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Spirit Begins Downhill Drive

Husband Hill Gusev Crater, Mars: Everest Pan - "RGB Dust Devils Desktop" by Original image generated using Midnight Mars Browser panarama viewer using NASA/JPL/Caltech data from MER-A.
  • Dust Devil sequence is created via the three filter passes used to take the frame in question. Many recent false color sets in filters 2/4, 5, 6 contain dust devil. With closer dust devil's having overlapping color frames. This is one of the best to date and was selected in honor of Kim Stanley Robinson and his future history masterpiece Red Mars.
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  • Pasadena (JPL) Oct 25, 2005
    Spirit is healthy and has begun driving downhill from the top of "Husband Hill" toward the south basin. Elevation maps produced from the panoramic camera imagery taken at and near the summit of Husband Hill showed a safe traverse (with vehicle tilts under about 20 degrees) across ridge lines east of the summit.

    These ridge lines (informally called "Haskin upper ridge" and "Haskin east ridge") are the planned traverse paths for coming weeks. When possible, Spirit will drive each day.

    Sol-by-sol summaries
    Sol 634 (Oct. 15, 2005): Spirit finished investigating a rock outcrop called "Hillary" near the summit of Husband Hill. Spirit used the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and the microscopic imager to study Hillary, then Spirit stowed the robotic arm. Spirit bumped back about 2 meters (7 feet) from the outcrop to complete remote imaging. Spirit used the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and panoramic camera to study targets on Hillary.

    Sol 635: Spirit drove 47 meters (154 feet) east from the summit.

    Sol 636: Spirit took images with the navigation camera and performed atmospheric observations.

    Sol 637: Spirit drove 20 meters (66 feet) during the first of a series of drives toward Haskin upper ridge. There is an apparent drop-off near this ridge; therefore, each drive begins with a short 10-meter (33-foot) "blind" drive, followed by drives using hazard-avoidance cameras and decreased limits on how far the rover can tilt in any direction. The intent is to stop a drive short of any significant change in local elevation.

    Sol 638: Spirit drove 29 meters (95 feet) during the second drive to the Haskin upper ridge. Spirit also observed the moons Phobos and Deimos at night.

    Sol 639: Spirit covered 17 meters (56 feet) during the third drive of the approach to Haskin upper ridge. This left Spirit about 15 meters (49 feet) from the drop-off and near an area with rock outcrops.

    Sol 640: Spirit's planned activities for sol 640 were devoted to remote sensing of the east basin, expected to be within view after the third leg of the sol 639 drive.

    As of the end of sol 639, (Oct. 20, 2005), Spirit has driven 5,107 meters (3.17 miles).

    Looking Back At Spirit's Trail To The Summit
    Before moving on to explore more of Mars, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit looked back at the long and winding trail of twin wheel tracks the rover created to get to the top of "Husband Hill." Spirit spent several days in October 2005 at this location, perched on a lofty, rock-strewn incline next to a precarious outcrop nicknamed "Hillary."

    Researchers helped the rover make several wheel adjustments to get solid footing before conducting scientific analysis of the rock outcrop. The rock turned out to be similar in appearance and composition to a rock target called "Jibsheet" PIA07979 that the rover had studied several months earlier and hundreds of meters away.

    To the west are the slopes of the "Columbia Hills," so named for the astronauts of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Beyond the hills are the flat plains and rim of Gusev Crater.

    Spirit took this 360-degree panorama of images with its navigation camera on the 627th Martian day, or sol, (Oct. 7, 2005) of its exploration of Gusev Crater on Mars. This view is presented in a cylindrical projection with geometric seam correction. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

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    Spirit Heading To 'Home Plate'
    Pasadena CA (JPL) Jan 09, 2006
    Last week Spirit completed robotic-arm work on "El Dorado." The rover used all three of its spectrometers plus the microscopic imager for readings over the New Year's weekend.

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