre-drive image of a target called "FuYi." After the drive, the panoramic camera and navigation camera acquired forward-looking mosaics. The next morning, Spirit acquired rear-looking images with the navigation camera and forward-looking mosaics with the panoramic camera using two more filters.

Sol 733: Spirit completed an automous drive of approximately 40 meters (131 feet). Just before beginning autonomous navigation, Spirit experienced a dynamic brake error in the left front and right rear steering actuators, at which point engineers halted the drive.

On the surface, this appeared to be similar to dynamic brake anomalies experienced on sols 265 (Oct. 1, 2004) and 277 (Oct. 13, 2004), which involved the right front and left rear steering motors. Analysis and testing at the time indicated that the problem was consistent with a delayed contact on the status relay. The rover engineering team sent a command to ignore the relay status, and since then, the rover has driven (with all steering motors enabled) without incident.

In the meantime, the team determined that it was safe to continue driving, but without using the left front and right rear steering motors.

Sol 734: Spirit drove approximately 9 meters (30 feet) autonomously. Engineers conducted the same diagnostic tests they ran following the sol 265 incident in the testbed, to verify that the procedures worked with the current flight software. While awaiting dynamic brake diagnostics, they disabled Spirit's left front and right rear steering motors and allowed Spirit to drive only where they could clearly see the surrounding terrain and it was not necessary to steer around any obstacles.

Sol 735 (Jan. 27, 2006): Planned activities included a short, autonomous drive with the left front and right rear steering motors disabled, following a short diagnostic activity to characterize the behavior of the dynamic brakes and the dynamic brake relay switch.

Odometry:

As of sol 735, Spirit's total odometry was 6,279.01 meters (3.9 miles).


sol 723-729, Jan 25, 2006: Spirit Completes Studies of 'Arad,' Moves On

Spirit is healthy and continues to pursue the short-term goal of driving to "Home Plate." Results from scientific instruments on the rover's robotic arm indicate that the white soil target called "Arad" has a salty chemistry dominated by iron-bearing sulfates. The composition is similar to that of a more silica-rich target, "Paso Robles," encountered earlier in the rover's journey through the "Columbia Hills." The presence of salt can be considered another clue to the existence of past water on Mars.

Spirit had a bit of difficulty driving out of the sandy area near Arad. Rover instruments recorded slip rates as high as 92 percent on the wheels before Spirit's drivers designed a command strategy that took Spirit away from the sand dunes and closer to Home Plate.

Spirit's engineering team broke a record the previous week, on sol 720 (Jan. 12, 2006), by taking only 2 hours and 35 minutes to plan and validate the uplink commands for the rover. To put that in perspective, at the beginning of the mission, when all of the rover's systems and science team members were brand new, the process took more than 13 hours.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sols 723 to 725 (Jan. 14 to 17, 2006): Spirit began a campaign to study different targets of the feature named Arad, using instruments on the robotic arm, including the microscopic imager, Mössbauer spectrometer, and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 726: Spirit terminated the sol's drive early because of high slippage on sandy surfaces. The rover took images and conducted atmospheric observations using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 727: Spirit drove 26 meters (85 feet), took images with the navigation and panoramic cameras after the drive, and conducted atmospheric studies using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 728: Rover planners successfully designed a drive that took Spirit away from the sand dunes and closer to Home Plate. Spirit took images following the drive.

Sol 729 (Jan. 21, 2006): Spirit conducted untargeted atmospheric remote sensing.

Odometry:

As of sol 728 (Jan. 20, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6178.96 meters (3.94 miles).


sol 715-722, Jan 18, 2006: Spirit at 'Arad'

Spirit is healthy and is driving as efficiently as possible toward "Home Plate." On the way to Home Plate, Spirit stopped to look at "Arad," where scientists encountered a cluster of white, powdery soil. Researchers decided to stop for a few days and use the robotic arm to conduct some measurements on it. Results are expected soon.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 715 (Jan. 6, 2006): Spirit performed untargeted remote sensing.

Sol 716: Spirit drove 54 meters (177 feet), using a combination of commanded and autonomous navigation.

Sol 717: Spirit drove only 1.38 meters (4.5 feet) on slippery terrain, experiencing slippage of 80 percent as the wheels were turning.

Sol 718: Spirit conducted untargeted remote sensing.

Sol 719: Spirit drove 9.3 meters (30.5 feet). The rover stopped when the slip rate of its wheels exceeded 80 percent in an area of sandy, unfamiliar terrain.

Sol 720: Spirit conducted untargeted remote sensing and atmospheric studies.

Sol 721: Spirit adjusted position to place the robotic arm next to Arad for a weekend of scientific measurements. The rover also used its panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer to take images of targets called "Arad1" and "Arad2."

Sol 722: Spirit conducted untargeted remote sensing and took panoramic camera images of tracks created by the rover's wheels.

As of sol 722 (Jan. 14, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,096 meters (3.79 miles).


sol 708-714, Jan 06, 2006: Spirit Heading to 'Home Plate'

This week Spirit completed robotic-arm work on "El Dorado." The rover used all three of its spectrometers plus the microscopic imager for readings over the New Year's weekend. The team planned drive sols the following four days, and Spirit successfully made 198 meters (650 feet) of progress on the way to "Home Plate." On sol 715, Spirit enters restricted sols and will be able to drive only every other day, so the team made a large effort to maximize driving prior to this. (Restricted sols occur when the timing of the communications pass from NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter is too late in the day to gather vital location and health information about the rover after it executed recent commands. The team back on Earth must wait until the next sol to find out where and how the rover is.)

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 708 (Dec. 30, 2006): Spirit used the Mössbauer spectrometer, miniature thermal emission spectrometer and panoramic camera to study El Dorado.

Sol 709: Spirit used the Mössbauer spectrometer, microscopic imager and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer to study El Dorado.

Sol 710: Spirit took pictures of "Edgar" with the microscopic imager, placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on Edgar, and studied El Dorado with the panoramic camera and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 711 and 712: On sol 711, Spirit drove 56 meters (184 feet) toward Home Plate using blind driving and autonomous navigation. The autonomous-navigation portion of the drive terminated early because the rover could not find a safe path, and a limit cycle was detected. Due to the limit cycle check and automatic drive termination on sol 711, Spirit did not resume driving on sol 712.

Sol 713: Spirit drove 80 meters (263 feet). Spirit received stall warnings on the left front steer motor on hard left turns, however this did not end the drive.

Sol 714: Spirit drove 62 meters (203 feet). The team performed a steering test of the left front steering actuator because of the prior stall warnings. Preliminary results show no more stall warnings.

As of sol 714 (Jan. 5, 2006), Spirit's total odometry is 6,031 meters (3.75 miles).


sol 701-707, Jan 05, 2006: Spirit Meets 'Gallant Knight'

Spirit is in excellent health after a busy holiday weekend. The rover team made several three-sol plans in single working days so that while the rover was busy, the crew could take the holidays off (though with a few late nights on the work days).

After completing work on an outcrop called "Comanche," Spirit entered a dune field called "El Dorado," where the rover began digging in a little and looking closely for evidence about whether the deposited material there originated locally or globally. All of the week's objectives were achieved, including some ambitious drive sols that exceeded the team's expectations.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sols 701 to 703 (Dec. 23 to Dec. 25, 2005): Spirit completed a long Mössbauer spectrometer integration on the brushed target "Palomino," along with an overnight reading by the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on the same target. The panoramic camera took a 16-frame mosaic from Comanche over two sols. That camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer observed targets in the immediate vicinity with informal names "Cheyenne," "Apache," "Kickapoo," "Chickasaw," and "Winnebago." On sol 703, microscopic images were taken of a fin-shaped feature on Comanche.

Sol 704 and 705: Sol 704's activities wrapped up the work on Comanche. Spirit drove toward El Dorado on both sols 704 and 705 as part of a three-sol plan starting on sol 703. The first driving sol began with 22 meters (72 feet) of directed driving followed by autonomous navigation toward the dune fields. The second driving sol would not have the benefit of humans in the loop, and so was purely autonomous navigation, picking up on the heels of the previous sol to get Spirit within striking range of El Dorado. The team expected to get perhaps 80 to 90 meters (263 to 295 feet) from the two sols of driving. However, by the end of Sol 705, Spirit had driven 118 meters (387 feet), and was about a one-sol drive away from El Dorado.

Sol 706: This was the week's only normal, single-sol plan, which allowed engineers and scientists to plan a drive into El Dorado and to respond on the next sol with a plan to attack the science objectives there. The team expected to use the subsequent three-sol plan to trench in El Dorado and the three-sol plan after that to examine the trench. In order to prepare for the trench, the team planned a scuff at the end of the drive. The scuff was to be just a third of a wheel turn to push up some of the sandy material. That would give engineers some data on the consistency of the material so the team would know how long to trench.

Again the rover drivers came through, and Spirit successfully drove 38 meters (125 feet) right into the dunes of El Dorado on sol 706. The rover got a nice little mound and cut into a dune with the wheel scuff. The science team took a look at the scuff and decided it was in fact good enough for the science objectives without a need for trenching, so the team ended up three sols ahead of the game.

Sol 707 (Dec. 29): The microscopic imager inspected the scuff in El Dorado on the targets "Gallant Knight" and "Pilgrim." Spirit also began a long Mössbauer spectrometer integration on Pilgrim.

As of sol 707, Spirit's total odometry was 5,829 meters (3.62 miles).

USA.gov
PRIVACY    |     FAQ    |     SITEMAP    |     CREDITS