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Good Health Report After Hiatus In Communications

an "I'm back..." opportunity
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Feb 21, 2011
Opportunity emerged from the solar conjunction in good order. Solar conjunction is the period when communications between Earth and Mars are disrupted because the Sun is directly in between the two planets.

Telemetry has been returned from the two-week solar conjunction period. With the known exception of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES), all systems are healthy. Extensive moessbauer (MB) integration spectra were successfully collected from the surface target Luis de Torres.

The rover has resumed normal tactical operations. The plan ahead is to perform a rock abrasion tool (RAT) grind on the surface target Luis de Torres for follow-on microscopic imager (MI) mosaics and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) measurements.

Completing that, Opportunity will resume the trek towards Endeavour crater. As of Sol 2511 (Feb. 15, 2011), solar array energy production was 505 watt-hours with an elevated atmospheric opacity (Tau) of 0.949 and a solar array dust factor of 0.597.

Total odometry is 26,658.64 meters (26.66 kilometers, or 16.56 miles).

Spirit Remains Silent at Troy
No communication has been received from Spirit since Sol 2210 (March 22, 2010).

The solar conjunction communication moratorium has concluded. Solar conjunction is the period when communications between Earth and Mars are disrupted because the Sun is directly in between the two planets.

The Deep Space Network (DSN) X-band listening and "Sweep and Beep" commanding have resumed. The Sweep and Beep paging strategy has been changed and augmented. The Sweep and Beep command duration has been shortened to 10 minutes, increasing the number of command attempts and the possibility of commands being received within the 20-minute awake (fault) window for the case of a mission clock fault response on Spirit.

Further, the DSN X-band frequency reference offset will be stepped over a much larger range to account for the possibility of a degraded receiver on the rover. DSN passes have also been modified to occur over different local times of day on Mars covering the possibility that the rover's clock has drifted significantly since March of 2010. The period of maximum solar insolation (energy production) for Spirit occurs around mid-March 2011.

Total odometry is unchanged at 7,730.50 meters (4.80 miles).

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Opportunity Catching The Rays During Solar Conjunction
Pasadena CA (JPL) Feb 15, 2011
Opportunity continues to be in the period of solar conjunction. Solar conjunction is the period when communications between Earth and Mars are disrupted because the Sun is directly in between the two planets. The last communication with the rover was on Sol 2499 (Feb. 3, 2011), and all appears to be healthy. Opportunity has a complete set of sequences on board to carry her through th ... read more

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