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NASA Mars Rover Daily Updates - February 12, 2004

Status Report From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Saturday, February 14, 2004

Opportunity Status for sol 19 posted Feb. 12, 4:45 pm PST

During its 19th sol on Mars, which ends at 7:41 p.m. Thursday, PST, Opportunity climbed to Waypoint Charlie, where it will complete its initial survey of the outcrop nicknamed "Opportunity Ledge."

The flight team at JPL chose 'Here I Go Again' by Whitesnake as Opportunity’s wake-up music.

The plan for sol 20, which will end at 8:20 p.m. Friday, PST, is to do a "touch and go," meaning Opportunity will touch the soil with its instrument arm around the outpost area Charlie, then stow the arm and drive. It will head for an area of soil that the rover's miniature thermal emission spectrometer indicates is rich in hematite. Over the following few sols, engineers intend to use one of Opportunity’s wheels to spin into the soil and “trench” a shallow hole so scientists can check what's below the surface early next week. Knowing more about the hematite distribution on Mars may help scientists characterize the past environment and determine whether that environment provided favorable conditions for life.

Scientists and engineers will pore over the data collected along Opportunity Ledge this week to target a return trip to the most interesting science locations along the outcrop later next week.  

Spirit Status for sol 39 posted Feb. 12, 12 pm PST

During its 39th sol on Mars, which ended at 7:20 a.m. Thursday, PST, Spirit broke its own driving record. It adding 24.4 meters (80 feet) to its odometer while getting near an interesting set of rocks dubbed "Stone Council." The drive lasted 2 hours, 48 minutes. While navigating itself to avoid hazards, Spirit stopped when it recognized an obstacle, which was the group of rocks that was the day's intended destination.

The flight team at JPL chose Buster Poindexter's version of "Hit the Road Jack," as Spirit's wake-up music. The day's commands were uplinked during the cool morning hours via Spirit's low-gain antenna, to bypass a problem diagnosed the preceding day as shade slowing the warm-up of motors that move the high-gain antenna.

Before rolling, Spirit took images with its microscopic imager and panoramic camera from the site where it started the day.

The plan for sol 40, which will end at 7:59 a.m. Friday, PST, is a short drive forward then using instruments on the robotic arm to study soil at Stone Council.

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