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Spirit Remains Busy At Troy

File image.
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (SPX) Jul 14, 2009
Spirit remains positioned just west of Home Plate, in the location called "Troy," where the rover has been continuing an ambitious science campaign.

The campaign includes extensive observations with the panoramic camera (Pancam) and miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) plus contact science using all the tools on the robotic arm (instrument deployment device, or IDD).

On Sol 1954 (July 2, 2009), the rock abrasion tool (RAT) repeated a seek-scan procedure on a surface soil target in preparation for brushing that target, but the seek-scan was unable to make sufficient contact with the target for brushing.

With abundant daily energy after repeated array-cleaning events, the rover is conducting nighttime activities to increase the depth of discharge in the batteries for battery health and maintenance.

Activities continue on Earth for extraction testing of the surface system testbed (SSTB) rover in a simulated Mars environment.

On July 6, 2009, testing began with the SSTB on the series of proposed extraction maneuvers in the new test fixture ("dust bin") at JPL.

As of Sol 1960 (July 8, 2009), Spirit's solar array energy production is 938 watt-hours. Atmospheric opacity (tau) is 0.349. The dust factor on the solar array is 0.82, indicating that 82 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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NASA: Spirit still stuck in martian sand
Pasadena, Calif. (UPI) Jul 9, 2009
U.S. space agency engineers said they used backward motion during the second evaluation of maneuvers that might free a stuck Mars rover. NASA's Mars rover Spirit became trapped in April in loose martian sand. Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers in California have been using a test rover placed in a specially constructed sandbox to simulate how to best extract Spirit. During the ... read more

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