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Spirit Continues Studies Of Rocks On Home Plate

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by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (SPX) Oct 31, 2007
Spirit is healthy and continues to investigate "Home Plate." After completing extensive studies of "Site 3" using the Moessbauer spectrometer and other instruments, the rover proceeded toward "Site 4." Meanwhile, it's already time for Spirit to start thinking about winter again. Over the coming weekend, the rover was scheduled to acquire long-baseline stereo images of Home Plate and surrounding areas in search of a safe winter haven.

The grinding encoder on Spirit's rock abrasion tool appears to have suffered the same fate as that of Spirit's twin, Opportunity, on the other side of Mars. An investigation is under way, but all indications are that activities using the rock abrasion tool will now require two Martian days, or sols.

On sol 1346 (Oct. 16, 2007), Spirit drove approximately 10 meters (33 feet) toward Site 4 and added another 12 meters (39 feet) of driving on sol 1347 (Oct. 17, 2007).

In addition to receiving morning instructions directly from Earth via the high-gain antenna, returning data in the evening at UHF frequencies via the Odyssey orbiter, measuring atmospheric dust levels (known as tau measurements) with the panoramic camera, and surveying the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1343 (Oct. 13, 2007): Spirit restarted the Moessbauer spectrometer and collected data for 22 hours with the instrument from a target called "Humboldt Peak." The rover acquired remote data from a rock target known as "Mt. Eolus" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and a 6-by-1 image mosaic with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1344: Spirit restarted the Moessbauer spectrometer and resumed data collection from Humboldt Peak for 23 hours. The rover acquired spot images of the sky and a 4-by-1 image mosaic with the panoramic camera and collected remote data from a rock known as "Pikes Peak" using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1345: Spirit resumed collecting Moessbauer data from Humboldt Peak for another 23 hours. The rover acquired remote data from a target dubbed "Mt. Sneffels" with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer and spot images of the sky with the panoramic camera. Spirit monitored dust on the rover mast assembly.

Sol 1346: Spirit ran tests on the rock abrasion tool and stowed the robotic arm before taking pre-drive images with the panoramic camera and driving about 10 meters (33 feet) toward Site 4 on Home Plate. The rover acquired a 5-by-1, post-drive image mosaic with the navigation camera as well as a 4-by-1 mosaic with the panoramic camera. The rover took spot images of the sky and foreground images with the panoramic camera.

Sol 1347 (Oct. 17, 2007): Spirit conducted a pre-drive survey of the rover's surroundings with the panoramic camera and drove another 12 meters (39 feet) toward Home Plate Site 4. The rover acquired a 7-by-1, post-drive image mosaic with the navigation camera. Spirit also took images of dust in the sky, conducted a survey of rock clasts, and acquired images of a rock target called "Conundrum Peak" using the panoramic camera.

Odometry: As of sol 1347 (Oct. 17, 2007), Spirit's total odometry was 7,286 meters (4.5 miles).

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Phoenix: Tasks En Route To Mars Include Course Tweak And Gear Checks
Pasadena CA (SPX) Oct 31, 2007
NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, launched on Aug. 4 and headed to Mars, fired its four trajectory correction thrusters Wednesday for only the second time. The 45.9-second burn nudged the spacecraft just the right amount to put it on a course to arrive at the red planet seven months from today.









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