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Spirit Completes More Soil Studies And Extraction Tests

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by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (SPX) Jul 22, 2009
Spirit, positioned on the west side of Home Plate, has been continuing her ambitious science campaign of remote sensing and in-situ (contact) science using all her payload elements.

On Sol 1963 (July 11, 2009), the robotic arm (instrument deployment device, or IDD) retracted the rock abrasion tool (RAT) from the surface where it had been positioned by an earlier placement.

The rover then performed a RAT calibration, collected a stack of images from the microscopic imager (MI), and replaced the RAT on the target to do a seek-scan procedure for locating the surface.

On Sol 1965 (July 13, 2009), a RAT brushing was performed on the target. At the completion of the RAT brushing, the IDD was swung out of the way.

On the next sol, an MI mosaic was collected of the brushed target and the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) was placed for an overnight integration. On Sol 1967 (July 15, 2009), the IDD positioned the instruments over another target and collected an MI mosaic before placing the APXS.

The rover is continuing nighttime activities to increase the depth of discharge in the batteries for battery health and maintenance.

The surface system testbed (SSTB) rover extraction testing in a simulated-Mars sandbox at JPL continues. Several extraction tests have been performed with more to be conducted in coming days.

As of Sol 1967 (July 9, 2009), Spirit's solar array energy production is 944 watt-hours. Atmospheric opacity (tau) is 0.398. The dust factor on the solar array is 0.844, indicating that 84.4 percent of sunlight hitting the array penetrates the much-reduced layer of dust on it. Total odometry remains at 7,729.93 meters (4.80 miles).

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Spirit's View From Troy
Pasadena CA (SPX) Jul 21, 2009
This scene combines seven frames taken by the navigation camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit during the 1,891st Martian day, or sol, of Spirit's mission on Mars (April 28, 2009). It covers a vista from south-southeast on the left to northeast on the right. This view is from the position Spirit reached with a drive that moved the rover only about 14 centimeters (5.5 inches) ... read more

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