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Mars Exploration Rovers

Gloomy Skies Show Signs of Clearing - sol 1274-1283, August 16, 2007

Gloomy Skies Show Signs of Clearing - sol 1274-1283, August 16, 2007
Description :

Gloomy Skies Show Signs of Clearing - sol 1274-1283

August 16, 2007


Spirit is healthy as the amount of dust hoisted into the atmosphere by recent wind storms has leveled off and solar energy levels have held steady at about 280 to 300 watt-hours of energy (100 watt-hours is the amount of energy needed to light a 100-watt bulb for one hour). Since the rover's 1,271st Martian day, or sol, of exploration (July 31, 2007), atmospheric opacity, a measurement known as Tau, has stabilized at about 3.8. Given the apparent relative stability of the atmosphere, the rover's handlers have returned to somewhat more normal planning procedures, allowing the rover to take on more science activities. Spirit studied a crushed rock target known as "Innocent Bystander" using the Mössbauer spectrometer on sols 1275, 1278, and 1281 (Aug. 4, Aug. 7, and Aug. 10, 2007).

Spirit appears to have accumulated some dust contamination on the optics of the microscopic imager at some point during a period of 10 Martian days between sol 1257 (July 17, 2007) and sol 1277 (Aug. 6, 2007). On sol 1282 (Aug. 11, 2007), Spirit got a look at the microscopic imager with the dust cover closed using the panoramic and hazard avoidance cameras. The rover's handlers are considering using the front hazard avoidance cameras to try to get a better look at the microscopic imager with the dust cover open. They are also considering strategies for removing dust if necessary.

Spirit remains parked just to the east of the elevated plateau known as "Home Plate" with the Mössbauer spectrometer placed on Innocent Bystander.

Sol-by-sol summary:

Except where noted, daily communications included morning, direct-from-Earth uplinks over the rover's high-gain antenna and evening relays of data to Earth at UHF frequences via the Odyssey orbiter. In addition, Spirit completed the following activities:

Sol 1274 (Aug. 3, 2007): Spirit acquired wide-range, panoramic camera images for measuring atmospheric dust, searched for clouds using the navigation camera, acquired movie frames in search of dust devils, and acquired images of surface ripples to the front and rear of the rover with the hazard avoidance cameras. The rover surveyed the external calibration target with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1275: Spirit conducted studies with the Mössbauer spectrometer, acquired a 3x1 mosaic of images of ripples with the navigation camera, acquired wide-range, panoramic camera images for measuring atmospheric dust, and took images of ripples with the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras. The rover scanned the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1276: Spirit acquired images of ripples with the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras, acquired wide-range, panoramic camera images for measuring atmospheric dust, acquired a 360-degree panorama of the rover's surrounding with the navigation camera, and searched for clouds with the navigation camera.

Sol 1277: Spirit acquired a stack of microscopic images of targets known as "Stealing Second" and "Stealing Third," a microscopic image of Innocent Bystander, and both wide-range, panoramic camera images and navigation camera images for measuring atmospheric dust. The rover monitored dust on the rover mast, acquired images of ripples with the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras, and surveyed the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1278: Spirit studied Innocent Bystander using the Mössbauer spectrometer, acquired images of ripples using the navigation camera, and measured atmospheric dust by acquiring wide-range, panoramic camera images as well as navigation camera images. The rover took thumbnail images of the sky and acquired movie frame images in search of dust devils with the navigation camera.

Sol 1279: Spirit acquired images of surface ripples using the rear and front hazard avoidance cameras, acquired a microscopic image looking through the dust cover, and acquired images of the microscopic imager from the outside using the panoramic and navigation cameras. The rover acquired wide-range, panoramic camera images as well as navigation camera images for measuring atmospheric dust, took spot images of the sky, and surveyed the horizon.

Sol 1280: Spirit measured atmospheric properties using the alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer and measured atmospheric opacity with the panoramic and navigation cameras. The rover took images of ripples with the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras, searched for clouds with the navigation camera, and conducted a mini-survey of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1281: Spirit acquired wide-range, panoramic camera images and navigation camera images to measure atmospheric dust. The rover conducted studies with the Mössbauer spectrometer, completed a survey at high sun with the panoramic camera, and took images of surface ripples using the navigation and panoramic cameras.

Sol 1282: Spirit extended the robotic arm for panoramic camera images, retracted the robotic arm for hazard avoidance camera images, and extended the rock abrasion tool into ready position. The rover acquired images of ripples using the front and rear hazard avoidance cameras, acquired wide-range, panoramic camera images to measure atmospheric dust, and monitored dust on the rover mast. Spirit conducted a mini-survey of the sky and ground using the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 1283 (Aug. 12, 2007): Spirit acquired wide-range, panoramic camera images and navigation camera images for measuring atmospheric dust, took spot images of the sky, surveyed the horizon, acquired a 3x1 mosaic of navigation camera images of surface ripples, and completed a mini-survey of the sky and ground with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Odometry:

As of sol 1283 (Aug. 12, 2007), Spirit's total odometry remained at 7,153 meters (4.44 miles).

Source: NASA


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