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NASA Mars Exploration Rover Updates 16 Feb 2004

Status Report From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Thursday, February 19, 2004

SPIRIT UPDATE: Mega Drive - sol 43, Feb 16, 2004

Spirit spent the wee morning hours of sol 43 gathering data about a wheel-track target with the Mˆssbauer spectrometer, then tucked its arm and drove. It used a two-session method engineers call a "mega drive" in order to make good progress toward the crater nicknamed "Bonneville." The first driving session covered 19 meters (62.3 feet) after long-running morning activities shortened the time for driving. After a rest, Spirit continued another 8.5 meters (27.9 feet) in the afternoon, resulting in a total drive of 27.5 meters (90.2 feet), a new one-sol record. Sol 43 ended at 9:58 a.m. Monday, PST. The remaining distance to "Bonneville" is about 245 meters (about 800 feet) from Spirit's new location.

For sol 44, which will end at 10:38 a.m. Tuesday, PST, controllers plan "touch-and-go" activities: deploying the arm on a target called "Ramp Flats" before continuing toward Bonneville.


OPPORTUNITY UPDATE: Check Before Digging - sol 22, Feb 16, 2004

Opportunity spent much of sol 22, which ended at 9:39 p.m. Sunday, PST, making a thorough "before" examination of the spot selected for digging a ditch the next sol.

Also, Opportunity completed upward-looking observations before, during and after Mars Global Surveyor flew overhead looking down. Opportunity and Global Surveyor have similar infrared sensing instruments: the miniature thermal emission spectrometer on the rover and the (full-size) thermal emission spectrometer on the orbiter. Coordinated observations of looking up through the atmosphere with one while looking down through the atmosphere with the other were designed to provide a more complete atmospheric profile than either could do alone.

Sol 22's wake-up music was "Invisible Touch" by Genesis. In preparation for digging, Opportunity examined the trenching site with its microscopic imager, its Mˆssbauer spectrometer and, overnight, its alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

The plan for sol 23, which will end at 10:19 p.m. Monday, PST, is to dig a trench with alternating forward and backward spinning of Opportunity's right front wheel in order to see what's below the surface. Inspections of the resulting hole are planned for sol 24 and the morning of sol 25.

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