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 1409-1415, December 26, 2007: Spirit Conducts Detailed Studies of Rocks First Encountered in 2006

Spirit is tilted about 13 degrees to the north at a site known as "WinterHaven 3" on the northern edge of "Home Plate." During the holidays, Spirit performed studies of a rock feature called "Chanute" with instruments on the robotic arm, including the microscopic imager, alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, and Mössbauer spectrometer. In addition, Spirit has been acquiring a panoramic view of "Home Plate" known as the "Tuskegee panorama."

Energy is currently around 277 watt-hours (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for 1 hour), with Tau measurements of atmospheric dust opacity at 0.502 and a dust factor of 0.4008 as of sol 1414 (Dec. 25, 2007).

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to receiving morning instructions directly from Earth via the high-gain antenna and sending data to Earth at UHF frequencies via the Odyssey orbiter, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1409 (Dec. 20, 2007): Spirit unstowed and extended the robotic arm to test its stability, acquired a 2-by-2-by-5 mosaic of microscopic images, and placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on target. The rover acquired documentation imaging of the robotic arm with the navigation camera and took panoramic camera images of the rover's tracks as well as a rock known as "Fuzzy Smith," which the rover first encountered on approaching Home Plate in 2006.

Sol 1410: Spirit scanned the sky and ground with the miniature themal emission spectrometer and integrated data from Chanute using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1411: Spirit switched tools on the robotic arm from the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer to the Mössbauer spectrometer using visual odometry software, collected data from Chanute with the Mössbauer spectrometer, and surveyed the horizon and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1412: Spirit measured atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera, re-started the Mössbauer spectrometer for additional integration of data from Chanute, and acquired part of the Tuskegee panorama.

Sol 1413: In the morning, Spirit continued work on the Tuskegee panorama, monitored atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera, and re-started the Mössbauer spectrometer for continued study of Chanute.

Sol 1414: Spirit acquired additional frames of the Tuskegee panorama, measured atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, and re-started the Mössbauer spectrometer for additional integration of data from Chanute.

Sol 1415 (Dec. 26, 2007): Spirit surveyed the morning sky, measured atmospheric dust, took spot images of the sky, and completed a sky survey at high Sun with the panoramic camera.

Odometry

As of sol 1414 (Dec. 25, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was about 7,527 meters (4.7 miles).


sol 1404-1408, December 21, 2007: Spirit Makes It to a North-Facing Slope

Spirit has achieved 13 degrees of northerly tilt after backing the rear and middle wheels over the north edge of "Home Plate," where the rover will remain during the coming holidays. Power levels have already increased significantly from 260 watt-hours on sol 1404 (Dec. 15, 2007) to 291 watt-hours on sol 1408 (Dec. 19, 2007).

Spirit's ideal northerly tilt at present would be 16 degrees, and the rover's handlers plan to have the rover creep farther down the slope in mid-January to increase the northerly tilt. On Spirit's current track, they expect to see an ultimate northerly tilt of 25 degrees to 30 degrees.

In the meantime, Spirit will perform studies using instruments on the rover's robotic arm, including the microscopic imager, alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, and Mössbauer spectrometer. Spirit's handlers still have a huge challenge ahead, but after three weeks of working on Mars time and on weekends, they are, like the rover, enjoying a long-awaited and well-deserved sigh of relief.

The science team is nicknaming features in the area after the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black pilots to serve in the U.S. military.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to receiving morning instructions directly from Earth via the high-gain antenna, sending evening data to Earth at UHF frequencies via the Odyssey orbiter, and measuring atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1404 (Dec. 15, 2007): Spirit drove to the rover's last perch before descending over the north edge of Home Plate.

Sol 1405: Spirit acquired images with the navigation camera, drove the rear wheels over the rim, and acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera.

Sol 1406: Spirit drove the middle wheels over the rim of Home Plate and acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera.

Sol 1407: Spirit acquired a "quick fine attitude," a calibration activity to compensate for changes in time in the inertial measurement unit. Spirit acquired a 360-degree panorama of images with the navigation camera, images with the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras, and spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1408 (Dec. 19, 2007): Spirit acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of the work volume reachable by instruments on the rover's robotic arm. The rover completed a survey at high sun with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1408 (Dec. 19, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7527.52 meters (4.6 miles).


sol 1398-1403, December 17, 2007: Final Winter Haven Selection Near

To make the most of waning sunlight during the approach of Martian winter, Spirit's handlers have returned to "Mars time." This means their working hours coincide with the Martian day, as they did for the first three months after the rover landed on the red planet. Because a Martian day is about 40 minutes longer than an Earth day, Mars time can coincide with all hours of the day and night on Earth. The alarm might go off the same time one day, 40 minutes later the next day, an hour and 20 minutes later the next day, and so on.

Spirit's solar power levels continue to drop, with solar array energies recently ranging from 293 watt-hours to 254 watt-hours, depending on the vehicle's orientation relative to the Sun. (One hundred watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour.)

All members of the rover science team -- drivers, engineers, and scientists -- are evaluating data to select a place where the rover will attempt to survive another Martian winter, focusing on areas that will tilt the rover's solar panels to the north more than 25 degrees. They will select a final location from a narrowed list of choices based on proximity to the rover's current position and the characteristics of the terrain, with an eye for accessibility as well as continued exploration in the spring.

Spirit reached the northern edge of "Home Plate" after driving 13.24 meters (43.44 feet) on Martian day, or sol, 1397 (Dec. 8, 2007). Three Martian days later, on sol 1400 (Dec. 11, 2007), Spirit finished collecting reconnaissance images of the northern exposure of the elevated plateau.

During the past week, rover planners got a special visit from two Tuskegee Airmen, the first black pilots to serve in the U.S. military. The pilots shared stories about serving in World War II while learning about rover operations.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to receiving morning instructions directly from Earth via the high-gain antenna, sending evening data to Earth at UHF frequencies via the Odyssey orbiter, and measuring atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1398 (Dec. 9, 2007): Spirit drove 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) in a path nearly parallel to the northern edge of Home Plate. The rover acquired post-drive images with the hazard avoidance cameras and a mosaic of images with the navigation camera.

Sol 1399: Spirit drove 7.19 meters (23.6 feet) toward a small promontory to acquire images of the slopes below. The rover acquired post-drive images with the hazard avoidance cameras and a mosaic of images with the navigation camera. The following morning, Spirit acquired a series of navigation camera images to complete a 360-degree view of the rover's location after completing the drive.

Sol 1400: Spirit nudged 0.75 meter (2.5 feet) closer to the edge of Home Plate for a better view of what lay below. The rover acquired post-drive images with the hazard avoidance cameras and a mosaic of images with the navigation camera.

Sol 1401: Spirit took a break from driving and acquired images with the panoramic camera before turning around to back down the steep slope where the rover will spend the winter. After turning, the rover's solar arrays blocked the view of the slope by cameras on the rover mast assembly. Following the maneuver, Spirit acquired two image mosaics with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1402: Spirit acquired a pre-drive image of a pointy rock known as "General B.O. Davis" before backing up 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) and turning 180 degrees. The rover acquired post-drive images using the hazard avoidance cameras and a mosaic of images using the navigation camera. The following morning, Spirit monitored dust on the panoramic camera mast assembly and completed a systematic ground survey and a survey of rock clasts with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1403 (Dec. 14, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to approach the edge of Home Plate backward and acquire post-drive images with the hazard avoidance cameras as well as an image mosaic with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1402 (Dec. 13, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7523.31 meters (4.67 miles).


sol 1390-1397, December 14, 2007: Spirit Scouts "Home Plate" for Safe Haven

Spirit has arrived at the north edge of "Home Plate." The rover will spend the next few Martian days, or sols, scouting the edge of Home Plate and acquiring images of the slopes to determine the best site for "Winter Haven 3," where Spirit will try to survive another season of minimal sunlight. Once the team selects a site, Spirit will drive down the north-facing edge of Home Plate and maneuver into position to achieve the highest northerly tilt possible.

Power levels are dropping rapidly, partly because the sun continues its retreat north on its way to winter solstice, and partly because the landscape tilts slightly southward near the rim. Drive sols are so precious and few, the team has been working long hours and weekends to make the most of the remaining sunlight.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to receiving morning instructions directly from Earth via the high-gain antenna, sending evening data to Earth at UHF frequencies via the Odyssey orbiter, and measuring atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1390 (Nov. 30, 2007): Spirit drove in search of Winter Haven 3 and acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera. Spirit acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of the low, sandy area nicknamed "Tartarus." The rover surveyed Tartarus with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1391: Spirit continued to drive in search of Winter Haven 3 and acquire post-drive images with the navigation camera. The rover assessed atmospheric opacity caused by suspended dust with the navigation camera. Spirit acquired a mosaic of images with the panoramic camera and monitored dust accumulation on the rover mast assembly.

Sol 1392: Spirit drove in search of Winter Haven 3 and acquired a post-drive image mosaic and a rearward-looking image mosaic with the navigation camera.

Sol 1393: Spirit continued to drive in search of Winter Haven 3. Spirit acquired a post-drive image mosaic and a rearward-looking image mosaic with the navigation camera. The rover also completed a survey of rock clasts and a systematic ground survey with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1394: Spirit drove in search of Winter Haven 3 and acquired post-drive and rearward-looking image mosaics with the navigation camera. Spirit also acquired an image mosaic of Home Plate with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1395: Spirit drove in search of Winter Haven 3 and acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera. Spirit acquired a mosaic of panoramic camera images of a target known as "Hummock" and a rearward-looking mosaic of navigation camera images.

Sol 1396: Spirit continued driving in search of Winter Haven 3. The rover acquired post-drive and rearward-looking image mosaics with the navigation camera. Spirit completed a survey of rock clasts and a systematic ground survey with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1397 (Dec. 8, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to continue driving in search of Winter Haven 3, acquire post-drive images with both the navigation and panoramic cameras, and conduct a systematic ground survey as well as acquire spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1397 (Dec. 8, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7495.15 meters (4.66 miles).


sol 1384-1389, November 30, 2007: Spirit Breaks Free in Race for Survival

In typical unflagging fashion, Spirit has managed to break free of piles of soil built up around the wheels in a low, sandy area that the rover's handlers have nicknamed "Tartarus," after a deep, underworld dungeon in Greek mythology. Team members are pulling out all the stops to get Spirit to a winter location where, based on solar power projections, the rover has a chance at survival.

As the crow flies, that spot is about 25 meters (82 feet) away. During the next few weeks, Spirit's journey to "Winter Haven 3" is expected to be no less difficult, requiring the rover to maneuver across a sandy, rocky valley along the western edge of "Home Plate."

During Spirit's 14 Martian days in Tartarus, the rover's trials were reminiscent of those of the previous Martian winter, when Spirit spent 12 sols churning up white material in a sandy area while trying to reach the slopes of "McCool Hill."

Guided by experienced, interplanetary drivers, the robotic geologist Spirit escaped Tartarus on sol 1388 (Nov. 28, 2007) and drove 3.43 meters (11.3 feet). This was a significant distance, given that Spirit's previous two drives were measured in centimeters (inches). The drive took the rover south away from Tartarus to look for another path around the area before driving north once again.

Spirit's handlers will be working non-stop during the weekend to take advantage of seasonal sunlight available for driving before solar power levels drop further. At present, the rover has about 310 watt-hours of power each day (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to receiving morning instructions directly from Earth via the high-gain antenna, sending evening data to Earth at UHF frequencies via the Odyssey orbiter, and measuring atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1384 (Nov. 24, 2007): Spirit managed to drive 6.98 meters (22.9 feet). The rover took post-drive images with the hazard avoidance cameras and a mosaic of images with the navigation camera. The next morning, Spirit measured atmospheric dust with the navigation camera and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1385: Spirit spent the day recharging the battery. The following morning, Spirit acquired movie frames in search of dust devils with the navigation camera and completed a survey of rock clasts with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1386: Spirit drove only 0.25 meters (10 inches) and took images with the hazard avoidance cameras. The following morning, the rover acquired full-color images of Tartarus using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 1387: Spirit drove only 0.14 meter (5.5 inches) and acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera. The next morning, Spirit surveyed atmospheric dust with the navigation camera and acquired additional, full-color images of Tartarus with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1388: Spirit drove 3.43 meters (11.3 feet), finally breaking free from the piles of soil built up around each of its wheels. The rover acquired post-drive images with the hazard avoidance cameras.

Sol 1389 (Nov. 29, 2007): After a morning of surveying atmospheric dust and taking additional full-color images of Tartarus, plans called for Spirit to complete a photo shoot with the navigation and hazard avoidance cameras, survey atmospheric dust with the navigation camera, and acquire thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1388 (Nov. 28, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7438.82 meters (4.62 miles).


sol 1377-1383, November 26, 2007: Rover Slips in Sandy Terrain

On the way to "Winter Haven 3," the spot on the north face of "Home Plate" where NASA's Spirit rover is headed, the rover has driven into an area below a hummock (elevated area). Spirit has tried unsuccessfully during the past week to climb onto the hummock and make progress toward Winter Haven 3. Because it is critical to reach the north face while enough solar energy is available to get there, Spirit spends every available day driving. In-between drives, Spirit recharges the batteries and conducts very light remote sensing.

The rover's drive on sol 1378 (Nov. 18, 2007) ended early when Spirit's unusable, right front wheel got snagged on a buried rock, causing the rover to turn and drive into a "keep-out zone." Two Martian days later, on sol 1380 (Nov. 20, 2007), the drive faulted out again when the rover experienced more than 90-percent slip after traveling 3.6 meters (11.8 feet). The rover's handlers continue to work on strategies for enabling Spirit to drive away from the outcrop.

Spirit's top priority is to reach the north-facing slope of "Home Plate," where the rover plans to hunker down during the coming cold, winter season of waning sunlight. Spirit is healthy and all subsystems are nominal. Energy is currently around 305 watt-hours (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to receiving morning instructions directly from Earth via the high-gain antenna, sending evening data to Earth at UHF frequencies via the Odyssey orbiter, and measuring atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1377 (Nov. 17, 2007): Spirit acquired an image mosaic of "West Valley" and thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1378: Spirit drove toward the hummock known as "Site 7," took images just before and after ending the drive with the hazard avoidance cameras, and acquired post-drive image mosaics with the navigation and panoramic cameras. The images indicated that the right front wheel had slipped off a buried rock and turned away from the targeted drive region. The rover acquired full-color foreground images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 1379: Spirit acquired a post-drive, rearward-looking mosaic of images using the navigation camera.

Sol 1380: Spirit drove 3.6 meters (11.8 feet), took images before and after the drive with the hazard avoidance cameras, and acquired post-drive image mosaics with the navigation and panoramic cameras. Early the next morning, the rover completed a survey of rock clasts and took images of the rover's tracks (to look for compositional changes revealed by trenching) and the Martian horizon with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1381: Plans called for Spirit to recharge the batteries.

Sol 1382: Plans called for Spirit to monitor dust on the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, acquire panoramic camera images of a target known as "Sorbet" near the center of Home Plate, and acquire movie frames in search of dust devils using the navigation camera.

Sol 1383 (Nov. 24, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to calibrate the panoramic camera by taking images in darkness, acquire spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera, check for drift (changes over time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and survey the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1380 (Nov. 20, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,428.01 meters (4.62 miles).


sol 1370-1376, November 26, 2007: Spirit in a Race Against the Clock

With autumn only 24 Mars days away and the Sun sinking toward the northern horizon, Spirit is in a race against the clock to survive another Martian winter. As a result of dust inhibiting sunlight from reaching the solar panels, the rover must get to a suitable, north-facing location on the north rim of "Home Plate" and be safely parked for the winter by Martian day, or sol, 1412 (Dec. 23, 2007).

Spirit is already drawing more power for the drive than can be provided by the solar arrays alone. After each sol of driving, the rover spends a day recharging the batteries. That cuts potential drive time in half. In addition, the rover will not be driving on some weekend days, the Thanksgiving holidays, or days when no new instructions are being sent to the rover. Altogether, Spirit has about a dozen potential drive sols between now and the holiday season. To reach the north rim in time, Spirit must drive an average 10 meters (33 feet) per day. So far, the rover is on schedule.

Meanwhile, power is expected to decline during the next six weeks from about 325 watt-hours to about 260 watt-hours, the minimum safe power level for driving on level ground. This is due both to continued dust accumulation on the solar arrays and the lower sun angle as the Martian season moves toward winter. (One hundred watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour.)

Spirit's destination has been nicknamed "Winter Haven 3." Along the way, the rover will continue to measure atmospheric dust, monitor dust accumulation on the panoramic mast assembly, and measure the chemical and geologic composition of rock outcrops and sand ripples using the Mössbauer spectrometer and panoramic cameras.

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to receiving morning instructions directly from Earth via the high-gain antenna, sending evening data to Earth at UHF frequencies via the Odyssey orbiter, and measuring atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1370 (Nov. 10, 2007): Spirit restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer and spent 23 hours collecting data on iron-bearing minerals in a rock target known as "Pecan Pie." The next morning, the rover acquired images of ripples with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1371: Spirit stowed the robotic arm and acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of Pecan Pie. The rover then drove 17.5 meters (57.4 feet) toward "Site 6," also known as "Site A," on Home Plate. The rover took images with the hazard avoidance camera just before and after ending the drive as well as post-drive images with the navigation and panoramic cameras.

Sol 1372: Spirit measured atmospheric dust and spent the day recharging the batteries.

Sol 1373: Spirit drove approximately 9 meters (30 feet) to Site 6, took hazard-avoidance camera images before and after finishing the drive, and acquired post-drive images with both the navigation and panoramic cameras. The following morning, Spirit acquired additional post-drive images with the navigation camera as well as panoramic cameras of an area known as "West Valley."

Sol 1374: Spirit measured atmospheric dust and spent the day recharging the batteries. The following morning, Spirit took full-color images of the rover's tracks using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 1375: Plans called for Spirit to drive another 15 meters (49 feet), take hazard-avoidance camera images before and after finishing the drive, and acquire post-drive images with both the navigation and panoramic cameras. The next morning, the rover was to take spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera and acquire additional post-drive images with the navigation camera. Spirit was to complete a survey of rock clasts with the panoramic camera and monitor dust on the panoramic-camera mast assembly.

Sol 1376 (Nov. 16, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to measure atmospheric dust and recharge the batteries. The following morning, Spirit was to acquire images of a hummock with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1374 (Nov. 14, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,415.4 meters (4.6 miles).


sol 1363-1369, November 12, 2007: Spirit Continues Drive As Power Levels Decline

Spirit has been gradually losing power, with energy levels dropping to 320 watt-hours per Martian day (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour). Measurements of atmospheric dust, known as Tau, have been averaging 0.65. That dust level is typical of levels measured throughout most of the mission, but power levels are lower than in previous years because of higher dust accumulation on the solar panels. (The rover estimates dust levels by measuring opacity -- the degree to which the atmosphere is impenetrable by light. During most of Spirit's mission on Mars, except during the recent dust storms, tau values have fallen between 0 and 1.)

During the trek to reach the north edge of "Home Plate" before the next Martian winter, Spirit had time to conduct only one scientific campaign. Scientists selected a rock target nicknamed "Pecan Pie" (investigators are nicknaming targets on top of Home Plate for things served in bowls) for closer investigation, at a location known as "Site 5." Spirit brushed Pecan Pie, took pictures of it with the microscopic imager, and analyzed its composition with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. Planned measurements over the weekend included an analysis of iron-bearing minerals with the Mössbauer spectrometer before resuming the drive.

The successful brush of Pecan Pie marked the first time that Spirit had used the new, two-sol brushing procedure that enabled continued use of the rock abrasion tool following the failure of the grind encoder. Spirit continued to collect images of the west side of Home Plate (known as "West Valley" to science team members) while advancing northward. The images are important for understanding the geology as well as for planning the hoped-for, post-winter drive to a hill known as "von Braun" south of Home Plate.

Spirit remains healthy. On Sol 1369 (Nov. 9, 2007), plans called for Spirit to run a diagnostic of the rock abrasion tool by pointing it at the hazard avoidance camera for photo documentation while running the motor at various voltages. The resulting measurements of the spinning of the tool will provide a baseline for eventual failure of the motor and for comparison with Spirit's twin, Opportunity, on the other side of Mars.

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to receiving morning instructions directly from Earth via the high-gain antenna, sending evening data to Earth at UHF frequencies via the Odyssey orbiter, measuring atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera, and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1363 (Nov. 3, 2007): Spirit acquired pre-drive, panoramic camera images of targets known as "Posole," "Green Chile," and "Flan," then drove 24.83 meters (84.46 feet) to Site 5 on Home Plate. The rover acquired post-drive image mosaics with the navigation and panoramic cameras. The next morning, Spirit completed a survey of rock clasts with the panoramic camera and took a mosaic of images with the navigation camera.

Sol 1364: Spirit acquired images of the distant dune field known as "El Dorado" with the panoramic camera, and after communicating with the Odyssey orbiter during its overhead pass, measured atmospheric argon with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. In the morning, Spirit completed a full-color, systematic ground survey using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 1365: Spirit spent the day recharging the battery. The following morning, Spirit searched for dust devils using the navigation camera.

Sol 1366: Spirit placed the rock abrasion tool on Pecan Pie and acquired a mosaic of images known as the "West Valley View" with the panoramic camera. The next morning, the rover took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera and acquired movie frames in search of dust devils with the navigation camera.

Sol 1367: Spirit acquired another mosaic of images of West Valley View with the panoramic camera. In the morning, Spirit acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of the rover's tracks.

Sol 1368: Spirit conducted scientific studies of Pecan Pie, including brushing the surface of the rock target with the brush on the rock abrasion tool, acquiring stereo microscopic images of the brushed surface, and collecting 9 hours of compositional data with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover also acquired a mosaic of images of West Valley View with the panoramic camera. The following morning, Spirit took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1369 (Nov. 9, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to run diagnostic tests of the rock abrasion tool and acquire a mosaic of images of West Valley View with the panoramic camera. The rover was to spend 22 _ hours acquiring data with the Mössbauer spectrometer, be on the lookout for morning dust devils, and acquire movie frames at 8-minute intervals to record the progress of dust devils if they occurred.

Odometry:

As of sol 1367 (Oct. 30, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,383.75 meters (4.59 miles).


sol 1355-1362, November 02, 2007: Spirit to Head North for the Winter

With Martian winter approaching, the science and engineering teams have been hard pressed to select a site where Spirit can spend the winter. After previously narrowing the list of candidates to two sites, Spirit's handlers decided to send the rover to the northern edge of the elevated plateau known as "Home Plate," which Spirit has been exploring for many months now.

Previously considered sites included "von Braun," "South Promontory," "Batter's Box" ("West Knoll"), and "North Home Plate." The decision means the rover will move farther away from tantalizing, new terrain to the south, but maximizes the rover's chances of surviving another winter given the excessive coating of dust on the solar arrays.

As Project Manager John Callas announced in an e-mail, "the principal discriminator was the achievable slope at each site. The north side of 'Home Plate' offers slopes of 25 degrees of northerly tilt, while 'South Promontory' offers 20 degrees of northerly tilt. That difference is about 10 watt-hours per sol, which can mean the difference between surviving and not surviving the cold, dark winter."

Meanwhile, Spirit remains healthy and all subsystems are nominal. Energy has been averaging 355 watt-hours (100 watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light one 100-watt bulb for one hour) and atmospheric dust measurements (Tau) have been steady at about 0.63.

Plans called for Spirit to head in a northerly direction, toward an area known as "Site 5" on top of Home Plate, starting on sol 1362 (Nov. 2, 2007). Once there, Spirit may investigate some targets with instruments on the robotic arm before continuing to the north end of Home Plate.

Meanwhile, engineers working on the rover's miniature thermal emission spectrometer have determined that degradation in performance of the spectrometer on both Spirit and its twin, Opportunity, is the result of dust deposition on the scan mirror or in the panoramic camera mast assembly. They have decided not to use the instrument on Opportunity and to use it only for high-priority targets and weekly atmospheric measurements on Spirit while they try to develop strategies for removing the dust.

In addition, tests run on sols 1355, 1358, and 1360 (Oct. 25, Oct. 29, and Oct. 31) determined that the grind motor on Spirit's rock abrasion tool failed on sol 1341 (Oct. 11, 2007) , as it did previously on Opportunity on sol 1045 (Jan. 1, 2007). However, because the rover's handlers have devised an alternate technique for grinding and brushing that takes two Martian days, they are still able to use the brushes on both rock abrasion tools.

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to receiving morning instructions directly from Earth via the high-gain antenna, sending evening data to Earth at UHF frequencies via the Odyssey orbiter, measuring atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera, and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1355 (Oct. 25, 2007): Spirit unstowed the robotic arm, conducted imaging diagnostics of the rock abrasion tool, and took microscopic images of the capture magnet. The rover placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the capture magnet, took panoramic camera images of the rover deck, and transmitted data overnight via the Odyssey orbiter. Spirit monitored dust on the panoramic camera mast assembly, surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera, acquired a mosaic of images with the navigation camera, and acquired movie frames in search of dust devils with the navigation camera.

Sol 1356: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of the rover deck and of rock targets nicknamed "Grays Peak," "Elk," and "San Juan." The rover acquired 6 hours worth of data with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1357: Spirit used the navigation camera to survey the surface darkened by the rover's shadow. The rover acquired full-color images of its tracks using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. Spirit acquired another 6 hours of data with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1358: Spirit took images of the filter magnet with the microscopic imager, performed diagnostic tests on the rock abrasion tool, and used the panoramic camera to take images of the rover deck and survey the horizon.

Sol 1359: Spirit turned in place for communications relays and performed a "get quick fine attitude" to check for changes in the inertial measurement unit to determine the rover's precise location. Spirit acquired post-drive images with both the navigation and panoramic cameras. In the morning, the rover completed a systematic ground survey with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1360: Spirit unstowed the robotic arm, performed diagnostic tests of the rock abrasion tool, and acquired a mosaic of microscopic images of a soil target known as "Pumpkin Pie" before placing the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the target. Spirit acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of another soil target known as "Candy Corn." The rover collected data from Pumpkin Pie with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and in the morning, scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera. Spirit also surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera and acquired movie frames in search of dust devils with the navigation camera.

Sol 1361: Spirit stowed the robotic arm in preparation for the next day's drive and took full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of Elk and San Juan. The rover acquired a mosaic of images with the navigation camera as part of a 360-degree panorama for drive planning. Spirit surveyed the sky at both low sun and high sun with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1362 (Nov. 2, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to drive toward Site 5, acquire full-color, mid-drive images of Pumpkin Pie with all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, and acquire post-drive images with both the navigation and panoramic cameras. The following morning, Spirit was to complete a survey of rock clasts with the panoramic camera and scan the sky for clouds with the navigation camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1359 (Oct. 30, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,339.70 meters (4.56 miles).


sol 1348-1354, October 30, 2007: Spirit Considers Options for Surviving Another Winter on Mars

Spirit's handlers are currently confronted with the decision of where to send the rover for the winter. Dust deposition on the rover's solar panels, a product of the recent dust storms, has made power predictions for the upcoming winter even worse than those experienced during Spirit's last Martian winter. Members of the science team hope to find a place where Spirit can achieve a tilt of 20 degrees or more toward the north, facing the sun.

During the week, Spirit drove approximately 50 meters (164 feet) in a southerly and southeasterly direction toward a potential off-ramp from the top of the elevated plateau known as "Home Plate."

Proposed locations for a winter haven include driving south down the off-ramp and making a break for "von Braun," a hill approximately 120 meters (390 feet) away; heading north across Home Plate and driving down the north-facing edge; or driving west of Home Plate to a hill tentatively identified as "West Knob."

On sols 1349 and 1351 (Oct. 19 and Oct. 21, 2007), Spirit acquired long-baseline stereo images of von Braun, to the south of Home Plate.

Spirit has been generating approximately 345 watt-hours of solar array energy (enough to run a 100-watt bulb for almost 3 1/2 hours) per Martian day (or sol). Measurements of atmospheric dust opacity, known as Tau, have been approximately 0.7 (higher Tau measurements correspond to more dust).

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to receiving morning instructions directly from Earth via the high-gain antenna, sending evening data to Earth at UHF frequencies via the Odyssey orbiter, measuring atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera, and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1348 (Oct. 18, 2007): Spirit drove approximately 14 meters (46 feet) to get into position for the first "eye," or vantage point, of the long-baseline stereo panorama. The rover took a 7-by-1, post-drive image mosaic, measured the thermal characteristics of the external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1349: Spirit created a list of files on board and then proceeded to acquire the left-eye portion of the long-baseline stereo panorama. The rover relayed data to Earth during the overnight pass of the Odyssey orbiter, completed a systematic ground survey using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1350: Spirit drove approximately 8 meters (26 feet) to the second vantage point for the long-baseline stereo view and then acquired a post-drive image mosaic (a 6-by-1 panel) with the navigation camera. The rover acquired images of the external magnets through all filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 1351: Spirit acquired the right-eye portion of the long-baseline stereo panorama and spent 6 1/2 hours collecting measurements of atmospheric argon with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera and watched for dust devils.

Sol 1352: Spirit acquired pre-drive images with the panoramic camera to fill in portions of the right-eye view of the stereo image mosaic. The rover drove approximately 6 meters (20 feet) south-southeast toward the potential south off-ramp of Home Plate and acquired a 5-by-1 mosaic of images with the navigation camera as well as a 4-by-1 mosaic of images with the panoramic camera. Spirit took spot images of the sky, conducted a survey of rock clasts with the panoramic camera, and searched for dust devils with the navigation camera.

Sol 1353: Spirit drove approximately 10 meters (33 feet) south-southeast toward the potential south off-ramp and acquired a 5-by-1, post-drive image mosaic with the navigation camera and a 4-by-1, post-drive image mosaic with the panoramic camera. The rover surveyed the horizon and completed a survey of rock clasts with the panoramic camera. Spirit watched for dust devils.

Sol 1354 (Oct. 24, 2007): Spirit acquired a 4-by-1, pre-drive panel of images of "West Knob" with the panoramic camera and drove approximately 12 meters (39 feet) south-southeast toward the potential off-ramp. The rover acquired a 5-by-1, post-drive image mosaic with the navigation camera and a 4-by-1 image mosaic with the panoramic camera. Spirit tested communications with the Mars Express orbiter, a European Space Agency mission, in preparation for next year's arrival of NASA's Phoenix lander. The rover completed a systematic ground survey and horizon survey with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1354 (Oct. 24, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,338.78 meters (4.56 miles).


sol 1343-1347, October 29, 2007: Spirit Continues Studies of Rocks on "Home Plate"

Spirit is healthy and continues to investigate "Home Plate." After completing extensive studies of "Site 3" using the Mössbauer spectrometer and other instruments, the rover proceeded toward "Site 4."

Meanwhile, it's already time for Spirit to start thinking about winter again. Over the coming weekend, the rover was scheduled to acquire long-baseline stereo images of Home Plate and surrounding areas in search of a safe winter haven.

The grinding encoder on Spirit's rock abrasion tool appears to have suffered the same fate as that of Spirit's twin, Opportunity, on the other side of Mars. An investigation is under way, but all indications are that activities using the rock abrasion tool will now require two Martian days, or sols.

On sol 1346 (Oct. 16, 2007), Spirit drove approximately 10 meters (33 feet) toward Site 4 and added another 12 meters (39 feet) of driving on sol 1347 (Oct. 17, 2007).

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to receiving morning instructions directly from Earth via the high-gain antenna, returning data in the evening at UHF frequencies via the Odyssey orbiter, measuring atmospheric dust levels (known as tau measurements) with the panoramic camera, and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1343 (Oct. 13, 2007): Spirit restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer and collected data for 22 hours with the instrument from a target called "Humboldt Peak." The rover acquired remote data from a rock target known as "Mt. Eolus" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and a 6-by-1 image mosaic with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1344: Spirit restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer and resumed data collection from Humboldt Peak for 23 hours. The rover acquired spot images of the sky and a 4-by-1 image mosaic with the panoramic camera and collected remote data from a rock known as "Pikes Peak" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1345: Spirit resumed collecting Mössbauer data from Humboldt Peak for another 23 hours. The rover acquired remote data from a target dubbed "Mt. Sneffels" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera. Spirit monitored dust on the rover mast assembly.

Sol 1346: Spirit ran tests on the rock abrasion tool and stowed the robotic arm before taking pre-drive images with the panoramic camera and driving about 10 meters (33 feet) toward Site 4 on Home Plate. The rover acquired a 5-by-1, post-drive image mosaic with the navigation camera as well as a 4-by-1 mosaic with the panoramic camera. The rover took spot images of the sky and foreground images with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1347 (Oct. 17, 2007): Spirit conducted a pre-drive survey of the rover's surroundings with the panoramic camera and drove another 12 meters (39 feet) toward Home Plate Site 4. The rover acquired a 7-by-1, post-drive image mosaic with the navigation camera. Spirit also took images of dust in the sky, conducted a survey of rock clasts, and acquired images of a rock target called "Conundrum Peak" using the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1347 (Oct. 17, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,286 meters (4.5 miles).


sol 1337-1342, October 11, 2007: Hardy Rover Continues to Celebrate Milestones

After enduring seasonal dust storms much stronger than the rover was designed to survive, Spirit has now been exploring the Red Planet for two Martian years. That is a period of time longer than three years on Earth and more than 10 times the duration of the original 90-day mission. In fact, on Oct. 1, 2007, the rover entered the fifth extension of its original mission!

Spirit has arrived at a field of boulders that the science team is nicknaming after Colorado 14'ers -- Earth peaks taller than 14,000 feet. Atmospheric dust levels continue to wane, and Spirit took advantage of additional sunlight by using solar power to transmit data to Earth at night when the Odyssey orbiter passed overhead. These transmissions will free up more of Spirit's on-board computer memory.

Spirit began studies of a rock known as "Humboldt Peak" at "Site 3a." This particular rock is dark and angular and appears to be similar to "Comanche"-class rocks encountered by the rover earlier in the mission on "Husband Hill."

On sol 1339 (Oct. 9, 2007), the rover conducted a communications test with the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter. Mars Express will provide backup communications during the entry, descent, and landing of the Phoenix mission, due to arrive near the north pole of Mars on the United States' Memorial Day weekend of 2008.

The relays with Mars Express are a prime example of the value of having multiple spacecraft at Mars -- by using the same UHF radio frequencies as those used by the rovers and Mars Express, Phoenix will benefit from tried-and-true communications links already in place. Another example is Spirit's ability to take thermal measurements looking up into the atmosphere that fill in data that cannot be collected from above by orbiters looking down. The result is a more complete profile of the Martian atmosphere.

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to measuring atmospheric dust levels (known as tau measurements) with the panoramic camera and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1337 (Oct. 7, 2007): Spirit acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of boulders at Site 3a. The rover approached Humboldt Peak and acquired post-drive images with the hazard avoidance and navigation cameras.

Sol 1338: Spirit completed a survey of rock clasts and acquired thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera. The rover calibrated the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and acquired data from "Mt. Elbert" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover transmitted data to Earth overnight via the Odyssey orbiter.

Sol 1339: Spirit calibrated the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and performed late-night tests of communications with the Mars Express orbiter.

Sol 1340: Spirit searched for morning dust devils with the navigation camera and checked for drift (changes with time) in the miniature themal emission spectrometer. Spirit acquired a stereo mosaic of microscopic images of Humboldt Peak and placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the target for overnight studies prior to brushing the surface. The rover surveyed a target known as "Crestone Needle" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and then conducted an 18-hour, overnight study of Humboldt Peak with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, while also relaying data to Earth via the Odyssey orbiter.

Sol 1341: Spirit took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera, checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and brushed the surface of Humboldt Peak with the rock abrasion tool. The rover placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the newly brushed surface. Spirit surveyed targets dubbed "Snowmass" and "Castle Peak" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover conducted a 19-hour, overnight study of the brushed surface of Humboldt Peak with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1342 (Oct. 12, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to look for morning clouds with the navigation camera and check for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover was to switch tools to the Mössbauer spectrometer and spend 23 hours collecting data from the brushed surface of Humboldt Peak with the instrument. Spirit was also scheduled to relay data to Earth during the overnight pass of the Odyssey orbiter and acquire data from a target known as "Mt. Evans" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The next morning, the rover was expected to survey the sky with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1337 (Oct. 7, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,261.29 meters (4.5 miles).


sol 1329-1336, October 08, 2007: Rover Experiences Data Backlog

Spirit is in good health and on the move toward an appealing field of boulders at the southwest corner of "Home Plate." Preliminary data from the miniature thermal emission spectrometer indicates these boulders may be compositionally related to "Comanche"-class rocks first encountered on "Husband Hill."

Flash memory limited the rover's activities as the volume of memory in use edged up to more than 70 percent of capacity. After completing work on a 360-degree panorama from "site 3," Spirit had more than 711 megabits of unsent data in flash memory, 453 of which were data from the panoramic camera. Spirit now has enough power to transmit data to Earth during overnight Odyssey passes and took advantage of two of those opportunities this week.

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to starting and ending each day by measuring atmospheric dust levels (known as a tau measurement) and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1329 (Sept. 29, 2007): Spirit restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer and collected data for 22 hours from a target known as "Texas Chili." The rover acquired a 3-by-2-frame mosaic of images of site 3 with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1330: Spirit acquired a microscopic image mosaic of Texas Chili and a bore sight of the microscopic imager with the panoramic camera to check the accuracy of its alignment. The rover then stowed the robotic arm, surveyed the external calibration target, and acquired a 5-point survey of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. During the afternoon overpass of the Odyssey orbiter, Spirit acquired data from a target known as "Harmony Point2" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1331: Spirit acquired a 5-by-1 image mosaic of site 3 with the panoramic camera and completed acquisition of the 360-degree panorama of the rover's surroundings as viewed from site 3. Spirit also acquired a 6-by-1 mosaic of images with the navigation camera and took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera. During the afternoon Odyssey overpass, the rover surveyed a target known as "Ohridiski2" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1332: Spirit acquired a 5-by-1 image mosaic of site 3 and a 4-by-1, pre-drive image mosaic with the panoramic camera. The rover bumped backward 50 centimeters (20 inches) and acquired full-color images of the work volume studied by instruments on the robotic arm using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. Spirit drove 10.1 meters (33.1 feet) toward a target area known as "site 3a," pausing to take mid-drive images with the navigation camera. The rover acquired a 5-by-1, post-drive image mosaic with the navigation camera and a 4-by-1 image mosaic with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1333: Martian winds cleared away some dust from the solar panels, resulting in a 1-percent increase in solar power, or about 10 watt-hours. Total solar output for the day was 361 watt-hours (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt light bulb for 1 hour). Spirit surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera and completed a full-color, systematic ground survey using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 1334: Spirit completed a survey of rock clasts using the panoramic camera and then continued to drive toward site 3a. After the drive, the rover acquired images with the hazard avoidance cameras and a 4-by-1 image mosaic with the navigation camera. Spirit transmitted data to Odyssey during the overnight pass of the orbiter.

Sol 1335: Spirit completed a 5-point survey and then a 7-point survey of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1336 (Oct. 6, 2007): Spirit monitored dust on the panoramic camera mast assembly and acquired images with the navigation camera in support of observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover then completed a 7-point survey of the sky and ground as well as a systematic foreground survey with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit transmitted data to the Odyssey orbiter during its overnight pass. The rover was slated to conduct a 5-point survey of the sky and ground the next morning with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1333 (Oct. 3, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,244.32 meters (4.5 miles).


sol 1321-1328, September 27, 2007: Spirit Arrives at "Stratigraphic Wonderland"

Spirit completed the rover's longest 5-wheel drive to date en route to a platy rock surface nicknamed "Texas Chili" in an area scientists are calling a "stratigraphic wonderland." The platy outcrop is at site 3 on top of "Home Plate" and is the focus of in-depth scientific investigation.

Two sols after not receiving a scheduled data transmission, Spirit drove 19.21 meters (63.02 feet) to the rover's current location about 15 meters (49 feet) away from a field of boulders.

Meanwhile, atmospheric dust levels continued to decline. Tau measurements of atmospheric opacity dropped to 1.06 on sol 1327 (Sept. 27, 2007), with a dust factor of 0.48. Spirit has been averaging 350 watt-hours per Martian day (100 watt-hours is the amount of electricity needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Scientific studies of the platy outcrop included alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer measurements both before and after brushing the surface, analysis with the Mössbauer spectrometer, and acquisition of microscopic images as well as a 360-degree panorama.

Sol-by-sol summary

Spirit began each Martian day by measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, checking for drift (changes with time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. In addition to those tasks, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1321 (Sept. 21, 2007): Rather than completing the drive toward Home Plate as intended, Spirit executed the previous sol's activities. As a result of an internal failure in a station at the Deep Space Network in Madrid, rover handlers were unable to transmit instructions to Spirit via the rover's high-gain antenna.

Sol 1322: Spirit spent the first sol of a three-sol weekend collecting remote science data, including panoramic camera images of a target known as "Ambrosia" and miniature thermal emission spectrometer measurements of Ambrosia as well as targets known as "Bisque" and "Cobbler."

Sol 1323: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of Bisque and Cobbler before completing the 19.21-meter (63.02-foot) drive to site 3 on Home Plate. The rover took images with the hazard avoidance cameras before and after ending the drive and acquired post-drive image mosaics with the navigation and panoramic cameras.

Sol 1324: Spirit acquired near-field panoramic camera images and spent the third sol of a three-sol weekend collecting untargeted remote sensing data. Observations included movie frames in search of dust devils with the navigation camera and a systematic foreground survey with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1325: Spirit surveyed rock clasts with the panoramic camera and scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera. The rover began work on a 360-degree panorama as well as scientific studies of Texas Chili. Spirit acquired navigation camera images in support of observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, completed a full-color, systematic, foreground survey using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, and acquired a mosaic of images of site 3 with the panoramic camera. Spirit studied targets known as "Hardy Point," "Harmony Point," and "Ohridiski" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover unstowed the robotic arm and placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on Texas Chili.

Sol 1326: In the morning, Spirit monitored dust on the rover mast. Later, the rover acquired more panoramic camera images of site 3, brushed the surface of Texas Chili with the rock abrasion tool, and acquired images of the microscopic imager with the front hazard avoidance camera to monitor dust accumulation. Spirit placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer back on the target and collected data for about 18 hours.

Sol 1327: In the morning, Spirit received communications via the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter. The rover acquired more panoramic camera images of site 3, switched tools from the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer to the Mössbauer spectrometer, and collected Mössbauer data from Texas Chili for about 21 hours.

Sol 1328 (Sept. 28, 2007): Spirit took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera, re-started the Mössbauer spectrometer, and collected Mössbauer data from Texas Chili for about 25 hours. The rover took more panoramic camera images of site 3 and was slated to continue doing so the following morning.

Odometry:

As of sol 1327 (Sept. 27, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,234.09 meters (4.49 miles).


sol 1315-1320, September 25, 2007: Spirit Makes Progress Across "Home Plate"

Spirit is healthy after finishing a remote sensing campaign at Site 2 on "Home Plate." The work included collecting long-baseline stereo images of "Husband Hill," studying a possible fracture in the bedrock, and conducting reconnaissance looking west, southwest, and south in search of drive paths and geological information.

On Sol 1315 (Sept. 14, 2007), Spirit began driving toward Site 3, about 30 to 40 meters (100 to 130 feet) away from Site 2 at the southern end of Home Plate. Scientists wanted to gain elevation for a better view of the southern part of Home Plate and "Low Ridge." They planned to use instruments at the end of the rover's robotic arm to document alteration trends from northwest to southeast across Home Plate and get a better look at vesicular basalts and potential "Comanche"-class rocks (so named for rocks examined earlier in the mission while Spirit was crossing Husband Hill).

Later the same day, after the rover completed the drive, the Odyssey orbiter went into safe mode, and Spirit stayed put to perform remote sensing. On sols 1318 and 1319 (Sept. 17-18, 2007), Spirit communicated directly with Earth via the high-gain antenna, enabling the operations team to confirm that the rover was still healthy and had successfully completed the sol 1315 drive. On Wednesday, September 19th, Odyssey resumed relaying data from Spirit via UHF radio transmissions, clearing the way for Spirit to continue driving to Site 3.

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to measuring atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera, surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and checking for drift (changes with time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1315 (Sept. 14, 2007): Spirit surveyed a soil target known as "Broth" and rock targets known as "Vichyssoise" and "Cioppino" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover drove toward Home Plate Site 3, acquiring images along the way with the hazard avoidance cameras. After the drive, Spirit took images of the surroundings with the navigation and panoramic cameras.

Sol 1316: Spirit acquired 8 minutes worth of movie frames in search of dust devils using the navigation camera. Spirit acquired a panel of navigation camera images looking to the rear and a mosaic of panoramic camera images of the fracture. The rover surveyed the external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1317: Spirit monitored dust accumulation on the rover mast with the panoramic camera and acquired full-color images of the foreground using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover completed a survey of rock clasts with the panoramic camera. Spirit scanned the foreground using both the navigation camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit recalibrated the panoramic camera's measurements of atmospheric opacity.

Sol 1318: Spirit took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera and checked the external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover spent most of the sol taking measurements of atmospheric dust.

Sol 1319: Spirit continued to check the external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and acquired movie frames in search of dust devils with the navigation camera.

Sol 1320 (Sept. 20, 2007): Spirit took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera and monitored dust accumulation on the mast with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1315 (Sept. 14, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,214 meters (4.48 miles).


sol 1309-1314, September 18, 2007: Spirit Explores Top of "Home Plate"

After spending some time getting used to the terrain on top of "Home Plate," Spirit began driving across the top of the elevated plateau, en route to taking more images and examining a possible fracture in the bedrock.

On the rover's 1,310th Martian day, or sol, of exploration (Sept. 9, 2007), Spirit completed a drive characterization to determine how the rover responded on Home Plate terrain. After passing that test, Spirit proceeded toward a destination known as "Site 2." Plans called for the rover to acquire the second portion of a long-baseline, stereo view of "Husband Hill" and study the potential fracture. In addition, Spirit was slated to collect remote sensing data looking to the west, southwest, and south in search of possible drive paths as well as geological information.

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to measuring atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera, surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and checking for drift (changes with time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1309 (Sept. 8, 2007): Spirit examined targets known as "Gumbo," "Goulash," "Stew," and "Pudding" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit took wide-range atmospheric dust measurements using the panoramic camera and then, after the evening pass of the Odyssey orbiter, recalibrated the dust measurements of the panoramic camera.

Sol 1310: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of Gumbo and Goulash. The rover turned in place to characterize the drive toward Site 2 and started driving in that direction. Spirit took images with the hazard avoidance cameras just before and after completing the drive as well as post-drive images with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1311: Spirit surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1312: Spirit monitored dust accumulation on the rover's mast with the panoramic camera and continued driving. The rover acquired images with the hazard avoidance cameras before and after completing the drive and acquired post-drive images with the panoramic and navigation cameras. Spirit acquired a rearward-looking mosaic of navigation camera images, surveyed the external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and completed a systematic ground survey using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 1313: Spirit surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1314 (Sept. 13, 2007): Spirit acquired full-color views, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of the fracture on Home Plate. The rover acquired forward-looking images with the panoramic camera and acquired data from targets dubbed "Tapioca," "Bouillabaisse," and "Dumplings" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit acquired wide-range measurements of atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera and measured atmospheric argon with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. After the overpass of the Odyssey orbiter, Spirit recalibrated dust measurements with the panoramic camera. The following morning, the rover was to acquire panoramic camera images of Dumplings and complete a survey of rock clasts.

Odometry:

As of sol 1312 (Sept. 11, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,206 meters (4.48 miles).


sol 1303-1308, September 10, 2007: Spirit Finally Arrives at Home Plate!

After remaining beyond the margins of Home Plate ever since exiting its northeast edge on Sol 774 (March 7, 2006) to survive the first winter on Mars, Spirit finally climbed on top of the elevated, circular plateau that scientists believe is volcanic in origin.

Before completing the final drive, however, Spirit returned to the soil patch nicknamed "Gertude Weise," made of nearly pure silicon dioxide, to acquire data that will help scientists characterize how much dust has accumulated on the instrument optics of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

The miniature thermal emission spectrometer is inside the boxy body of the rover, below the mast. Mirrors inside the mast allow the instrument to see outside. The rover has been using the spectrometer to measure changes in the atmosphere during the recent dust storm on Mars. When the instrument is not in use, a cover protects it from dust floating in the atmosphere but it isn't air-tight.

After completing measurements of Gertrude Weise, Spirit was once again on the move. The rover attempted to "thread the needle" by driving between two rocks on sol 1304 (Sept. 3, 2007) and place the rear two wheels on the top of Home Plate (Spirit must drive backward to drag the frozen right front wheel).

As it turned out, the drive was more difficult than anticipated. On the first attempt, Spirit immediately stopped driving when the rover's wheels entered an area designated as a keepout zone. This occurred as the rover was attempting to compensate for drag from the right front wheel by turning slightly in the opposite direction. Normally, the dragging wheel causes Spirit to yaw counter-clockwise (as viewed from above), but the amount of counter-clockwise spin depends on the amount of drag encountered by the right front wheel. Rocky surfaces cause less drag than soil. In this case, the drag was less than anticipated.

On sol 1306 (Sept. 5, 2007), Spirit tried again and executed the drive flawlessly! Now that the rover's two rear wheels are on top of the eastern edge of Home Plate, Spirit is in position to explore the top of the elevated plateau along its eastern and southern edges. The next planned stop is a few meters away in an area known as "Site 2," located midway along the eastern scarp of Home Plate east scarp and several meters to the west of the scarp. (If you compared the roughly circular shape of the top of Home Plate to a clock, Site 2 would be at 3:30.)

After that, scientists plan to have Spirit proceed to "Site 3," at the southern end of Home Plate (6 o'clock position) and "Site 4," at the southwestern corner of Home Plate (7:30 position).

By collecting data at all these sites, scientists hope to interpret the geologic structure of Home Plate, determine how the rock chemistry changes from one side to the other, and elucidate a fracture that crosses the plateau from west to east. Along the way, the rover will take images of the south face of "Husband Hill" to the north and outcrops known as "Goddard" and "von Braun" to the south.

In recent months, rover handlers have been naming local features and targets around Home Plate for deceased members of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Because Home Plate is bowl-shaped, scientists have decided to name features on top of Home Plate after things served in bowls. Stay tuned for upcoming yummy descriptions!

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to measuring atmospheric opacity with the panoramic and navigation cameras, surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and checking for drift (changes with time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1303 (Sept. 2, 2007): Spirit studied a target known as "Gertrude Weise14," the background of the target, a soil target labeled "Innocent Bystander Disturbed Area 1," and a target known as "Mary Dailey3" as well as its background with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit recalibrated the panoramic camera and acquired miniature thermal emission spectrometer data on a target dubbed "Joanne Winter2."

Sol 1304: Spirit acquired full-color images of the disturbed soil area using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera before driving 2.42 meters (7.94 feet) toward Home Plate. The rover took images just before and after completing the drive with the hazard avoidance cameras as well as post-drive images with the navigation and panoramic cameras.

Sol 1305: Spirit surveyed the rover's external calibration target using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and acquired movie frames in search of dust devils using the navigation camera. The rover recalibrated the panoramic camera.

Sol 1306: Before beginning the sol's drive, Spirit acquired full-color images of the rover's external calibration target as well as the disturbed soil area of Innocent Bystander using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. After completing the 8.21-meter (26.9-foot) drive, the rover took images of the surrounding terrain with the navigation camera and forward-looking images with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1307: Spirit completed a survey of rock clasts with the panoramic camera and assessed the calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1308 (Sept. 7, 2007): Spirit acquired images of dust in the sky with the panoramic camera, calibrated the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and listed files in the rover's flash memory (a type of rewritable electronic memory that retains information even when power is off). Spirit completed a systematic foreground survey using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera and measured albedo (surface reflectivity) using the panoramic camera. With the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, the rover surveyed a soil target known as "Beef_Chili," a rock target known as "Cajun_Chili," and the external calibration target.

Odometry:

As of sol 1306 (Sept. 5, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,182.49 meters (4.46 miles).


sol 1295-1302, August 30, 2007: Spirit Slowly Emerges from Blanket of Dust

Spirit remains healthy as the rover slowly picks up more solar energy. The dust storms appear to be over, at least for now, and the skies are slowly clearing. Unfortunately, what energy Spirit has gained from cleaner skies has been offset by losses to dustier solar arrays. Still, Spirit has the energy, about 325 watt-hours, to finally be roving again.

Tau, a measure of atmospheric dustiness, declined slightly. As of Sol 1299 (Aug. 29, 2007), the Sun was at about 8 percent of its full brightness, an increase of a little more than 2 percent compared with five sols earlier. Dust on the rover's solar arrays increased by about 3 percent and only about 59 percent of the sunlight hitting the arrays gets through to make electricity.

But rather than getting a 1-percent boost in solar power, the rover has been just about breaking even. The reason is that Tau measures direct sunlight but there's also scattered sunlight and it, too, increased by about 1 percent.

Much of the dust previously seen on the turret has blown or fallen off. Dust contamination remains a concern, particularly for the microscopic imager, where some of the dust clumps visible in earlier images have fallen out or moved out of the line of sight.

On Sol 1296 (Aug. 25, 2007), Spirit resumed driving to "Home Plate" and more specifically, to a location with gentle slopes and few rocks known as "the on-ramp." This drive was a turn-in-place, given Spirit's frozen right front wheel, to get the rover pointed in the right direction.

After two sols of remote sensing with emphasis on characterizing whatever dust had accumulated on the panoramic camera, Spirit's handlers decided to have the rover retrace its tracks to assess what dust contamination might be present on the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. To do this, they needed to measure a known target.

With a blanket of dust everywhere, scientists needed a way to distinguish dust on targets of scientific interest from dust on the optics. The best target for that was "Gertrude Weise," a patch of nearly pure-silica soil uncovered by Spirit's wheels. Rover planners decided to have the rover drag its wheels through it again to scrape off newly acquired dust and expose the same pure silica as before. Differences between old and new measurements would be due to dust on the instrument itself; once that signature was known, it could be subtracted from future measurements.

The first drive to Gertrude Weise was a little short and didn't uncover the silica as hoped. Spirit's handlers planned a second drive on Sol 1300 (Aug. 30, 2007), during which the rover was to scuff the soil with a half-turn of the left front wheel, then scuff it more by locking both left and right front wheels and driving them backward across Gertrude Weise. They then planned to have the rover back up some more to take images and move toward the Home Plate on-ramp.

Spirit was expected to resume the long-awaited trek to Home Plate on sol 1303 (Sept. 2, 2007).

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily direct-from-Earth uplinks over the rover's high-gain antenna, relays to Earth at UHF frequences via the Odyssey orbiter, surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, measurements of atmospheric opacity with the panoramic and navigation cameras, and image acquisition with the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1295 (Aug. 25, 2007): Spirit conducted remote sensing and acquired panoramic camera images of targets known as "Eileen Dean," "Dorothy Mueller," and "Stealing Third."

Sol 1296: Spirit drove and turned in place 156 degrees to point toward the on-ramp of Home Plate. The rover assessed dust accumulation on the lenses of the panoramic camera and measured atmospheric opacity (Tau) at different times of day.

Sol 1297: Spirit conducted remote sensing and general atmospheric science, including characterizing dust on the panoramic camera.

Sol 1298: Spirit drove, returning to Gertrude Weise.

Sol 1299: Spirit conducted remote sensing and general atmospheric science, including characterizing dust on the panoramic camera.

Sol 1300: Plans called for Spirit to drive, scuff and drag its wheels over Gertrude Weise, and acquire images of the target. The rover was to conduct atmospheric science.

Sol 1301: Plans called for Spirit to conduct remote sensing and general atmospheric science, including characterizing dust on the panoramic camera. The rover was to measure atmospheric argon with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1302 (Sept. 1, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to conduct remote sensing and general atmospheric science, including characterizing dust on the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1298 (Aug. 28, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,169 meters (4.45 miles).


sol 1288-1294, August 23, 2007: Spirit Tries to Coax Dust from Microscopic Imager

For the first time since arriving on Mars in 2004, Spirit attempted to remove dust from the microscopic imager in a "blobs away" campaign to help the rover recover from a series of dust storms. The rover remained healthy as the Gusev Crater region continued to emerge from the recent storms. Gloominess caused by suspended dust in the atmosphere remained high but continued its downward trend. Dust falling out of the atmosphere continued to accumulate on the solar panels, limiting power gains from decreasing atmospheric opacity, known as Tau.

Between the rover's 1,288th and 1,291st Martian days, or sols, of exploration (Aug. 18 and Aug. 21, 2007), Tau values went down from 3.2 to 3.0. During the same time, the accumulation of dust on the solar arrays rose from 0.664 to 0.640 (a dust factor of 1.0 corresponds to a perfectly clean array). Solar energy on sol 1291 (Aug. 21, 2007) was 313 watt-hours (100 watt-hours is what it takes to light a 100-watt bulb for 1 hour).

The "blobs away" campaign, designed to dump dust from the surface of the microscopic imager lens, involved repeatedly taking images, opening and closing the dust cover, pointing the instrument slightly upward at an angle of 20 degrees (with the hinge down to avoid dumping caked dust on the lens), and taking more images and opening and closing the dust cover. Improved image quality after the procedure indicated that either some dust fell out or simply moved around. Dust decontamination efforts continue.

Spirit acquired microscopic images of mobile surface ripples and a soil target nicknamed "Norma Luker" on Sol 1291 (Aug. 21 2007). Despite dust motes on the lens, the images were useful to the science team.

Engineers were investigating the cause of a failed transmission on sol 1292 (Aug. 22, 2007), in which planned activities did not get on board the spacecraft. Potential causes being investigated included an uplink glitch or interference from a simultaneous uplink to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Spirit "drove" 42 centimeters (16 ½ inches) to a new position. Weekend plans called for the first multi-meter drive toward the elevated plateau known as "Home Plate" as well as test transmissions to the European Mars Express orbiter in support of next year's arrival of the Phoenix spacecraft now en route to Mars.

Martian weather reports as of Aug. 22 indicated a lull in afternoon storm activity on the red planet, with no new storm activity visible within a few thousand kilometers of either Mars rover site. Skies remained dusty and were expected to continue to clear slowly.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily direct-from-Earth uplinks over the rover's high-gain antenna, relays to Earth at UHF frequences via the Odyssey orbiter, surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, measurements of atmospheric opacity with the panoramic and navigation cameras, and image acquisition with the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1288 (Aug. 18, 2007): Spirit studied Norma Luker with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1289: Spirit monitored dust accumulation on the rover mast, collected data on the external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and completed a survey at high sun with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1290: Spirit surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera and performed dust ejection maneuvers with the microscopic imager.

Sol 1291: Spirit took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera, checked for drift (changes with time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired stereo microscopic images of Norma Luker. The rover moved the microscopic imager and acquired stereo microscopic views of surface ripples, stowed the robotic arm, and acquired hazard avoidance camera images to document the stowing of the arm.

Sol 1292: Plans for a day of remote sensing and acquisition of full-color images of a target known as "Eileen Dean" failed to get on board.

Sol 1293: Spirit checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, acquired movie frames in search of dust devils using the navigation camera, and took full-color images using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera of a target known as "Gertrude Weise12." The rover acquired miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from the same target before rolling a short distance away. After the short drive, the rover took images of its new location with the navigation camera and hazard avoidance cameras.

Sol 1294 (Aug. 24, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to check for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, acquire movie frames in search of dust devils with the navigation camera, and survey the horizon with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1293 (Aug. 23, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,154 meters (4.45 miles).


sol 1284-1287, August 20, 2007: Dust from Martian Sky Accumulates on Solar Panels

Even though the Martian sky above Gusev Crater continued to clear, solar power levels on NASA's Spirit rover remained fairly constant as dust settling from the atmosphere accumulated on top of the solar panels. Activities remained restricted. Measurements of atmospheric opacity, known as Tau, dropped from 3.6 on Martian day, or sol, 1283 (Aug. 12, 2007) to 3.3 on sol 1286 (Aug. 16, 2007), generating power levels of 301 watt-hours (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour).

During recent wind storms on Mars, some dust appears to have gotten past the cover of the microscopic imager, based on images Spirit acquired on sols 1279 and 1284-1286 (Aug. 8, 2007 and Aug. 14-16, 2007). Engineers conducting tests with a surrogate rover on Earth hoped to position the instrument in a downward-facing position as early as sol 1290 (Aug. 20, 2007) in an attempt to get accumulated dust to fall out.

While assessing the well-being of the microscopic imager, Spirit completed an analysis of a crushed rock target known as "Innocent Bystander" with the Mössbauer spectrometer and continued to make observations of the ground and atmosphere. The rover remains healthy and is parked just east of the elevated plateau known as "Home Plate."

The forecast for the next week is for no new dust storm activity, based on weather reports provided by Malin Space Science Systems, the builder of the Mars Color Imager on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The camera is being used to monitor conditions on the red planet. Skies are expected to continue to clear over the next couple of months.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Except where noted, daily communications included morning, direct-from-Earth uplinks over the rover's high-gain antenna and evening relays of data to Earth at UHF frequences via the Odyssey orbiter. In addition, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1284 (Aug. 13, 2007): Spirit placed the Mössbauer spectrometer back on Innocent Bystander and began analysis with the instrument. The rover also acquired images of ripples using the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras and microscopic images looking toward the sky through the dust cover of the microscopic imager. Spirit measured atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1285: Spirit surveyed atmospheric opacity with the panoramic and navigation camera and acquired images of ripples using the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras. The rover acquired microscopic images looking through the dust cover of the microscopic imager and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1286: Spirit surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and measured atmospheric dust with the panoramic and navigation cameras. The rover continued with Mössbauer analysis of Innocent Bystander and took diagnostic images at different times of day looking skyward through the dust cover with the microscopic imager. Spirit surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and acquired images with the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras.

Sol 1287 (Aug. 17, 2004): Spirit surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and measured atmospheric dust with the panoramic and navigation cameras. The rover continued with Mössbauer analysis of Innocent Bystander and acquired images with the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras. Spirit took more skyward-oriented images through the dust cover with the microscopic imager and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1287 (Aug. 16, 2007), Spirit's total odometry remained at 7,153 meters (4.44 miles).


sol 1274-1283, August 16, 2007: Gloomy Skies Show Signs of Clearing

Spirit is healthy as the amount of dust hoisted into the atmosphere by recent wind storms has leveled off and solar energy levels have held steady at about 280 to 300 watt-hours of energy (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour). Since the rover's 1,271st Martian day, or sol, of exploration (July 31, 2007), atmospheric opacity, a measurement known as Tau, has stabilized at about 3.8. Given the apparent relative stability of the atmosphere, the rover's handlers have returned to somewhat more normal planning procedures, allowing the rover to take on more science activities. Spirit studied a crushed rock target known as "Innocent Bystander" using the Mössbauer spectrometer on sols 1275, 1278, and 1281 (Aug. 4, Aug. 7, and Aug. 10, 2007).

Spirit appears to have accumulated some dust contamination on the optics of the microscopic imager at some point during a period of 10 Martian days between sol 1257 (July 17, 2007) and sol 1277 (Aug. 6, 2007). On sol 1282 (Aug. 11, 2007), Spirit got a look at the microscopic imager with the dust cover closed using the panoramic and hazard avoidance cameras. The rover's handlers are considering using the front hazard avoidance cameras to try to get a better look at the microscopic imager with the dust cover open. They are also considering strategies for removing dust if necessary.

Spirit remains parked just to the east of the elevated plateau known as "Home Plate" with the Mössbauer spectrometer placed on Innocent Bystander.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Except where noted, daily communications included morning, direct-from-Earth uplinks over the rover's high-gain antenna and evening relays of data to Earth at UHF frequences via the Odyssey orbiter. In addition, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1274 (Aug. 3, 2007): Spirit acquired wide-range, panoramic camera images for measuring atmospheric dust, searched for clouds using the navigation camera, acquired movie frames in search of dust devils, and acquired images of surface ripples to the front and rear of the rover with the hazard avoidance cameras. The rover surveyed the external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1275: Spirit conducted studies with the Mössbauer spectrometer, acquired a 3x1 mosaic of images of ripples with the navigation camera, acquired wide-range, panoramic camera images for measuring atmospheric dust, and took images of ripples with the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras. The rover scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1276: Spirit acquired images of ripples with the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras, acquired wide-range, panoramic camera images for measuring atmospheric dust, acquired a 360-degree panorama of the rover's surrounding with the navigation camera, and searched for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1277: Spirit acquired a stack of microscopic images of targets known as "Stealing Second" and "Stealing Third," a microscopic image of Innocent Bystander, and both wide-range, panoramic camera images and navigation camera images for measuring atmospheric dust. The rover monitored dust on the rover mast, acquired images of ripples with the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras, and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1278: Spirit studied Innocent Bystander using the Mössbauer spectrometer, acquired images of ripples using the navigation camera, and measured atmospheric dust by acquiring wide-range, panoramic camera images as well as navigation camera images. The rover took thumbnail images of the sky and acquired movie frame images in search of dust devils with the navigation camera.

Sol 1279: Spirit acquired images of surface ripples using the rear and front hazard avoidance cameras, acquired a microscopic image looking through the dust cover, and acquired images of the microscopic imager from the outside using the panoramic and navigation cameras. The rover acquired wide-range, panoramic camera images as well as navigation camera images for measuring atmospheric dust, took spot images of the sky, and surveyed the horizon.

Sol 1280: Spirit measured atmospheric properties using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and measured atmospheric opacity with the panoramic and navigation cameras. The rover took images of ripples with the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras, searched for clouds with the navigation camera, and conducted a mini-survey of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1281: Spirit acquired wide-range, panoramic camera images and navigation camera images to measure atmospheric dust. The rover conducted studies with the Mössbauer spectrometer, completed a survey at high sun with the panoramic camera, and took images of surface ripples using the navigation and panoramic cameras.

Sol 1282: Spirit extended the robotic arm for panoramic camera images, retracted the robotic arm for hazard avoidance camera images, and extended the rock abrasion tool into ready position. The rover acquired images of ripples using the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras, acquired wide-range, panoramic camera images to measure atmospheric dust, and monitored dust on the rover mast. Spirit conducted a mini-survey of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1283 (Aug. 12, 2007): Spirit acquired wide-range, panoramic camera images and navigation camera images for measuring atmospheric dust, took spot images of the sky, surveyed the horizon, acquired a 3x1 mosaic of navigation camera images of surface ripples, and completed a mini-survey of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1283 (Aug. 12, 2007), Spirit's total odometry remained at 7,153 meters (4.44 miles).


sol 1268-1273, August 8, 2007: Martian Dust Begins to Settle -- Right on Top of the Solar Arrays

Spirit is healthy and continues to ride out the dust storms on Mars. In fact, atmospheric dreariness has improved in the last few Martian days, or sols, but as dust settles out of the atmosphere, it settles onto the solar arrays, keeping power levels relatively low.

Measurements of the amount of sunlight blocked from reaching the rover, known as Tau, dropped from a record high of 4.738 on sol 1265 (July 25, 2007) to 3.813 on sol 1273 (Aug. 2, 2007). Solar power levels leveled off at around 260 to 300 watt-hours per sol (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Weather reports from the Mars Color Imager on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter indicate the storms may be in the early stages of decay. Spirit continues to use power conservatively in view of the recent jump in dust levels and the struggle for survival by Spirit's twin, the Opportunity rover, on the opposite side of the red planet.

Spirit remains parked just east of the elevated plateau known as "Home Plate," with the Mössbauer spectrometer placed on the target known as "Innocent Bystander." On sol 1273 (Aug. 2, 2007), Spirit performed a 5-hour study with the Mössbauer spectrometer.

After the dust settles, Spirit's handlers on Earth plan to have the rover continue collecting Mössbauer data from Innocent Bystander for a few sols, acquire microscopic images of the new dust layer on the soil, and drive onto Home Plate.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Except where noted, daily communications activities included morning, direct-from-Earth uplinks over the rover's high-gain antenna and evening relays of data to Earth at UHF frequences via the Odyssey orbiter. In addition, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1268: Spirit measured atmospheric Tau with both the panoramic camera and navigation camera. The rover did not relay data to Earth to conserve power.

Sol 1269: Spirit measured Tau and completed a sky survey using the panoramic camera. The rover's handlers on Earth did not send instructions to the rover to conserve power.

Sol 1270: Spirit measured Tau and completed a sky survey using the panoramic camera. The rover's handlers on Earth did not send instructions to the rover to conserve power.

Sol 1271: Spirit measured Tau and completed a sky survey using the panoramic camera. The rover measured Tau using the navigation camera and acquired images of sand ripples on the surface with the front hazard avoidance camera.

Sol 1272: Spirit took more images of sand ripples with the front hazard avoidance camera as well as with the rear hazard avoidance camera. The rover acquired a mosaic of sand ripple images with the navigation camera. Spirit measured atmospheric dust, acquired images of the sky, completed a horizon survey, and acquired images of the "El Dorado" dune field with the panoramic camera. To conserve power, Spirit did not send data to Earth.

Sol 1273 (Aug. 2, 2007): Spirit studied Innocent Bystander with the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1265 (July 25, 2007), Spirit's total odometry remained at 7,153 meters (4.44 miles).


sol 1261-1267, August 8, 2007: Atmospheric Gloom Reaches Record Levels

Despite setting new personal records for atmospheric opacity, Spirit is healthy and riding out the dust storm on Mars. Though science activity has been minimal, the rover was able to collect data on storm activity. On Spirit's 1,265th Martian day, or sol, of exploration (July 25, 2007), the rover reported an atmospheric opacity measurement, known as Tau, of 4.73 -- a record high for this vehicle. Solar power levels dropped to a corresponding record low of 261 watt-hours (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Meanwhile, Spirit's handlers on Earth modified the rover's activities to reflect the reduced amount of power available. In some cases, this meant foregoing communications with the Mars Odyssey spacecraft.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1261-1263 (July 21-23, 2007): Spirit measured atmospheric opacity, known as Tau, once each sol using the panoramic camera. On sol 1261 (July 21, 2007), the rover transmitted a beep confirming the handover of a new master sequence of activities. There was no downlink of information from Spirit via UHF frequencies on sol 1263 (July 23, 2007).

Sol 1264: Spirit checked for drift (changes with time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, acquired a micro-mini survey of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (meaning the scan lasted 6 1/2 minutes instead of 8 1/2 minutes), and meaasured atmospheric opacity using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1265: In the morning, Spirit measured atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera and took images with the hazard avoidance cameras. Spirit checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and acquired a micro-mini survey of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1266: Spirit greeted the day by measuring atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera and taking images with the hazard avoidance cameras. After receiving news of record-breaking tau, Spirit's handlers on Earth deleted a planned overnight study with the Mössbauer spectrometer. They transmitted activities for sol 1267.

Sol 1267 (July 27, 2007): Spirit measured atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera, checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired a micro-mini survey of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera. The next day, Spirit was to acquire images with the front hazard avoidance camera, measure atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera, take images of the sky with the panoramic camera, and survey the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1265 (July 25, 2007), Spirit's total odometry remained at 7,153 meters (4.44 miles).


sol 1253-1260, August 8, 2007: Spirit Monitors Dust Storm While Studying Martian Terrain

Spirit is healthy and is parked next to a cluster of rock fragments known as "Innocent Bystander," which the rover has been studying "Innocent Bystander" using instruments on the rover's robotic arm, including a long analysis with the Mössbauer spectrometer. This target is of interest because it is high in silica, a feature suggesting water may have been present during formation. The rocks are also low in nanophase oxide, a possible product of weathering.

On the rover's 1,253rd Martian day, or sol, of exploration (July 13, 2007), Spirit took microscopic images of the aperture of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer while holding the microscopic imager itself, which is located at the end of the robotic arm, at different elevations. Spirit performed this experiment in preparation for running it again on Spirit's twin, the Opportunity rover, on the opposite side of Mars.

On sol 1,257 (July 17, 2007), Spirit acquired a super-resolution mosaic of microscopic images of Innocent Bystander to get a better look at the unusual granular texture of the surface.

Spirit recorded dust storm activity using the panoramic and navigation cameras.

The sky above Spirit continued to darken as a result of dust storm activity. Measurements of atmospheric opacity, known as Tau, are an estimate of how much sunlight cannot penetrate the atmosphere. During the week, Spirit recorded a Tau of 4.017 on sol 1,259 (July 19, 2007), the largest Tau to date at the rover's location. Spirit experienced a 6-percent dust cleaning of the rover's solar arrays on sol 1,258 (July 18, 2007), which left the solar arrays the cleanest they had been since sol 427 (March 16, 2005).

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1253 (July 13, 2007): Spirit monitored atmospheric opacity using the panoramic camera, checked for drift (changes over time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and scanned the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit took images of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer with the microscopic imager, exchanged tools to the Mössbauer spectrometer for an offset view of Innocent Bystander, and took thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera. The rover acquired data from a target known as "Somp" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1254: In the morning, in addition to monitoring atmospheric opacity using the panoramic camera, Spirit took navigation cameras of the Sun, surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera, and surveyed a target known as "Korus" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and scanned the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover conducted Mössbauer studies of a target dubbed "Innocent Bystandar Offset2," acquired full-color panoramic camera images of a target known as "Tangor," and acquired super-resolution panoramic camera images of a target known as "Gooli." Spirit surveyed a target called "Gooli3" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1255: In the morning, Spirit took navigation camera images of the Sun, conducted a horizon survey with the panoramic camera, and acquired data from a target known as "Alice DeCambra," in addition to monitoring atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera, checking for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and scanning the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit continued to collect Mössbauer data from Innocent Offset2, took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera, and acquired a mosaic of images of the dune field known as "El Dorado" with the panoramic camera. The rover used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to collect data on targets known as "Mona Denton" and "Faget2."

Sol 1256: In the morning, Spirit took navigation camera images of the Sun and scanned Tangor with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, in addition to monitoring atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera, checking for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and scanning the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit continued Mössbauer studies of Innocent Bystander.

Sol 1257: In the morning, Spirit took navigation camera images of the Sun and used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to study a target known as "Lenora Mandella2," in addition to monitoring atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera, checking for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and scanning the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit acquired super-resolution, microscopic images of Innocent Bystander Offset2 and restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer for continued analysis of the same target.

Sol 1258: In the morning, Spirit monitored dust accumulation on the rover mast, took thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera, checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer for continued analysis of Innocent Bystander Offset2.

Sol 1259: Spirit started the day by acquiring thumbnail images of the sky in addition to checking for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and scanning the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit acquired images with the hazard avoidance camera.

Sol 1260 (July 20, 2007): Shortly after sunup, Spirit scanned for dust devils by acquiring movie frames with the navigation camera. Spirit checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and scanned the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The next day, Spirit was to acquire a survey of the sky at high sun using the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1252 (July 12, 2007), Spirit's total odometry remained at 7,153 meters (4.44 miles).


sol 1247-1252, July 14, 2007: Spirit Examines Rocks Possibly Formed In Volcanic Gases or Hot Springs

Spirit is healthy after driving to a cluster of rock fragments known as "Innocent Bystander" (so named because Spirit accidentally ran over it when another rock, "Virginia Bell," was the intended target. The aim had been to crush Virginia Bell to expose a fresh surface for examination).

It was a fortuitous encounter, though, because indications are that Innocent Bystander may have been formed by either a fumarole or hot spring. A fumarole is a vent in the Earth's surface that emits steam and volcanic gases. Volcanic gases leach the original rock and leave silica-rich rock behind. If Innocent Bystander was created in a hot spring environment, then it could be siliceous sinter, a kind of silica-rich rock that precipitates directly from water.

Spirit had a solar-array dust-cleaning event on the rover's 1,252nd day, or sol, of Martian exploration (July 12, 2007). Even though Tau, a measurement of atmospheric opacity caused by dust, has been trending upward for the past several days, Spirit's solar power levels have risen slightly due to wind-related cleaning of the solar panels.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily remote science observations of the atmosphere and terrain using the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and communication activities including morning direct-from-Earth uplinks via the rover's high-gain antenna and evening downlinks at UHF frequencies via the Mars Odyssey orbiter, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1247 (July 6, 2007): Spirit monitored atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, stowed the robotic arm, and drove to Innocent Bystander. Along the way, Spirit acquired mid-drive, full-color images of the work volume using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera as well as images with the hazard avoidance cameras. After transmitting data to the Odyssey orbiter, Spirit again measured atmospheric dust and took images of the sun with the navigation camera.

Sol 1248: In the morning, Spirit monitored atmospheric dust and surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera, monitored dust on the rover mast, and acquired thumbnail images of the sky. Spirit then continued to measure atmospheric dust and scan the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover completed a calibration of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer as well as a survey of the sky and ground with the instrument. Spirit completed a survey at high Sun with the panoramic camera. After communicating with the Odyssey spacecraft, Spirit measured atmospheric dust.

Sol 1249: In the morning, Spirit monitored atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, watched for dust devils, and acquired movie frames of potential dust devils with the navigation camera. Spirit continued to measure atmospheric dust opacity with the panoramic camera and scan the sky and ground witht the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. After the uplink to the Odyssey orbiter, Spirit continued to measure atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1250: In the morning, Spirit measured atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit checked for drift (changes with time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit drove closer to Innocent Bystander and acquired post-drive images with the hazard avoidance cameras and a 360-degree panorama with the navigation camera. The rover continued to measure atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera and scan the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. After communicating with Odyssey, Spirit acquired navigation camera images of the Sun and again monitored atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1238: In the morning, Spirit monitored dust build-up on the rover's mast, surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera, and acquired movie frames with the navigation camera in search of dust devils. Spirit acquired microscopic images of the solar arrays, capture magnet, and filter magnet to document dust levels since the most recent dust-cleaning events on sols 1233 and 1234 (June 22-23, 2007). The rover acquired microscopic images of Eileen Dean and collected data on the target using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. Spirit acquired four sets of comparative measurements with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer early in the day, in the afternoon, overnight, and early the next sol. Spirit observed the Sun with the navigation camera in support of the Mars Science Laboratory rover scheduled for launch in 2009. The goal of these observations is to see if navigation camera images of the sun can be used to orient the rover.

Sol 1251: Upon awakening, Spirit acquired images of the Sun using the navigation camera, measured atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera, completed a survey of clasts using the panoramic camera, and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit continued to monitor atmospheric dust and scan the surroundings, then unstowed the robotic arm and acquired a 2x1x7 mosaic of microscopic images of Innocent Bystander. Spirit placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on Innocent Bystander, measured atmospheric dust and completed a survey at high Sun with the panoramic camera, and continued to monitor atmospheric dust and survey the surroundings. Spirit acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera, measured late atmospheric dust opacity, and scanned the calibration target and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit took a nap and awoke at 11:10 p.m. local Mars time to begin an alpha-particle X-ray study that was to last just under 12 hours.

Sol 1252 (July 12, 2007): After solar array wakeup, Spirit was slated to continue measuring atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera, acquire images of the Sun with the navigation camera, and survey the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1250 (July 10, 2007), Spirit's total odometry remained at 7,153 meters (4.44 miles).


sol 1240-1246, July 14, 2007: Spirit Encounters First Big Dust Storm of the Season

Spirit has been dealing with the first big dust storm of the season. Tau, a measure of atmospheric opacity as an indicator of how much dust is in the atmosphere, jumped significantly, with a corresponding (and dismaying) drop in power.

At the start of the week, Tau was 1.076, corresponding to 34 percent direct sunlight and 750 watt-hours of energy. (A_watt-hour is the amount of energy in one watt of power working for one hour.) By the rover's 1,245th Martian day, or sol, of exploration (July 4, 2007), Tau had jumped to 2.437, corresponding to only 8.7 percent direct sunlight and 490 watt-hours of energy. Though there was little direct sunlight, there was a fair amount of scattered light to help augment the rover's power levels.

The storm resulted in several small cleaning and "dirtying" events, some of which removed and others of which deposited dust on the solar arrays. Individual changes have been small, though overall, slightly more dust accumulated than blew away.

To a person standing on Mars, the atmosphere would look somewhat like an overcast sky on Earth, perhaps with some dusty haze. The view would be noticeably darker than normal, with gray and slightly fuzzy shadows instead of the crisp shadows of a sunny day.

Despite the lower power levels -- and the even more conservative power estimates used for activity planning -- Spirit has managed to continue to investigate the silica-rich scuff in the rover's tracks nicknamed "Eileen Dean." The rover re-acquired microscopic images to replace the first, which were out of focus, and completed an analysis with both the Mössbauer spectrometer and the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Spirit is healthy. The rover's next destination is a target known as "Innocent Bystander," where the rover is slated to conduct further scientific analysis.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1240 (June 29, 2007): Spirit measured atmospheric dust opacity using the panoramic camera, acquired photometric data looking east toward the equator with the panoramic camera, acquired panoramic camera images of the external calibration target, acquired photometric data looking north (directly) toward the equator, and acquired panoramic camera images looking west toward the equator. Spirit again measured atmospheric dust opacity using the panoramic camera, acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera, and repeated the earlier scans of equatorial atmospheric conditions and the calibration target.

Sol 1241: Spirit measured atmospheric dust opacity using the panoramic camera, acquired photometric data looking east toward the equator with the panoramic camera, acquired panoramic camera images of the external calibration target, acquired photometric data looking north (directly) toward the equator, and acquired panoramic camera images looking west toward the equator. Spirit again measured atmospheric dust opacity using the panoramic camera, acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera, and repeated the earlier scans of equatorial atmospheric conditions and the calibration target.

Sol 1242: Spirit measured atmospheric dust opacity using the panoramic camera, acquired photometric data looking east toward the equator with the panoramic camera, acquired panoramic camera images of the external calibration target, acquired photometric data looking north (directly) toward the equator, and acquired panoramic camera images looking west toward the equator. Spirit again measured atmospheric dust opacity using the panoramic camera, acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera, and repeated the earlier scans of equatorial atmospheric conditions and the calibration target.

Sol 1243: Spirit measured atmospheric dust opacity using the panoramic camera, checked for drift (changes over time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and took thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera. The rover made additional measurements of atmospheric dust opacity at different times of day using the panoramic camera, surveyed the ground and sky at different elevations using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and surveyed the sky at low sun with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1244: Upon the awakening of the rover's solar arrays, Spirit surveyed the sky and horizon with the panoramic camera, acquired movie frames with the navigation camera in search of dust devils, and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover measured atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera, checked for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, re-surveyed the sky and ground with the instrument, and acquired a 2x1x7 panorama of stereo microscopic images of Eileen Dean. Spirit changed tools to the Mössbauer spectrometer and used it to study Eileen Dean. Spirit acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of a target known as "Sorak." Spirit acquired images of the dune field known as "El Dorado" using the panoramic camera. The rover again measured atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera, scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, surveyed Sorak and a target known as "Palthon2" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired photometric measurements with the panoramic camera. The rover again measured atmospheric opacity using the panoramic camera, acquired images of the sun with the navigation camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and took more photometric measurements as well measurements of atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera. Spirit acquired a mosaic of images of the sun with the navigation camera.

Sol 1245: After solar array wakeup, Spirit measured atmospheric opacity and acquired photometric measurements with the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera. Spirit continued to measure atmospheric opacity with the panoramic camera, check for drift in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and survey the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover re-started the Mössbauer spectrometer for continued investigation of Eileen Dean, acquired full-color images of Palthon2 using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, and surveyed targets known as "Sorapus" and "Manitalia" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover continued to measure atmospheric opacity at different times of day and make photometric observations with the panoramic camera. Spirit took images of the sun with the navigation camera and surveyed the ground and sky at different elevations using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1246 (July 5, 2007): Upon awakening, Spirit measured atmospheric opacity and acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera. Spirit surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit surveyed a target known as "Naomi Meier" and checked for changes in measurements of darkness with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. In addition to collecting ongoing measurements of atmospheric opacity and surveying the surroundings with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit acquired stereo microscopic images of a target known as "Eileen_Dean2." Spirit switched tools to the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and placed it on Eileen_Dean2 before taking a nap. Upon re-awakening, the rover continued to measure atmospheric opacity and survey the surroundings. Spirit then took another nap, woke up at 11:10 p.m. local Mars time, and began a 12-hour analysis of Eileen_Dean2 using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. Plans called for the rover to stop the analysis, measure atmospheric opacity, and scan the sky and ground the following morning.

Odometry:

As of sol 1246 (July 5, 2007), Spirit's total odometry remained at 7,147.93 meters (4.44 miles).


sol 1234-1239, July 02, 2007: Spirit Independently Approaches and Studies A Rock Outcrop

Spirit remains healthy after attempting to wrap up scientific studies on an outcrop that contains several tantalizing, high-silica targets. High-silica targets are of interest to scientists because water might have been involved in forming them. Spirit still has some work to do on two targets, known as "Eileen Dean" and "Innocent Bystander," before moving on to the elevated, circular plateau known as "Home Plate."

On Spirit's 1,235th sol, or Martian day of exploration (June 24, 2007), the rover successfully completed Step 4 of a new computer sequence called "IDD Autoplace." (IDD stands for Instrument Deployment Device, the technical name for the rover's robotic arm.) During the test, Spirit drove to a pre-selected target and autonomously gathered scientific data. The sequence enables the rover to select a substitute "target of opportunity" if the pre-selected target is out of range, which is exactly what happened during the first two tests.

Over the next month, Spirit will collect data in support of future Mars rover missions by taking images of the Sun each day with the navigation camera. These images are being used to develop an alternate method for orienting the rover.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily remote science observations of the atmosphere and terrain using the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and communication activities including morning direct-from-Earth uplinks via the rover's high-gain antenna and evening downlinks at UHF frequencies via the Mars Odyssey orbiter, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1234 (June 23, 2007): Spirit acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of outcrop exposures known as "Virginia Bell," "Nancy Warren," and "Innocent Bystander." The rover acquired panoramic camera images of a target known as "Eileen Dean." Spirit surveyed several targets using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, including "Mary Dailey," "NancyWarren3," "Dolores Moore," "Louella Daetweiler," "NancyWarren_background," "MaryDailey2," and "Eileen Dean."

Sol 1235: Upon awakening, Spirit surveyed the sky with the panoramic camera. Spirit then moved slightly closer to Eileen Dean. The rover completed Step 4 of the automatic targeting test by touching a spot that was offset from the target by about 5 centimeters (2 inches) with the Mössbauer spectrometer, acquiring a 1-by-1-by-seven mosaic of microscopic images, and placing the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the spot and collecting data with the instrument. Spirit acquired navigation camera images and conducted a sky survey at low sun with the panoramic camera. Prior to the overpass of the Odyssey orbiter, the rover took images of the sky, known as "sky flats," for calibration purposes.

Sol 1236: Spirit used on-board software to watch for dust devils in addition to completing standard remote-science observations.

Sol 1237: Spirit rotated in place toward Eileen Dean, completing a final yaw, or pivot, of 42.8 degrees. Working autonomously, Spirit touched Eileen Dean with the Mössbauer spectrometer, acquired a 1-by-1-by-7 mosaic of microscopic images of the target, and completed alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer studies on the target. Spirit acquired images with the navigation camera. Spirit examined the rover's external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to verify that there was no dust contamination on the mirror as a result of recent dust-cleaning events related to Martian winds. Spirit acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of the rover's solar arrays, also to characterize changes in dust accumulation on the surface. Prior to the overpass of the Odyssey spacecraft, Spirit observed the Sun with the navigation camera in support of the Mars Science Laboratory rover scheduled for launch in 2009. The goal of these observations is to see if navigation camera images of the sun can be used to orient the rover.

Sol 1238: In the morning, Spirit monitored dust build-up on the rover's mast, surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera, and acquired movie frames with the navigation camera in search of dust devils. Spirit acquired microscopic images of the solar arrays, capture magnet, and filter magnet to document dust levels since the most recent dust-cleaning events on sols 1233 and 1234 (June 22-23, 2007). The rover acquired microscopic images of Eileen Dean and collected data on the target using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. Spirit acquired four sets of comparative measurements with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer early in the day, in the afternoon, overnight, and early the next sol. Spirit observed the Sun with the navigation camera in support of the Mars Science Laboratory rover scheduled for launch in 2009. The goal of these observations is to see if navigation camera images of the sun can be used to orient the rover.

Sol 1239 (June 28, 2007): The activities for this day were mostly a repeat of those of the previous sol, except for the four sets of measurements with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit acquired 15 hours and 23 minutes of data from Eileen Dean using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1237 (June 26, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,147.93 meters (4.44 miles).

sol 1226-1233, June 27, 2007: Spirit's Solar Power Levels Continue to Rise

Spring cleaning continued on NASA's Spirit rover, as atmospheric turbulence on Mars cleared away more dust from the solar panels on the rover's 1,233rd sol, or Martian day, of exploration (June 22, 2007). As a result of this most recent dust-clearing event, Spirit out-produced the electrical energy of Spirit's twin, the Opportunity rover on the opposite side of Mars, by about 50 watt-hours. (That's the amount of electricity needed to burn a 50-watt light bulb for one hour.) Tau measurements estimating the amount of dust in the atmosphere rose from 0.69 to 0.75. (Perfectly clean solar arrays would have a dust factor of 1.0, so the larger the dust factor, the cleaner the arrays.) Electrical energy rose to 738 watt-hours.

In addition, Spirit investigated an unbrushed rock outcrop known as "Nancy Warren," a candidate high-silica target. On sols 1226, 1227, and 1228 (June 15-17, 2007), the rover worked on a second investigation intended to study the brushed surface of the rock. Because the rover did not complete the brushing operation, Spirit ended up taking a second set of measurements that was identical to the first.

On the rover's 1,232nd sol of exploration (June 21, 2007), Spirit attempted to scuff a rock target known as "Virginia Bell" but didn't quite reach it and ended up scuffing a soil exposure about 15 centimeters (6 inches) away, creating a new target that scientists dubbed "Innocent Bystander."

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels using the panoramic camera, surveys of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and communication activities including morning direct-from-Earth uplinks via the rover's high-gain antenna and evening downlinks at UHF frequencies via the Mars Odyssey orbiter, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1226: Spirit placed the rock abrasion tool on Nancy Warren, placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the target, collected data with the instrument, and completed an overnight transmission of data to the Odyssey orbiter.

Sol 1227: Spirit acquired a mosaic of microscopic images of Nancy Warren, placed the Mössbauer spectrometer on the target, and acquired data with the instrument. The rover acquired images of the spacecraft deck with the navigation camera. Spirit conducted reconnaissance and surveyed targets known as "Patricia Courtney," "Lenora Mandella," "Barbara Rotvig," and "Pauline Crawley" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover scanned for clouds using the navigation camera and monitored dust on the rover mast.

Sol 1228: Spirit continued to study Nancy Warren using the Mössbauer spectrometer. The rover acquired a full-color panorama of light-colored wheel tracks using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. Spirit conducted reconnaissance and surveyed the tracks as well as targets known as "Shirley Crites," "Betty McKenna," and "Naomi Meier" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover completed an overnight transmission of data to the Odyssey orbiter and acquired an eastward-looking mosaic of images using the navigation camera.

Sol 1229: Spirit continued analysis of Nancy Warren using the Mössbauer spectrometer. The rover acquired images of the spacecraft deck with the panoramic camera to document the previous week's dust-cleaning event that occurred on sol 1224 (June 13, 2007). Spirit acquired movie frames with the navigation camera in search of dust devils.

Sol 1230: Spirit acquired microscopic images of the solar arrays, the dust capture magnet, and the filter magnet, along with panoramic camera images of the solar arrays, to document the dust-cleaning event of sol 1224 (June 13, 2007). The rover acquired microscopic images of undisturbed soil near the silica-rich outcrop known as Nancy Warren along with data using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. Members of the science team hope to use the data to characterize local soil that might be contaminating the outcrop.

Sol 1231: Spirit resumed measurements of Nancy Warren using the Mössbauer spectrometer. The rover surveyed targets on Nancy Warren known as "Gertrude Weise," "Naomi Meier," "Rykors," "Silian," "Sith," "Skeel," "Sompus," and "Betty Jane Comet" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1232: Spirit acquired microscopic images of a target called "Darlene Mickelson" and attempted to crush the outcrop in the vicinity of Virginia Bell by driving over it to expose more silica-rich outcrop material. The rover acquired post-drive images of the target area using the navigation camera.

Sol 1233: Spirit acquired movie frames in search of morning dust devils using the navigation camera and surveyed the post-crush target area using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1232 (June 21, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,143.87 meters (4.44 miles).


sol 1219-1225, June 18, 2007: Spirit's Solar Panels Get Spring Cleaning

Spirit got a second spring cleaning on Mars with a dust-cleaning event that increased power from the rover's solar arrays by 120 watt-hours (a 100-watt light bulb that burns for one hour uses 100 watt-hours of electricity). Spirit previously experienced dust-lifting winds in 2005. Energy from the rover's solar arrays is now higher than 600 watt-hours.

After completing scientific studies of rock exposures known as "Betty Wagoner" and "Elizabeth Emery," Spirit drove to another rock target called "Nancy Warren" to conduct studies with instruments on the rover's robotic arm, including the microscopic imager, the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, the brush on the rock abrasion tool, and the Mössbauer spectrometer. The next destination on Spirit's itinerary is the "on-ramp" of the elevated plateau-like feature known as "Home Plate."

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels using the panoramic camera, surveys of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and communication activities including morning direct-from-Earth uplinks via the rover's high-gain antenna and evening downlinks at UHF frequencies via the Mars Odyssey orbiter, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1219 (June 8, 2007): Spirit touched a rock exposure adjacent to Betty Wagoner known as "Betty Wagoner's Daughter" with the rock abrasion tool, brushed it, acquired a mosaic of microscopic images, touched the target with the Mössbauer spectrometer, and acquired more microscopic images. The rover placed the Mössbauer spectrometer back on Elizabeth Emery and collected data with the instrument, watched for dust devils, and completed an overnight relay of data to the Odyssey orbiter.

Sol 1220: Spirit acquired full-color images of the work area reachable by the robotic arm using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera and watched for morning dust devils. The rover also acquired full-color images using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera of targets known as "Melba Alspaugh," "Helen St. Aubin," and "Ruth Lessing." The rover acquired data using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer from targets known as "Melba Alspaugh2," "Betty Whiting2," "Joan Chiancola," and "Helen St. Aubin2." Spirit watched for dust devils, surveyed a target called "Jean Gilchrist" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and completed an overnight transfer of data to the Odyssey spacecraft.

Sol 1221: Spirit acquired spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera and drove toward Nancy Warren. The rover acquired image mosaics with the navigation camera and panoramic camera and completed an overnight tranmission of data to Odyssey.

Sol 1222: Spirit conducted a survey of rock clasts with the panoramic camera, scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, and acquired movie frames in search of dust devils with the navigation camera. The rover acquired systematic foreground images using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera and a systematic foreground raster with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit again watched for dust devils and acquired movie frames with the navigation camera. The rover measured atmospheric argon using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. Spirit surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera and monitored dust on the rover's mast.

Sol 1223: Spirit completed a reconnaissance study of the rover's tracks using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover surveyed Nancy Warren with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, approached Nancy Warren, and acquired post-drive image mosaics with the navigation camera. The rover completed an overnight relay of data to the Odyssey orbiter.

Sol 1224: Spirit acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera and conducted a high-sun survey with the panoramic camera. Spirit conducted reconnaissance with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and completed an overnight relay of data to the Odyssey spacecraft.

Sol 1225 (June 14, 2007): Spirit unstowed the robotic arm, acquired a mosaic of microscopic images of Nancy Warren, placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the target, and acquired data with the instrument. Spirit relayed data overnight to Odyssey.

Odometry:

As of sol 1225 (June 14, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,141.67 meters (4.44 miles).


sol 1207-1218, June 11, 2007: Spirit Studies Layered Rocks at 'Home Plate'

Having completed studies of bright, silica-rich soil deposits at a target known as "Gertrude Weise," Spirit drove to a perch on the eastern edge of the circular, plateau-like feature known as "Home Plate" and began studying its stratigraphy. Spirit will next drive back in the direction of Gertrude Weise to study another nearby outcrop. The nearby outcrop, known as "Nancy Warren," appears similar to a previously studied outcrop known as "Elizabeth Mahon" that had a silica content of approximately 72 percent, somewhat lower than the 90-percent silica measaured at Gertrude Weise.

A layer of dark soil on Elizabeth Mahon likely affected the measurement of silica content with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, which measures the abundance of chemical elements. Nancy Warren is interesting because it appears to have less of the dark soil coating than Elizabeth Mahon and could help scientists characterize the silica found at Gertrude Weise.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels using the panoramic camera, surveys of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and communication activities including morning direct-from-Earth uplinks via the rover's high-gain antenna and evening downlinks at UHF frequencies via the Mars Odyssey orbiter, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1207 (May 26, 2007): Spirit re-started the Mössbauer spectrometer and continued analysis of a rock target known as "Pesapallo," representing one of the lowest stratigraphic units of Home Plate. Spirit surveyed targets known as "Margaret Brown" and "Edythe Keating" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit acquired movie frames in search of dust devils with the navigation camera in coordination with orbital scans of the terrain by the High Resolution Science Imaging Experiment on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The rover acquired an image mosaic of a target called "Bullpen2" using the panoramic camera and searched for clouds using the navigation camera.

Sol 1208: Spirit acquired data from targets known as "Mary Reynolds" and "Eleanor Callow" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and re-started analysis of Pesapallo using the Mössbauer spectrometer. The rover completed an overnight relay of data to the Odyssey orbiter and acquired an image mosaic of a target called "Bullpen3" with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1209: Spirit used the rock abrasion tool to brush the surface of "Superpesis," a rock target on another fin-shaped outcrop of Home Plate, acquired stereo microscopic images of the target, and analyzed the target with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. Spirit acquired movie frames in search of dust devils using the navigation camera.

Sol 1210: Spirit stowed the robotic arm, bumped backward, and acquired full-color images of Pesapallo using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. Spirit drove 3 meters (10 feet) to a rock target known as "June Emerson," acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera, and took spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1211: Spirit unstowed the robotic arm, brushed the surface of June Emerson with the rock abrasion tool, acquired microscopic images of June Emerson, and placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the target. The rover surveyed additional targets known as "Dorothy Cameron" and "Adeline Kerrar" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit then acquired data from June Emerson using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover completed an overnight relay of data to the Odyssey orbiter, acquired full-color images of Dorothy Cameron using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, and scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera.

Sol 1212: Spirit acquired microscopic images of rock targets called "Dorothy Key" and "Betty Foss." The rover placed the Mössbauer spectrometer on June Emerson and collected data. Spirit used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to study rock targets known as "Helen Staubin" and "Dorothy Chapman" and completed an overnight relay of data to the Odyssey orbiter. Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of the solar array to monitor dust accumulation.

Sol 1213: Spirit acquired more data from June Emerson using the Mössbauer spectrometer and acquired data using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer from Pesapallo and targets known as "Joan Chiancola," "Jaynie Krick," and "Jean Gilchrist." Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of the rover's tracks and full-color images using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera of Jean Gilchrist and Jaynie Krick. The rover completed an overnight relay of data to the Odyssey orbiter and watched for dust devils.

Sol 1214: Spirit continued to acquire data from June Emerson using the Mössbauer spectrometer. Using the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, the rover acquired full-color images and thermal data to characterize rock targets known as "Irene Kotowicz," "Audrey Seitzinger," "Lucille Colacio," and "Mary Kustra." Spirit watched for dust devils and completed an overnight relay of information to the Odyssey orbiter. Spirit stowed the robotic arm and acquired full-color images of the reachable work volume using the panoramic camera. The rover took spot images of the sky using the panoramic camera and conducted reconnaissance using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1215: Spirit drove 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) to a finely crossbedded rock target dubbed "Elizabeth Emery" and acquired post-drive navigation camera images. The rover watched for dust devils, relayed data overnight to the Odyssey spacecraft, surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera, and did reconnaissance using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1216: Spirit unstowed the robotic arm and conducted a study of Elizabeth Emery with the brush on the rock abrasion tool, the microscopic imager, and the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer. The rover surveyed targets known as "Clara Cook" and "Ruth Lessing" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, relayed data overnight to the Odyssey orbiter, and acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1217: Spirit brushed a finely crossbedded rock target known as "Jane Stoll" using the rock abrasion tool and took microscopic images of the brushed target. The rover placed the Mössbauer spectrometer back on Elizabeth Emery and collected more data. Spirit acquired full-color, 13-filter images of Dorothy Chapman with the panoramic camera and data from Jaynie Krick using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover completed an overnight relay to the Odyssey spacecraft.

Sol 1218 (June 7, 2007): Spirit acquired early-morning panoramic camera images and movie frames in search of dust devils. The rover used the rock abrasion tool to brush the surface of rock targets called "Mildred Deegan" and "Betty Wagoner" and took microscopic images of the brushed surfaces. Spirit surveyed Irene Kotowicz with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, completed an overnight relay of data to the Odyssey orbiter, searched for clouds using the navigation camera, and acquired images of a target known as "Donna Cook" with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1218 (June 7, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,124.92 meters (4.43 miles).


sol 1200-1206, May 31, 2007: Remarkable Rover Continues to Astonish

Spirit is still making new discoveries despite dragging its feet, so to speak, after losing use of the right front wheel 426 sols, or Martian days, ago. In the process of creating small trenches while traversing Martian terrain, the dragging right front wheel revealed one of the most astonishing discoveries so far -- exceptionally high silica content in Martian soil, indicative of water at some point in the past. Two of Spirit's scientific instruments -- the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer -- measured a composition of about 90 percent pure silica in a soil target known as "Gertrude Weise."

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels using the panoramic camera and surveys of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1200 (May 19, 2007): Spirit started a 23.25-hour study with the Mössbauer spectrometer and surveyed the rover's tracks as well as targets known as "Josephine Kabick," "Nalda Phillips1," "Nalda Phillips2," "Marilyn Olinger," and "Eileen Burmeister" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1201: Spirit watched for morning dust devils, stowed the robotic arm, and bumped backward in 60-centimeter (24-inch) "steps," or intervals. After each step, Spirit scuffed the soil with the left front wheel by rotating the wheel 180 degrees. The rover did this for a distance of 4.19 meters (13.8 feet). After the drive, Spirit acquired images of the scuffed terrain and the terrain ahead with the navigation camera.

Sol 1202: Spirit completed a survey at high sun using the panoramic camera. Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of the scuffed area and surveyed Gertrude Weise with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover searched for dust devils by acquiring navigation camera movies in coordination with overhead observations by the High Resolution Science Imaging Experiment on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Sol 1203: Spirit monitored dust on the rover mast and watched for dust devils in the morning. Spirit acquired navigation camera images before driving 6.68 meters (21.9 feet) around obstacles en route to "Home Plate." After the drive, Spirit acquired images with the hazard avoidance cameras and navigation camera.

Sol 1204: Spirit spent the first part of the sol analyzing the rover's external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, searching for clouds with the navigation camera, and acquiring movies in search of dust devils with the navigation camera. The rover then acquired image mosaics of the dune field known as "El Dorado" with the panoramic camera in addition to systematic foreground data with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit acquired navigation camera images, searched again for dust devils, and acquired more panoramic camera images.

Sol 1205: Spirit completed a systematic ground survey with the panoramic camera, unstowed the robotic arm, brushed the surface of a target known as "Pesapallo," acquired stereo microscopic images of the surface, then placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on it. Spirit acquired data with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer for 18.75 hours.

Sol 1206 (May 25, 2007): Spirit searched for morning dust devils, retracted the robotic arm, and placed the Mössbauer spectrometer on Pesapallo. The rover acquired Mössbauer spectrometer data for 23 hours. Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a target known as "Bullpen" and miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from a target known as "Joyce Steel." The following morning, Spirit was scheduled to conduct a survey of the horizon with the panoramic camera in addition to studies with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1204 (May 23, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,120.34 meters (4.42 miles).


sol 1193-1199, May 24, 2007: Spirit Continues Soil Analysis

Spirit is healthy and spent the last week studying light and dark soil in and around the rover's tracks between "Home Plate" and "Mitcheltree Ridge." Spirit collected additional soil data, including about 24 hours of data using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and 70 hours of data using the Mössbauer spectrometer. The primary soil targets examined during the week are known as "Kenosha Comets" and "Lefty Ganote."

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels using the panoramic camera and surveys of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1193 (May 12, 2007): Spirit acquired alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer data from Kenosha Comets, miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from a target called "Alice Blaski," and panoramic camera images of Alice Blaski and another target known as "Mantalia." Following those tasks, Spirit napped until 11 p.m. local Mars time. Spirit then conducted a 12-hour analysis of Kenosha Comets using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1194: Spirit started the day with acquisition of full-color images of light-colored tracks using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover acquired thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera. Spirit replaced the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer with the Mössbauer spectrometer and acquired 23.3 hours of Mössbauer data from Kenosha Comets. The rover studied a target known as "Palthon" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and took thumbnail images of the Martian sky with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1195: Spirit acquired another 23.3 hours worth of Mössbauer data from Kenosha Comets as well as a movie in search of dust devils using the navigation camera. The rover studied Mantalia and another target known as "Orluk" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1196: Spirit's first task of the day was to complete a sky survey using the panoramic camera. The rover stowed the robotic arm, drove backward 0.85 meters (2.8 feet), and autonomously put the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer in position for further studies. Spirit acquired hazardous avoidance camera images prior to and after stopping and acquired navigation camera images of the terrain. Starting at 11 p.m. local Mars time, Spirit conducted an 11-hour study of the Martian atmosphere using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1197: Spirit began the day by searching the Martian sky for clouds using the navigation camera and surveying the horizon with the panoramic camera. Spirit acquired full-color, 13-filter images of "Gertrude Weise background 3" using the panoramic camera. The rover surveyed Kenosha Comets and targets known as "Gertrude Weise background 2," "Kay Blumetta," and Gertrude Weise background 3 using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1198: In the morning, Spirit acquired full-color images of Kenosha Comets using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover acquired a 360-degree panorama using the navigation camera. Spirit unstowed the robotic arm, acquired microscopic images of Lefty Ganote, and placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on Lefty Ganote. Spirit surveyed a target known as "Audrey Wagner," Kenosha Comets, and two targets in the rover's tracks known as "Tracks No. 1" and "Tracks No. 2" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover completed a sky survey at low sun with the panoramic camera. After napping, Spirit awoke at 11 p.m. local Mars time and conducted an overnight study using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer that lasted 11 hours and 52 minutes.

Sol 1199 (May 18, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to begin the day with a search for dust devils using the navigation camera and a survey of a target called "Margaret Jones" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. After that, the rover was to place the Mössbauer spectrometer on Lefty Ganote and conduct a 23 1/4 - hour analysis, acquire full-color images of targets called "Ethel Boyce" and "Joanne Weaver" using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, and conduct another search for dust devils the following morning by collecting movie frames with the navigation camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1198 (May 17, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,109.47 meters (4.42 miles).


sol 1186-1192, May 14, 2007: Spirit Continues Studies of Interesting Material Near 'Home Plate'

Spirit is healthy and has finished investigating a patch of churned-up, white-toned, silica-rich material known as "Gertrude Weise."

Meanwhile, the rover's first attempt to autonomously place the Mössbauer spectrometer on a target was successful. Spirit backed up over Gertrude Weise to a spot 2 meters (6.6 feet) beyond it and placed the Mössbauer spectrometer on the target. Spirit did not immediately follow up with placement of the microscopic imager on the target to avoid potential collisions.

Plans called for Spirit to coordinate searching for dust devils on the ground with overhead scans of terrain by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on sol 1191 (May 10, 2007). Also on sol 1191, the rover was to combine searching for dust devils with searching for clouds. This activity was meant as a stress test, as Spirit has already successfully completed such searches independently.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera and surveys of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit conducted the following activities:

Sol 1186 (May 5, 2007): Spirit acquired full-color, 13-filter images of a target called "Kathryn Beare" using the panoramic camera and studied Kathryn Beare and targets known as "GertrudeWeise2" and "Janice Ohara" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1187: Spirit acquired full-color, 13-filter images of Gertrude Weise, drove 5 meters (16 feet) to approach the soil target, and autonomously placed the Mössbauer spectrometer on target. The rover acquired a 360-degree panorama of the terrain using the navigation camera and also acquired a mosaic of images using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1188: Spirit took thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera before spending the afternoon recharging the battery with energy from the rover's solar array.

Sol 1189: Spirit acquired movies and searched for dust devils using the navigation camera and touched a surface with the Mössbauer spectrometer. Spirit then began analysis of a target called "Kenosha Comets," collecting microscopic images and placing the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the target. The rover acquired data from targets known as "Virginia Bell" and "Nancy Warren" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. After exchanging data with the Odyssey orbiter, Spirit conducted a 12-hour, overnight analysis of Kenosha Comets using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1190: Spirit began the day acquiring a full-color, 13-filter panorama of Virginia Bell using the panoramic camera. The rover switched tools from the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer to the Mössbauer spectrometer for continued study of Kenosha Comets. The rover acquired data from a target known as "Thelma Hundeby" before conducting a 23-hour, overnight study of Kenosha Comets with the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 1191: Plans called for Spirit to acquire panoramic-camera movies in search of dust devils in tandem with overhead scans of terrain by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Plans also called for the rover to search for clouds, study Gertrude Weise with the Mössbauer spectrometer, and acquire full-color, 13-filter images of a target known as "Muriel Bevis" and of the horizon with the sun halfway below it.

Sol 1192 (May 11, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to stop the Mössbauer spectrometer, survey the rover's calibration target and tracks with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, conduct a low-sun survey, analyze Gertrude Weise and another target known as "Elizabeth Mahon" with the Mössbauer spectrometer, and survey Muriel Bevis using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover was to acquire panoramic camera images of the calibration target and conduct a low-sun survey of "McCool Hill." The following morning, Spirit was to acquire thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera and survey a target known as "Marie Wegman" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1187 (May 6, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,108.60 meters (4.42 miles).


sol 1179-1185, May 6, 2007: Spirit Examined Light--Colored Material Near 'Home Plate'

Spirit is healthy and has completed its investigation of a knobby rock target known as "GoodQuestion."

Next on Spirit's itinerary is a drive to the north and an attempt to climb onto "Home Plate." On the way, Spirit will examine white--toned material where one of the rover's wheels disturbed the soil. Observations using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer suggest it may be enriched in silica, similar to the "Elizabeth Mahon" rock outcrop the rover studied last week. Science team members have nicknamed the soil target "Gertrude Weise."

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels and surveys of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit conducted the following activities:

Sol 1179 (April 28, 2007): Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of targets known as "Gooli" and "Joyce Ricketts," surveyed Gooli and a target known as "Yolande Schick" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and studied GoodQuestion using the alpha--particle X--ray spectrometer.

Sol 1180: Spirit surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera, watched for dust devils, studied GoodQuestion with the Mössbauer spectrometer, and acquired panoramic camera images of GoodQuestion. The rover also surveyed a target known as "Joan Sindelar."

Sol 1181: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a target known as "Everett" and studied GoodQuestion using the Mössbauer spectrometer. The rover acquired panoramic camera images of a target called "Yolanda Schick."

Sol 1182: Spirit recorded a movie in search of dust devils using the navigation camera and studied light--toned soil using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit drove 1.9 meters (6.2 feet) to the new science target, Gertrude Weise. The rover acquired mid--drive images with the navigation camera in support of observations of GoodQuestion with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, then made those same observations. After the drive, the rover acquired more images with both the navigation and panoramic cameras.

Sol 1183: Spirit monitored dust on the rover mast, surveyed Gertrude Weise with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired full--color images of GoodQuestion using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. Spirit acquired super--resolution images of a target known as "Fern Shollenberger" with the panoramic camera. The rover studied targets nicknamed "Philomena Zale," "Alma Ziegler," and "Ruth Heverly" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1184: Spirit watched for dust devils in the morning and checked for drift (changes over time) in the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit drove 6.7 meters (22 feet) to a target called "White Soil." The rover acquired post--drive images with both the navigation camera and the panoramic camera.

Sol 1185 (May 4, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to watch for dust devils in the morning and complete a systematic foreground study with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover was also to acquire navigation camera images in support of observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, conduct a study of atmospheric argon using the alpha--particle X--ray spectrometer, and watch for dust devils and take panoramic images of the sky the next morning.

Odometry:

As of sol 1184 (May 3, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,103 meters (4.4 miles).


sol 1172-1178, May 1, 2007: Spirit Discovers Changes in Soil Near 'Home Plate'

Spirit remains healthy after completing scientific investigation of a light-toned soil patch nicknamed "Everett." Everett is interesting because scientists thought it would be rich in sulfur like other soil exposures they've investigated. Instead, it turned out to be low in sulfur and ultramafic in composition -- made of iron- and magnesium-rich silicate, a chemistry often associated with volcanic rocks. Everett appears to be different from other materials the rover has encountered around "Home Plate."

On sol 1175 (April 23, 2007), Spirit bumped back approximately 60 centimeters (24 inches) to position the robotic arm for analysis of some light-toned nodules called "Slide." Scientists were hoping Slide would be high in silica, but after the investigation discovered that it looked like a still cleaner version of "Everett." The rover is now working on a scientific analysis of a new target known as "Good Question."

Spirit surveyed rocks known as "Charlene Barnett," "Fern Battaglia," and "Joyce Ricketts" as well as an area above a landslide on "Husband Hill" known as "Headscarp" and a vesicular basalt known as "Dorothy Wind."

Spirit completed work on a big-picture mosaic of the Home Plate area called the "Ballpark Panorama."

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels and surveys of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit conducted the following activities:

Sol 1172 (April 20, 2007): Spirit acquired microscopic images of Everett, acquired columns 8 and 9 of the Ballpark Panorama with the panoramic camera, surveyed Charlene Barnett with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and studied Everett with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1173: Spirit studied Everett using the Mössbauer spectrometer and acquired columns 10 and 11 of the Ballpark Panorama.

Sol 1174: In the morning, Spirit searched for clouds using the navigation camera. The rover then resumed Mössbauer analysis of Everett, acquired column 12 of the Ballpark Panorama, and surveyed Fern Battaglia with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1175: Spirit took panoramic images of the sky and crushed surface nodules and acquired movies in search of dust devils using the navigation camera. Spirit then stowed the robotic arm, rolled backward slightly to be able to reach Slide, acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera, and acquired panoramic camera images of the drive ahead.

Sol 1176: Spirit acquired movies in search of dust devils using the navigation camera, acquired panoramic camera images of the sky, stowed the robotic arm, acquired microscopic images of Slide, brushed the surface of Slide with the rock abrasion tool, and acquired microscopic images of the newly brushed surface. The rover studied Slide with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and surveyed Dorothy Wind using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1177: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of Everett, searched for dust devils, and studied Slide with the Mössbauer spectrometer.

Sol 1178 (April 27, 2007): In the morning, Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of the "El Dorado" dune field, a landslide area on "Husband Hill" known as "Landslide," and the horizon. The rover continued to study Slide using the Mössbauer spectrometer, acquired panoramic camera images of Dorothy Wind, and acquired data from Joyce Ricketts using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover prepared to acquire microscopic images and alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer data from Good Question the following morning.

Odometry:

As of sol 1177 (April 26, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,095 meters (4.4 miles).


sol 1164-1171, April 23, 2007: Spirit Continues Studies of Rocks Near 'Home Plate'

After a few attempts, Spirit finally made it to the outcrop called "Madeline English," where the rover is performing scientific studies. Madeline English is interesting because of the apparent presence of clasts -- rock fragments -- in the outcrop. Scientists are interested in determining whether the clasts have a different composition from surrounding material. If it is different, it would be one factor supporting the hypothesis that Madeline English is one of the lowest stratigraphic layers in the region.

Spirit also performed a remote sensing campaign on rocks nicknamed "Elise Harney," "Carol Habben," "Senaida Wirth," "Charlene Barnett," "Alice Haylett," and "Clara Zaph." These and other rock targets are currently being named after deceased members of the All-American Girls Profession Baseball League.

Another rock known as "Elizabeth Mahon" is interesting because it has the highest silica level of any rock analyzed on Mars. Processes that elevate the silica content in a rock generally involve liquid water.

Spirit also began began acquiring a large mosaic, known as the "Ballpark Panorama," of images of the "Home Plate" area using the panoramic camera.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels and surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit conducted the following activities:

Sol 1164 (April 12, 2007): Spirit made a second attempt to bump into position next to Madeline English and acquired end-of-drive nagivation camera images.

Sol 1165: Spirit started the day by acquiring panoramic camera images of Carol Habben, then acquired panoramic camera images of Elise Harney.

Sol 1166: Spirit watched for dust devils in the morning and then attempted for a third time to bump into position next to Madeline English. The rover acquired end-of-drive images using the navigation camera.

Sol 1167: Spirit acquired early morning images of Elise Harney with the panoramic camera, then acquired panoramic camera images of Carol Habben. The rover surveyed Senaida Wirth, Charlene Barnett, and Alice Haylett with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1168: Spirit searched for dust devils in the morning, then unstowed the robotic arm and acquired microscopic images of a particular exposure of Madeline English known as "Belles." The rover surveyed Clara Zaph with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and studied Belles using the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1169: Spirit scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera and acquired data from Belles using the Mössbauer spectrometer. The rover acquired panoramic camera images of Home Plate.

Sol 1170: Spirit acquired panoramic images of the sky and watched for dust devils. Spirit then restarted the Mössbauer spectrometer for continued analysis of Belles before beginning work on the Ballpark Panorama.

Sol 1171 (April 19, 2007): Spirit scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera and acquired microscopic images of rock targets known as "Peaches" and "BlueSox" in addition to Madeline English, along with a light-colored soil target known as "Everett." The rover continued work on the Ballpark Panorama and prepared to start work the following day on a survey of white material in the rover's tracks using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1169 (April 17, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,093 meters (4.4 miles).


sol 1159-1163, April 13, 2007: Spirit Continues Studies En Route to 'Home Plate'

Spirit is healthy and has completed a campaign of scientific studies of a rock outcrop known as "Elizabeth Mahon," on the edge of "Home Plate." Spirit is now en route to another outcrop nicknamed "Madeline English." The route involves driving backward, turning around, backing up, parking in parallel between two sizable rocks flanking the target, pivoting clockwise on the stuck right front wheel, and finally "crabbing" forward to the target. Spirit performs crabbing by steering the two rear wheels toward the stuck right front wheel, thus opposing resistance from the right front wheel and keeping yawing (swinging from side to side) to a minimum.

Spirit executed the "parallel parking" portion of the trip on the rover's 1,162nd Martian day, or sol, of exploration (April 10, 2007). The final "crab" portion was planned for sol 1164 (April 12, 2007). After the investigation of Madeline English, plans called for the rover to head north to one of several possible "on-ramps" for driving onto Home Plate.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels and surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit conducted the following activities:

Sol 1159 (April 7, 2007): Spirit acquired data from Elizabeth Mahon using the Mössbauer spectrometer, acquired panoramic camera images of a target known as "Tars Tarkas," and studied a rock known as "Johanna Hargraves" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1160: Spirit acquired full-color images using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera of Elizabeth Mahon before driving south and taking a mosaic of navigation camera images.

Sol 1161: Spirit acquired a survey of rock clasts using the panoramic camera, a survey at high sun with the panoramic camera, data using the Mössbauer spectrometer from a target known as "Muriel Coben" and a rock called "Elise Harney," and data on atmospheric density of argon gas using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1162: Spirit drove north toward Madeline English and acquired a mosaic of navigation camera images.

Sol 1163: Spirit watched for dust devils using the WATCH computer program, acquired full-color images of Madeline English using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, studied a rock exposure known as "Phyllis Wise 2" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired full-color panoramic camera images of the rock known as "Phyllis Wise."

Odometry:

As of sol 1162 (April 10, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,092.29 meters (4.41 miles).


sol 1152-1158, April 10, 2007: Spirit Studies Rocks En Route to "Home Plate"

Spirit is healthy and performing scientific studies of an outcrop of light-toned clasts and cobbles nicknamed "Elizabeth Mahon" on the edge of "Home Plate" as well as a pockmarked rock outcrop nicknamed "Madeline English."

To get around obstacles and make progress over rough terrain using only five wheels, Spirit drove backward a few meters, pivoted around the front wheel, drove backward another few meters, pivoted again to face Madeline English, and finally pushed forward to reach the rock with scientific instruments on the robotic arm.

After investigating Madeline English, the rover will head back north to one of several possible "on-ramps" for driving onto Home Plate.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels and surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit conducted the following activities:

Sol 1152 (March 31, 2007): Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a rock exposure known as "Clara Zaph" in addition to miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from "Clara Zaph 1," "Clara Zaph 2," and "Clara Zaph 3." The rover surveyed the sky and ground and targets known as "Rita Briggs" and "Twila Shively" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and completed a survey with the sun low in the sky using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1153: Spirit turned southeast and drove backward 4 meters over the target Elizabeth Mahon to place it within the work volume of the rover's scientific instruments. Spirit acquired post-drive images using the navigation camera and relayed data to the Odyssey orbiter overnight.

Sol 1154: Spirit acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera and measured argon using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1155: Spirit unstowed the robotic arm, placed the Mössbauer spectrometer on Elizabeth Mahon, and acquired data overnight. The rover acquired a mosaic of panoramic camera images facing the drive direction and relayed data to Odyssey overnight.

Sol 1156: Spirit continued to acquire overnight data from Elizabeth Mahon using the Mössbauer spectrometer. Spirit acquired full-color images using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera of a target known as "Madeline English 2." The rover acquired miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from Madeline English 2 and targets known as "Betty Hill" and "Madeline English 3."

Sol 1157: Spirit changed tools from the Mössbauer spectrometer to the microscopic imager and acquired a mosaic of microscopic images of Elizabeth Mahon. The rover placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the target and collected data overnight while also relaying relayed data to the Odyssey orbiter. Spirit scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera and acquired full-color images of white soil using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 1158 (April 6, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to acquire overnight data using the Mössbauer spectrometer, panoramic camera images of Madeline English, and miniature thermal emission spectrometer data on targets known as "Noreen Arnold," "Carol Habben," and "Phyllis Wise."

Odometry:

As of sol 1153 (April 1, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,077.10 meters (4.40 miles).


sol 1145-1151, April 03, 2007: Spirit Begins to Look for Best Access to 'Home Plate'

Spirit is healthy and has finished her science campaign at "Mitcheltree Ridge." The rover is now heading south along the outside edge of "Home Plate" toward an outcrop named "Madeline English." After the investigation of Madeline English the rover will head back north to one of several possible "on-ramps" for making its way onto Home Plate. In the early morning of sol 1151 Spirit will perform its first overnight communications relay with Mars Odyssey since before winter (sol 846)!

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to specific daily activities, Spirit's conducted routine atmospheric observations, which include: panoramic camera tau measurements, miniature thermal emission spectrometer sky and ground stares, and panoramic camera sky spots.

Sol 1145 (March 24, 2007): On this sol, the rover continued Mössbauer spectrometer observations on targets "Torquas 2," and completed Mini-TES stares on "Throxus," "Arbok," "Malagor," "Glorestra," "Syl" and "Polodona." Spirit also began a panoramic camera image of Mitcheltree Ridge (North).

Sol 1146: Spirit took a microscopic stereo image of target "John Carter" and completed miniature thermal emission spectrometer stares on targets "Forandus," "Iss" and "Thavas." The rover took an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer reading on John Carter and continued its panoramic camera image of Mitcheltree Ridge (North).

Sol 1147: Spirit captured a navigation camera dust devil sequence and continued on dust devil watch. The rover also began a panoramic camera 13-Filter of Mitcheltree Ridge. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer was used to stare at targets "Darseen" and "Faget." The rover also conducted some panoramic camera photometry experiments.

Sol 1148: The rover stowed its instrument deployment device ("arm"), drove towards Home Plate and then conducted post-drive navigation and panoramic camera imaging. The panoramic camera captured sky thumbnails and the navigation camera shot another dust devil sequence.

Sol 1149: On this sol, the panoramic camera conducted a high sun survey. The rover also took a miniature thermal emission spectrometer 5-point sky & ground stare and a navigation camera dust devil sequence.

Sol 1150: Spirit used its panoramic camera to image nearby outcrop, then drove 8 meters (26 feet) south-southeast toward Madeline English. After the drive, the navigation camera and the panoramic cameras took images.

Sol 1151: Overnight, there was an Odyssey data relay. The panoramic camera conducted a clast survey (looking at rock fragments) and then monitored for dust.

Odometry:

As of sol 1150, Spirit's total odometry was 7,066 meters (4.39 miles).


sol 1141-1144, March 23, 2007: Spirit Studies Rocks in Vicinity of "Home Plate"

Spirit remains healthy and spent much of the week studying a new rock target on "Mitcheltree Ridge" called "Torquas." Scientists are trying to understand what relationship Mitcheltree Ridge has to "Home Plate" -- for example, whether it is an extension of Home Plate or an entirely different rock layer, and whether it has similar composition or morphology.

Torquas is nicknamed after a dried-up seabed covered with moss in the Barsoom science fiction saga by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations of atmospheric dust levels and surveys of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit conducted the following activities:

Sol 1141 (March 20, 2007): Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of Torquas, nudged closer to the outcrop, took post-drive images with the navigation camera, acquired images of the sky with the panoramic camera, and watched for dust devils.

Sol 1142: This was a runout sol, or Martian day, meaning the rover completed pre-loaded activities resulting from an only partially successful uplink of new instructions. The uplink was only partially successful because the rover's best-lock frequency was out of range. Runout activities included monitoring atmospheric dust, measuring light looking east and west, imaging the calibration target, and taking thumbnail images of the sky.

Sol 1143: Spirit acquired a 360-degree panorama of images with the navigation camera, stereo microscopic images of Torquas prior to brushing the surface with the rock abrasion tool, and more stereo images after brushing the rock. The rover placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the rock and then collected data using the instrument.

Sol 1144 (March 23, 2007): Spirit's first planned task was to acquire panoramic images of Mitcheltree Ridge. Other planned activities included studies of Torquas using the Mössbauer spectrometer, surveys of layered outcrops known as "Zanor," "Banth," "Okar," and "Dor" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and photometric measurements using the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1142 (March 21, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,046 meters (4.38 miles).


sol 1132-1140, March 20, 2007: Spirit Loses, Re-Establishes Contact with Orbiter

Spirit is healthy but had to sit out a Martian day waiting to send data to Earth while the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was in safe mode. Both the rover and the orbiter share the same X-band frequency with Earth and must coordinate communications. Ultimately, Spirit sent data to Earth while the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was on the other side of Mars, out of reach of Earth.

Spirit drove 21.26 meters (69.75 feet) on the rover's 1,132nd and 1,136th sols, or Martian days, of exploration (March 10 and March 14, 2007), en route to rock targets on "Mitcheltree Ridge."

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1132 (March 10, 2007): Spirit touched a soil target with the Mössbauer spectrometer, acquired microscopic images, and surveyed the sky and ground as well as a vesicular basalt known as "Faye Dancer" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover drove 10.2 meters (33.5 feet), took images with the hazard avoidance and panoramic cameras, and acquired a 360-degree mosaic with the navigation camera.

Sol 1133: Spirit began the day by imaging the sky with the panoramic camera. The rover then pointed the navigation camera at the surrounding terrain and acquired a movie in search of dust devils. Spirit surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and monitored dust on the rover mast.

Sol 1134: Spirit searched for dust devils in the morning and spent much of the day engaged in remote targeted sensing. Spirit acquired full-color images of a knob known as "Pitchers Mound" using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover acquired images of an outcrop known as "Backstop" and conducted a survey of rock clasts using the panoramic camera. Spirit acquired data on targets known as "Shirley Jameson," "Connie Wisniewski," "Margaret Stephani," and "Tjanath" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover monitored atmospheric dust using the panoramic camera and surveyed the sky and ground as well as targets known as "Phundahl" and "Panar" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1135: Spirit began the day by examining scattered light and searching for dust devils with the navigation camera. The rover surveyed targets known as "Ptarth" and "Thark," a large slab of rock called "Torquas," and the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1136: Spirit's first task of the day was surveying the rover's calibration target and a target known as "Toonal" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit then drove 11.06 meters (36.29 feet) toward an outlying outcrop associated with "Home Plate" (called "outlier 2") and acquired post-drive images using the hazard avoidance and navigation cameras. The rover surveyed the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1137: In the morning, Spirit acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera and acquired a movie in search of dust devils using the navigation camera. When Spirit did not receive the next day's instructions as a result of being unable to establish a link with Earth while the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was in safe mode, the rover instead executed "runout" science activities for the first time in 321 sols. The pre-loaded runout activities included monitoring atmospheric dust, measuring light looking east and west, imaging the calibration target, and taking thumbnail images of the sky.

Sol 1138 (March 9, 2007): Spirit acquired full-color images of targets known as "Ompt" and "Shador" using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The rover studied Ompt, Shador, and additional targets known as "Zor" and "Zodanga" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit monitored atmospheric dust using the panoramic camera and conducted an argon experiment using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1139: Spirit's first activities of the day included acquiring full-color images of Zodanga and Zor using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera and searching for clouds using the navigation camera. Spirit acquired hazard avoidance camera images and navigation camera images of potential scientific targets as well as a 360-degree view of the rover's surroundings using the navigation camera. Spirit monitored atmospheric dust using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1140 (March 19, 2007): Spirit took snapshots of the sky using the panoramic camera and acquired a dust devil movie using the navigation camera. The rover measured atmospheric dust, scanned the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and looked for clouds using the navigation camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1136 (March 14, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,033.61 meters (4.37 miles).


sol 1125-1131, March 12, 2007: Spirit Studies "Home Plate" from the West

Spirit is healthy after wrapping up a week of remote sensing observations on the west side of the elevated circular plateau known as "Home Plate."

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1125 (March 3, 2007): Spirit took images of darkness, when the panoramic camera is exposed to no light, for calibration purposes. Spirit acquired microscopic images of the dust capture and filter magnets and surveyed several targets known as "Lothar," "Manator," "Morbus," "Ombra," "Otz Valley," and "Pankor" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover monitored atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera, surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and searched for clouds using the navigation camera.

Sol 1126: Spirit's first task of the day was acquiring panoramic camera images of the dune field known as "El Dorado." The rover then drove 3.5 meters toward "Home Plate," acquired images using the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras and navigation camera, and monitored atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera. The rover scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1127: The first thing in the morning, Spirit scanned the sky for clouds using the navigation camera. The rover surveyed the sky at high sun using the panoramic camera. Spirit scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1128: Spirit started the day by looking for Martian dust devils with the navigation camera. The rover re-acquired images with the front hazard avoidance camera and tested the switch on the contact plate of the Mössbauer spectrometer by touching the filter magnet with the instrument. Spirit acquired navigation camera images and a panoramic camera mosaic of Home Plate. Spirit acquired remote sensing data from targets known as "Irene Hickson," "Joanne Winter," "Bette Trezza," and "Carolyn Morris." The rover surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and measured atmospheric dust levels with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1129: Spirit started the day by looking for morning clouds. The rover conducted a survey using the panoramic camera at high sun. Spirit scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and used the same instrument to acquire remote sensing data from targets known as "Anna Mae Hutchison," "Faye Dancer," "Dorothy Hunter," and "Velma Abbott."

Sol 1130: Spirit searched for morning clouds with the navigation camera and acquired images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of Home Plate. The rover also acquired data from targets known as "Fredda Acker" and "Jean Gilchrist" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover took calibration images of darkness and monitored atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera. Spirit acquired data from a target known as "Betty Warfel" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1131 (March 9, 2007): Spirit took images of the sky with the panoramic camera and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover acquired miniature thermal emission spectrometer data and panoramic camera images of a target known as "Evelyn Adams." Spirit took full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of a target called "Joanne Winter." The rover acquired miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from targets known as "Bethany Goldsmith," "Betty Whiting," and "Melba Alspaugh." Spirit took panoramic camera images and prepared to spend the next morning acquiring two movies in search of dust devils using the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1130 (March 8, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,012.34 meters (4.36 miles).


sol 1118-1124, March 08, 2007: Spirit Studies Rock Outcrops, Drives Near 'Home Plate'

Spirit is healthy and making progress on the return trip to "Home Plate." The rover headed north along Home Plate to fill in gaps in imagery left behind when Spirit rushed to find a winter haven.

Use of the rover's robotic arm remains on hold until more diagnostics can be performed.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric opacity caused by dust with the panoramic camera, scanning the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and taking reference images of the sky, Spirit conducted the following activities:

Sol 1118 (Feb. 24, 2007): Spirit took panoramic camera images of rock outcrops "Dorothy Kamenshek" and "Olive Little" as well as Home Plate. The rover surveyed Olive Little and targets known as "Kamtol" and "Korvas" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1119: Spirit drove 7.94 meters (26.1 feet) toward Home Plate, took navigation camera images after the drive, acquired navigation camera movies in search of dust devils, and monitored atmospheric dust.

Sol 1120: Spirit searched for clouds using the WATCH computer sequence.

Sol 1121: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of Home Plate, drove 14.24 meters (46.72) feet, acquired post-drive navigation camera images, surveyed the horizon with the panoramic camera, and searched for clouds using the WATCH computer sequence.

Sol 1122: Spirit measured atmospheric argon using the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and monitored atmospheric dust.

Sol 1123: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of Home Plate, surveyed a target known as "Madeline English" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, drove 7.95 meters (26.1 feet) toward Home Plate, and acquired post-drive images, including looking toward the rear, with the navigation camera.

Sol 1124 (March 2, 2007): Spirit completed a survey of rock clasts using the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1123 (March 1, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7007.84 meters (4.35 miles).


sol 1113-1117, February 23, 2007: Spirit Continues Driving While Engineers Check Robotic Arm

Spirit is healthy and making progress on the return trek to "Home Plate." Rover handlers have put use of the robotic arm on hold in order to run diagnostic tests of apparent positioning errors in the placement of instruments on the arm. Meanwhile, Spirit continues driving, searching for dust devils and clouds using WATCH computer commands, and acquiring other remote sensing data.

Sol-by-sol summary

In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric opacity caused by dust with the panoramic camera, scanning the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and taking reference images of the sky, Spirit conducted the following activities:

Sol 1113 (Feb. 19, 2007): Spirit acquired full-color images, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of a knobby rock known as "Fabien" and targets known as "Kadabra" and "Kaol."

Sol 1114: Spirit rolled slightly backward, turned, and drove 8.61 meters (28.3 feet) toward Home Plate. Spirit searched for dust devils using the WATCH commands.

Sol 1115: Spirit acquired movie frames in search of dust devils and searched for clouds using the WATCH commands.

Sol 1116: Spirit drove 8 meters (26 feet), acquired westward-looking and northward-looking images after the drive, and acquired thermal data from a soil target known as "Kabal" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1117 (Feb. 23, 2007): Spirit acquired full-color images of the area in front of the rover using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Odometry

As of sol 1114 (Feb. 20, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 6,969.03 meters (4.33 miles).


sol 1104-1112, February 16, 2007: Spirit Perfects the Art of Driving on Five Wheels

Rover drivers have now refined their techniques for maneuvering on only five wheels. All of Spirit's drives during the past week ended within centimeters (inches) of the targeted endpoint. Spirit is healthy and has arrived at the rock outcrop known as "Bellingshausen" on the way back to "Home Plate."

On Feb. 10, 2007, the rover's 1,104th Martian day, or sol, of exploration, Spirit experienced a warm reset, during which the rover's computer rebooted and the rover went into auto mode, canceling activities for the weekend and awaiting instructions from Earth. This is the third time Spirit has experienced this anomaly; Spirit's twin, Opportunity, has experienced it twice. The anomaly is attributed to a well-known condition in the flight software. The rover's handlers sent new commands that activated the master sequence of activities for sol 1107 (Feb. 13, 2007).

During scientific studies of targets known as "Mount Darwin" and "Puenta Arenas" in soil disturbed by the rover's tracks, Spirit's handlers noticed positioning errors in the placement of instruments on the rover's robotic arm. In response, they scheduled diagnostic tests for sol 1110 (Feb. 16, 2007). This left the team with a tough decision: remain at Bellingshausen during the long President's Day holiday weekend or head toward Home Plate with a day of driving on sol 1114 (Feb. 20, 2007).

Tau measurements of atmospheric dust levels were 0.6, while solar power levels were 312 watt-hours (100 watt-hours is the amount of electrical energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour).

Sol-by-sol summary:

Except for the sols spent in auto mode, Spirit made daily observations that included measuring atmospheric opacity caused by dust with the panoramic camera, scanning the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit also conducted the following activities:

Sol 1104 (Feb. 10, 2007): Spirit went into auto mode.

Sol 1105: Spirit remained in auto mode.

Sol 1106: Spirit remained in auto mode.

Sol 1107: Spirit drove to the Bellingshausen outcrop.

Sol 1108: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of Bellingshausen and navigation camera movie frames in search of clouds.

Sol 1109: Spirit turned and approached a rock target known as "Fabian" and acquired stereo images following the drive using the navigation camera. The rover also acquired images with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1110: Plans called for a "rover tai-chi," which involves taking images of the contact ring of the Mössbauer spectrometer with the front hazard avoidance camera before placing the instrument on a target, and for acquiring panoramic camera images of Bellingshausen.

Sol 1111: Planned activities included collecting data on targets known as "Amhor," "Bantoom," "Dusor," "Ghasta," and "Gooli" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1112 (Feb. 18, 2007): Planned activities included collecting data on targets known as "Horz," "Hastor," and "Invak" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1109 (Feb. 15, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 6,965 meters (4.3 miles).


sol 1097-1103, February 09, 2007: It's Officially Spring on Mars

Spring is in the thin, Martian atmosphere once again as NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit scans the local terrain for dust devils expected this time of year. The rover remains healthy and has completed remote sensing studies of a soil target known as "Tyrone," conducted from a distance of about 10 meters (33 feet) away. Tyrone has bright soil upturned in wheel tracks.

Because Spirit is now limited to driving on five wheels, Spirit's handlers did not feel comfortable sending the rover any closer to the soft soil surrounding Tyrone. On the rover's 1,102nd Martian day, or sol, of exploration (Feb. 7, 2007), the rover turned and retraced its tracks toward the layered rock exposure known as "Montalva" en route to the circular plateau known as "Home Plate."

Engineers planned to have Spirit drive approximately 8 meters (26 feet) early on sol 1103 (Feb. 8, 2007). Planned weekend activities included remote sensing observations in addition to the long drive back to Home Plate. Estimated dust levels, known as Tau measurements, appeared to be holding steady at around 0.55. Scientists are hopeful that Martian winds will clear dust from Spirit's solar panels and boost the rover's power levels as they did at around this time last year.

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included using the panoramic camera to measure atmospheric opacity, using the navigation camera to scan the sky for clouds, and using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to survey the sky and ground, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1097 (Feb. 2, 2007): Spirit used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to acquire data on Tyrone and a rock target known as "Korolev." Spirit placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on an exposure of white soil known as "Mount Darwin" and collected compositional data. Spirit also acquired images of Tyrone using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1098: Spirit continued to gather miniature thermal emission spectrometer data from Tyrone and alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer data from Mount Darwin.

Sol 1099: Spirit acquired microscopic images of Mount Darwin, scanned a target known as "Russkaya" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired more panoramic camera images of Tyrone.

Sol 1100: Spirit studied Mount Darwin with the Mössbauer spectrometer, continued to acquire data from Tyrone using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired panoramic camera images of a sinuous feature in the dirt called "Hermite" and of the distant "El Dorado" dune field.

Sol 1101: Spirit acquired microscopic images of "Punta Arenas," a pebble in one of the rover's tracks. The panoramic camera photographed Tyrone. The miniature thermal emission spectrometer scanned distant "McCool Hill." Spirit also used the panoramic camera for images of Mount Darwin and Puenta Arenas.

Sol 1102: Spirit acquired images of McCool Hill with the panoramic camera. Then it turned to drive back toward Home Plate and updated the rover's knowledge of its position relative to the sun.

Sol 1103 (Feb. 8, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to take images of "Tyrone Vista" (the rover's view of the upturned soil known as Tyrone along with the surrounding terrain) and drive toward Montalva.

Odometry:

As of sol 1102 (Feb. 7, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 6,926.42 meters (4.3 miles).


sol 1091-1096, February 01, 2007: Spirit Examines Churned-Up Martian Soil

Spirit is healthy and continues to scan the Martian terrain for the dust devils of spring. The rover has completed its scientific studies of a layered rock exposure known as "Montalva" on an outcrop called "Troll."

The rover is now en route toward a patch of bright soil churned up by the rover's wheels in March 2007. Known as "Tyrone," the patch of bright material, white and yellow in color, is possibly analogous to salty soils discovered by the rover earlier in the mission. Scientists plan to have the rover conduct remote sensing from a distance of about 10 meters (33 feet) in order to avoid getting mired in the sand. The rover will use its scientific instruments to get a better look at the soil exposure and determine whether it contains sulfates.

Spirit acquired movies with the navigation camera in search of dust devils on the rover's 1091st, 1093rd, and 1095th sols, or Martian days (Jan. 27, Jan. 29, and Jan. 31, 2007). The risk of dust storms is predicted to increase through mid-October 2007.

The rover drove 12 meters (39 feet) between sols 1092 (Jan. 28, 2007) and 1094 (Jan. 30, 2007).

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1091 (Jan. 27, 2006): Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a rock target known as "Zucchelli" as well as images for building a digital elevation model of the terrain between the rover and a rock of vesicular basalt known as "Esperanza." Spirit acquired movie frames with the navigation camera in search of dust devils and used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to acquire data on rock targets known as "Troll 1," "Macquarie," and "Troll 2."

Sol 1092: Spirit acquired navigation camera images following the day's drive and panoramic camera images of the sky for calibration purposes.

Sol 1093: Spirit acquired movie frames with the navigation camera in search of dust devils and navigation camera images in support of observations to be made with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit scanned the foreground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, monitored for dust on the rover mast with the panoramic camera, and conducted a survey of rock clasts with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1094: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of a rock target called "Druzhnaya," drove closer to Tyrone, and acquired post-drive images of the rover's surroundings using the navigation camera.

Sol 1095: Spirit acquired data on Tyrone using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, acquired movie frames with the navigation camera in search of dust devils, acquired data on a rock outcrop known as "Oberth," and acquired full-color images of Tyrone using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 1096 (Feb. 1, 2007): Spirit "bumped," or rolled a short distance, toward a scientific target to be examined with instruments on the rover arm, acquired post-drive images with the navigation camera, scanned the sky for clouds with the navigation camera, and acquired thumbnail images of the sky with the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1094 (Jan. 30, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,915 meters (4.3 miles).


sol 1085-1090, January 27, 2007: Spirit Studies Layered Rocks and Wind-Blown Drifts

With the rover's third Martian spring just around the corner, Spirit is healthy and has started acquiring movies with the navigation camera in search of dust devils wheeling across the terrain. Spring officially begins on Martian day, or sol 1103 (Feb. 8, 2007).

During the past week, Spirit acquired microscopic images of a soil target called "Londonderry," which is an active wind drift shaped by the motion of bouncing sand grains. Spirit also acquired super-resolution panoramic camera images of an exposure of layered bedrock with rounded rock fragments known as "Zucchelli." Scientists hope the images will reveal information about color, structure, grain size, and mineralogical composition of the rock.

Spirit continued to make progress on scientific studies of a rock exposure known as "Montalva" on the lower stratigraphic unit of an outcrop known as "Troll." On the rover's 1,085th sol (Jan. 21, 2007) of exploration, Spirit used the wire brush on the rock abrasion tool to reveal more surface area and enable clean measurements with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit then backed up to conduct analysis of the newly brushed area.

In the coming week, scientists plan to have Spirit retrace its tracks toward a soil exposure known as "Tyrone" for additional panoramic camera images and miniature thermal emission spectrometer measurements to be taken from a distance of about 10 meters (30 feet).

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1085 (Jan. 21, 2006): Spirit acquired stereo microscopic images of Londonderry, as well as a target known as "Contact" and used the wire brush on the rock abrasion tool to brush the surface of Montalva. Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of layered rock targets known as "Los Estados," "Wollaston," and "Monte Dinero."

Sol 1086: Spirit acquired miniature thermal emission spectrometer data on rock targets called "Svea" and "Maudhem." Spirit acquired navigation camera movies in search of dust devils and acquired panoramic camera images of the Martian horizon and sky.

Sol 1087: Spirit stowed the robotic arm and backed up before taking navigation camera images in support of observations to be made with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit acquired navigation camera images after backing up and acquired panoramic camera images of the drive direction.

Sol 1088: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of the rock target now called "Montalva Daisy," in honor of the daisy-like arrangement of circular brushed areas on the rock's surface. The rover acquired data on Montalva Daisy and the background area around the target using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover surveyed the sky for calibration purposes using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1089: Plans called for Spirit to acquire long-baseline stereo images, using the panoramic camera, of the circular, plateau-like feature known as "Home Plate" in preparation for going back there after having survived the Martian winter. To do this, the rover moves laterally from one point to another between taking images with the left and right eyes of the camera. Plans also called for the rover to take super-resolution panoramic camera images, as well as navigation camera images of the rock target "Zucchelli," and to acquire data on Montalva using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover was also to acquire post-drive images of the terrain using the navigation camera and take thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1090 (Jan. 20, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to use the navigation camera to watch for dust devils and take images in support of investigations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover was also slated to collect data with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and complete a survey of rock clasts using the panoramic camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1087 (Jan. 23, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,896 meters (4.28 miles).


sol 1079-1084, January 19, 2007: Spirit Studies Distinctive Rock Layers with Granules and Platy Beds

Spirit is healthy and continues to make progress on scientific studies of a rock exposure known as "Montalva," which is one of the lower layers of an outcrop known as "Troll." Compositional data that Spirit collected using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer suggest the rock has high potassium content. To confirm this, scientists selected an adjacent exposure for further scrutiny.

In addition, Spirit began scientific analysis of an exposure known as "Riquelme" within the middle stratigraphic units of the "Troll" outcrop. Riquelme is composed of spherical particles that may be lapilli, which are pebble- to granule-size rocks ejected during a volcanic eruption. Spirit is also acquiring data about an upper exposure, nicknamed "Zucchelli," of thin platy beds in the outcrop using the panoramic camera and alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

During the week, Spirit acquired stereo panoramic camera images of the raised, circular plateau known as "Home Plate" for use in creating a digital elevation model. The navigation camera acquired movie frames in search of dust devils on the rover's 1082nd and 1084th sols, or Martian days of exploration (Jan. 18, 2007 and Jan. 20, 2007).

Science team members plan to have Spirit observe a transit of the Martian moon Phobos as it passes between the rover and the sun on sol 1083 (Jan. 19, 2007) and attempt to acquire panoramic camera images of comet McNaught at sunrise. It is possible that predawn sunlight will make the comet hard to see.

Dust levels have been returning to normal levels, with tau (a measure of how obscured the sun is when viewed through the atmosphere) dropping to 0.549 on sol 1081 and resulting in increased solar energy of 343 watt-hours. After recent dust storm activity on Mars, tau peaked at 1.136 on sol 1066 (Jan. 1, 2007), resulting in solar array energy of 276 watt-hours.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1079 (Jan. 15, 2006): Spirit placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on a new, offset target near Montalva, acquired miniature thermal emission spectrometer data on rock targets known as "Guillaume" and "von Neumayer," surveyed the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and spent 5 hours collecting data with the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 1080: The panoramic camera acquired a full-color image of Zucchelli using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera. The microscopic imager inspected "Montalva Offset." The rover swung the robotic arm out of the way to take panoramic camera images of both that target and Riquelme. Spirit acquired microscopic images of Riquelme before placing the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on the target. The rover surveyed a rock target known as "Lazarev" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1081: Spirit acquired panoramic camera images of Home Plate and the dune field known as "El Dorado." Spirit checked the calibration target and surveyed a target known as "Maud Land" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Spirit acquired data using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, images of the sky using the panoramic camera, and movie frames of potential dust devils using the navigation camera.

Sol 1082: Plans called for Spirit to measure atmospheric dust, survey the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectromter, and acquire data on "Riquelme3" using the Mössbauer spectrometer. Plans also called for Spirit to take images of the sky for calibration purposes using the panoramic and navigation cameras; survey the sky, ground, and a rock outcrop known as "d'Unville" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer; and take panoramic camera images of the Phobos transit.

Sol 1083: Plans called for Spirit to measure atmospheric dust opacity, acquire navigation camera and panoramic camera images of the sky for calibration purposes, and survey the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. Plans also called for continued work on Riquelme3, during which Spirit was to acquire additional data about iron composition with the Mössbauer spectrometer. The rover was also to study "Zucchelli3" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1084 (Jan. 20, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to measure atmospheric dust, scan the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, continue Mössbauer analysis of Riquelme3, conduct miniature thermal emission spectrometer analysis of "Zucchelli4," and acquire navigation camera frames in search of dust devils. The next morning's activities were to include panoramic camera images of a soil slip known as "Lennox" and continued miniature thermal emission spectrometer analysis of "Zucchelli5."

Odometry:

As of sol 1081 (Jan. 17, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,895 meters (4.28 miles).


sol 1070-1078, January 12, 2007: Spirit Continues to Test New Computer Smarts

On the rover's 1,068th sol, or Martian day of exploration on Mars (Jan. 4, 2007), Spirit used its new computer smarts to autonomously acquire images of the terrain using the hazard avoidance camera, construct a three-dimensional model of the terrain, identify rock or soil exposures of interest, and generate plans for placing the Mössbauer spectrometer and microscopic imager on 10 of those targets. Spirit's twin, the Opportunity rover on the other side of Mars, completed the same exercise. The next step of the testing process for both rovers will be to actually place scientific instruments on a target of interest.

Spirit spent much of the past week studying a layered rock exposure known as "Montalva." During the study, the rover used the brush on the rock abrasion tool, the microscopic imager, the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer that collects information about elemental composition, and the Mössbauer spectrometer that identifies iron-bearing minerals.

Plans called for Spirit to observe three transits of the Martian moon Phobos as it passed between the rover and the sun on sols 1075 (Jan. 11, 2007), 1077 (Jan. 13, 2007), and 1078 (Jan. 14, 2007).

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1070 (Jan. 6, 2006): Spirit unstowed the robotic arm and brushed the surface of Montalva, acquired a microscopic image of the rock, and placed the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer on it for elemental analysis. Before shutting down for the evening, Spirit measured atmospheric dust using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1071: Spirit acquired a full-color image, using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera, of a boulder nicknamed "Davis." It also used the navigation camera for images of scientific targets, and used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer to measure atmospheric dust and to surveyed the sky and ground, while communicating with the Odyssey orbiter in the afternoon.

Sol 1072: Spirit scanned the foreground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, acquired 4 hours worth of data using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, monitored atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, and took images of the sky for calibration purposes.

Sol 1073: Spirit swung the robotic arm out of view to collect full-color, 13-filter images of Montalva with the panoramic camera and acquired 4 hours of worth of data using the Mössbauer spectrometer. The rover scanned the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, monitored dust accumulation on the rover mast, measured atmospheric dust, and imaged the sky for calibration purposes.

Sol 1074: Spirit used the navigation camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer observe a nearby rock known as "Kohnen" and another target known as "Amundsen." Spirit fired up the Mössbauer spectrometer for another 3 hours worth of analysis of Montalva. The rover turned off the Mössbauer spectrometer and monitored atmospheric dust.

Sol 1075: Spirit observed the morning transit of Phobos using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, fired up the Mössbauer for an overnight observation, acquired thumbnail images of the sky using the panoramic camera, and searched for dust devils by acquiring video frames using the navigation camera.

Sol 1076: Plans called for Spirit to use the Mössbauer spectrometer for another 3 hours of study of Montalva and to take images of the sky for calibration purposes with the navigation and panoramic cameras. Spirit was also to monitor atmospheric dust and pre-position the panoramic camera to acquire images of the next day's transit of Phobos.

Sol 1077: Plans called for Spirit to acquire images of the sky for calibration purposes while communicating directly with Earth using the high-gain antenna. Plans also called for Spirit to use the Mössbauer for 12 hours of analysis of Montalva, heat up the electronics inside the panoramic camera, and acquire images of the Phobos transit with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1078 (Jan. 14, 2007): Plans called for Spirit to scan the sky for clouds using the navigation camera, study a target known as "Svarthammaren," and survey the sky and ground during the Phobos transit at 1:45 p.m. local solar time using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover was to survey targets known as "Sejong" and "Amery" and search the sky for clouds again the following morning using the navigation camera.

Odometry:

As of sol 1075 (Jan. 11, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,895 meters (4.28 miles).


sol 1063-1069, January 05, 2007: Martian Weather Delays Travel Plans

The dust storm season has apparently arrived at Gusev, causing delays in Spirit's fourth Earth year of exploring the Red Planet. Spirit spent most of the holiday season of 2006 and 2007 keeping an eye on the sky, measuring atmospheric dust that could prevent sunlight from reaching the rover's solar panels.

During the past week, atmospheric dust levels have been typical for this time of year on Mars, measuring about 1 on the scale used by the rover. The rover estimates dust levels by measuring opacity -- the degree to which the atmosphere is impenetrable by light. This value is known as tau and varies on a continuous scale from 0 on up. During most of Spirit's mission on Mars, tau values have fallen between 0 and 1. Values between 1 and 2 can greatly limit the activities the rover can perform. Values of 2 or greater could be fatal.

In addition to measuring atmospheric dust, Spirit continued to watch for dust devils and successfully retested step No. 3 of new computer smarts that will enable the rover to autonomously place scientific instruments of the rover's robotic arm onto a target of scientific interest. During the test, Spirit was able to take images of the workspace, unstow the arm, and plan a path of approach for reaching a target.

Next up for Spirit will be an attempt to approach and conduct scientific analysis of a layered rock exposure known as "Montalva," part of a larger outcrop known as "Troll."

Sol-by-sol summary:

In addition to daily observations that included measuring atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, searching for clouds with the navigation camera, scanning the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and imaging the sky with the panoramic camera, Spirit completed the following activities.

Sol 1063 (Dec. 29, 2006): After completing a short drive the previous day to a north-facing slope that tilted the rover's solar panels toward the sun, Spirit monitored atmospheric dust, acquired panoramic camera images of a place (called "Desolacion") where the rover's tracks cross each other, surveyed the Martian horizon with the panoramic camera, and monitored dust accumulation on the rover mast.

Sol 1064: Spirit monitored atmospheric dust and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1065: Spirit monitored atmospheric dust.

Sol 1066: Spirit monitored atmospheric dust.

Sol 1067: Spirit monitored atmospheric dust and searched for dust devils by acquiring successive navigation camera images that could be made into a movie.

Sol 1068 (Third Earth-year anniversary of Spirit's landing): Spirit monitored atmospheric dust, surveyed surrounding rocks with the panoramic camera, acquired full-color images of Desolacion with the panoramic camera, and retested step No. 3 of the robotic arm autonomous placement code.

Sol 1069 (Jan. 5, 2006): Plans called for Spirit to approach Montalva, acquire full-color panoramic camera images of a spongy-looking lava rock known as "Esperanza," and acquire panoramic camera images of Montalva and another layered rock exposure known as "Riquelme."

Odometry:

As of sol 1062 (Dec. 28, 2006), Spirit's total odometry was 6,891.34 meters (4.28 miles)


sol 1058-1062, January 02, 2007: Spirit Rests During Dust Storm

A sudden dust storm cut short Spirit's investigation of a volcanic rock and kicked enough dust into the Martian atmosphere to drive solar power levels to an all-time low. Spirit's team of scientists and engineers decided to move the rover to a spot where the solar panels would be tilted toward the sun to increase the amount of electrical power available.

The southern hemisphere dust storm lowered power levels to 267 watt-hours on Spirit's 1,061st sol, or Martian day, of exploring Mars (Dec. 27, 2006). Spirit had been using its Mössbauer spectrometer to analyze the mineral composition of a rock nicknamed "Esperanza," a piece of lava full of tiny holes and known as vesicular basalt. Due to concern about low power, the team prepared to drive Spirit to a north-tilted spot on the way toward a new target, a layered outcrop known as "Troll."

Spirit spent the New Year's weekend in one place, monitoring dust and actually resting on a holiday.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Sol 1058 (Dec. 24, 2006): Spirit completed 4 hours and 42 minutes of analysis of a target known as "Palma" on the rock Esperanza using the Mössbauer spectrometer. The rover tested Step No. 2 of a software program to watch for dust devils and studied a target known as "Boudouin" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1059: Spirit spent an additional 3 hours and 48 minutes collecting information about Palma with the Mössbauer spectrometer, scanned rock outcrops known as "Gurruchaga" and "Oberth" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and acquired super-resolution images of a rock target known as "Molodezhnaya."

Sol 1060: Spirit acquired an additional 4 hours and 47 minutes worth of Mössbauer spectrometer data from Palma and surveyed the Martian horizon with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1061: Spirit completed 3.5 hours of Mössbauer spectrometer analysis of Palma, bringing the total number of hours spent collecting data about the rock to 25. Spirit then acquired data from a rock target known as "Scott_Base" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and acquired a full-color image of a soil target known as "Tyrone" using all 13 filters of the panoramic camera.

Sol 1062 (Dec. 28, 2006): The team prepared to send Spirit driving about 4 meters (13 feet) to a shallow slope selected because it would tilt the rover's solar arrays toward the sun, which was still fairly low above the northern horizon and dimmed by atmospheric dust.

Odometry:

On sol 1062 (Dec. 28, 2006), Spirit's total odometry reached 6,891.34 meters (4.28 miles).

USA.gov
PRIVACY    |     FAQ    |     SITEMAP    |     CREDITS