Spirit Perfects the Art of Driving on Five Wheels
Spirit Status for sol 1104-1112
Release Date: 2/18/07
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 (a watt-hour is the amount of power needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour).
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 Moessbauer 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.
As of sol 1109 (Feb. 15, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 6,965 meters (4.3 miles).