Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Mars Exploration News  

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Martian Spirit In A Better Mood As Battery Power Rises

File image.
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jul 15, 2008
Spirit's battery is recharging nicely now that rover planners have reduced the frequency of communications to and from the rover during the darkest days of Martian winter. Most measures of battery health are showing an increase of about 2 amp-hours in the battery state of charge (an amp-hour is equivalent to the amount of charge flowing for one hour from a current of 1 amp).

The minimum state of charge has improved from 10.92 amp-hours to 12.97 amp-hours, the maximum from 16.77 amp-hours to 18.17 amp-hours, which is fairly close to the battery's full capacity of 19.5 amp-hours.

Because battery energy increased sufficiently, the team added 12 minutes of remote sensing science to Spirit's to-do list for Sol 1586 (June 19, 2008).

Spirit was to monitor atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera as well as dust on the panoramic-camera mast assembly and acquire seven, time-lapse movie frames in search of clouds with the navigation camera. Engineers anticipate that the additional activities will have no significant effect on the battery's state of charge.

Skies remain remarkably clear. Solar array energy is up slightly, averaging 229 watt-hours (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour). Atmospheric darkness caused by dust (known as Tau) increased by an insignificant amount, going from an average of 0.193 the previous week to 0.205 this week. The dust factor, the fraction of sunlight hitting the arrays that penetrates the dust layer, also rose insignificantly, from 0.349 to 0.352.

Rover planners are generating new activity plans for Spirit only once a week to minimize uplink time and therefore the length of time the rover must stay awake. Spirit relays data to Earth only every fourth sol to minimize battery usage.

In addition to estimating the amount of scattering and absorption of sunlight by atmospheric dust, Spirit received one transmission of new instructions direct from Earth to the rover's high-gain antenna on Sol 1581 (June 14, 2008).

Spirit sent two transmissions of data to Earth via Odyssey on sols 1582 and 1586 (June 15 and June 19, 2008). Data from the sol 1582 downlink showed that the backup uplink on sol 1584 (June 17, 2008) was not needed and the communications link was shortened to save energy.

Spirit remains healthy and all subsystems were performing as expected as of the downlink to Earth via NASA's Odyssey Mars orbiter on sol (Martian day) 1582 (June 15, 2008).

Sol-by-sol summary

During the past week, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1580 (June 13, 2008): Spirit recharged the battery and measured atmospheric opacity caused by dust (Tau) using the panoramic camera.

Sol 1581: Spirit recharged the battery and received new instructions direct from Earth to the rover's high-gain dish antenna.

Sol 1582: Spirit soaked up the sunlight to recharge the battery, assessed atmospheric darkness caused by dust particles with the panoramic camera, and sent data to NASA's Odyssey orbiter for transmission to Earth.

Sol 1583: Spirit recharged the battery.

Sol 1584: Spirit recharged the battery, surveyed atmospheric dust with the panoramic camera, and received new commands from Earth over the rover's high-gain antenna.

Sol 1585: Spirit recharged the battery.

Sol 1586 (June 19, 2008): Plans called for Spirit to recharge the battery, conducted remote sensing, and send data to Odyssey for relay to Earth.

Odometry: As of sol 1578 (June 11, 2008), Spirit's total odometry remained at 7,528.0 meters (4.7 miles).

Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Mars Rovers at JPL
Mars Rovers at Cornell
Mars News and Information at
Lunar Dreams and more

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Rover Takes Photos Of Scenic View
Pasadena CA (SPX) Jul 14, 2008
Opportunity has completed work on the stand-off portion of the full-color panorama of the layered cliff known as "Cape Verde." It may take a couple of weeks for the entire panorama to arrive on Earth, depending on the volume of data the rover is able to transmit during communications links.

  • Nuclear Power In Space - Part 2
  • Outside View: Nuclear future in space
  • Nuclear Power In Space

  • Online Casino Reports Bets On Lunar Gambling
  • Brown-Led Team Finds Evidence Of Water In Lunar Interior
  • China Almost Done With Map Of Moon Surface
  • Looking For Early Earth...On The Moon

  • UCF Project Selected For NASA Explorer Mission
  • UK Space Competition Unearths Young Talent
  • House Passes S And T Bills Commemorating NASA's 50th Anniversary, First Woman In Space
  • Magellan Aerospace Wins Lockheed Martin Orion Contract

  • 30 Years Since Charon Reveals Pluto To Be A Binary Planet System
  • The Great Planet Debate: Dwarf Planets Are Planets Too
  • Stripped of planet status, Pluto saves face
  • Plutoid Chosen As Name For Solar System Objects Like Pluto

  • The Little Red Spot Of Jupiter Has Lots Of Winds Blowing
  • New Red Spot Appears On Jupiter
  • Wandering Poles Leave Giant Scars On Europa's Icy Surface
  • Scientists Find Rings Of Jupiter Are Shaped In Shadow

  • New Details On Venusian Clouds Revealed
  • Venus Express Provides First Detection Of Hydroxyl In Atmosphere Of Venus
  • Key Molecule Found In Venus Atmosphere
  • Venus Express Reboots The Search For Active Volcanoes On Venus

  • Cassini To Formally Complete Primary Saturn Mission
  • Ocean On Enceladus May Be Short-Lived
  • Cassini Sees Collisions Of Moonlets Into Saturn F Ring
  • DLR Scientists Produce An Atlas Of Saturn's Moon Dione

  • Integral To Provide Carrier Monitoring And Interference Detection Capability To Telenor
  • Japanese team developing palm-held 3D display
  • Swerve Left To Avoid That Satellite
  • Thales Alenia Space To Deliver Very-High-Resolution Optical Imaging Instrument To Astrium

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement