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Spirit Chalks Up Total Success With 90 Sols On Mars

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit took this panoramic camera image on sol 86 (March 31, 2004) before driving 36 meters (118 feet) on sol 87 toward its future destination, the Columbia Hills. This is probably the last panoramic camera image that Spirit will take from the high rim of "Bonneville" crater, and provides an excellent view of the ejecta-covered path the rover has journeyed thus far. The lander can be seen toward the upper right of the frame and is approximately 321 meters (1060 feet) away from Spirit’s current location. The large hill on the horizon is Grissom Hill. The Colombia Hills, located to the left, are not visible in this image.
Pasadena - Apr 06, 2004
Spirit woke up on sol 91, which ended at 6:38 p.m. PDT on April 5, 2004, as if it were any other martian day, but this one was special. Finishing 90 sols of surface operations since landing day marked completion of the last of the official success criteria for Spirit's prime mission. The rover team at JPL had checked off the next-to-last box for mission success two days earlier, when a drive of 50.2 meters (165 feet) took Spirit's total travel distance over the 600-meter (1,969 feet) mark.

The martian day for sol 91 started with some remote sensing observations of the sky and ground as well as navigation camera images of the landscape to the east. Then the rover completed miniature thermal emission spectrometer ground surveys and imaged the sky and ground with the panoramic camera. After a short nap, Spirit acquired some pre-drive imaging including a super-spectral look at an interesting spot in front of the rover.

Early in the martian afternoon, Spirit began a 1.35-meter (4.4-foot) drive to get closer to a rock called "Route 66." Once the drive was finished, the rover analyzed the instrument deployment device's work volume with hazard-avoidance camera images and a stare by the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. A quick adjustment of 0.8 meters (2.6 feet) put the rover in perfect position and completed the drive.

Spirit spent the afternoon taking a systematic soil survey with the panoramic camera, a 13-filter image of the destination informally named "Columbia Hills," and acquiring miniature thermal emission spectrometer data of the same locations.

Spirit will spend sol 92, which will end at 7:18 p.m. PDT on April 6, 2004, analyzing its capture magnet and filter magnet with its Mössbauer spectrometer and microscopic imager. The rover will also complete coordinated observations with the Mars Global Surveyor and switch tools to the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer for an overnight measurement.

Meanwhile, over the weekend and half a world away Opportunity completed its observations at "Bounce Rock" rock and prepared for its trek toward "Endurance Crater." On sol 68, which ended at 4:00 a.m. PST on April 3, the rover backed away from Bounce, then re-approached the rock in preparation for an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer read on the right side of it. The wake-up tune chosen for the sol was "Got to Go Back" by Van Morrison.

Opportunity made observations with its miniature thermal emission spectrometer during the martian morning. Then it took set of microscope images before backing away from the rock. More images were taken from that vantage point before Opportunity made a 10-degree turn in place and drove the 0.85 meters (2.8 feet) back to Bounce.

On sol 69, which ended at 5:40 a.m. PST on April 4, Opportunity completed its instrument arm work on Bounce. It also examined soil targets with its microscopic imager and Mössbauer spectrometer. The wake-up song for the sol was "Little Maggie" by Tom Adams, chosen for the soil target named "Maggie."

In coming sols Opportunity will make progress in a 750-meter (nearly a half mile) drive to Endurance Crater. The rover team plans to make pit stops along the way at scientifically interesting sites and will pause other activities for a few sols while the rover gets new flight software.

Related Links
Mars Rovers at JPL
Mars Rovers at Cornell
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Spirit Finds Multi-Layer Hints Of Past Water At Mars' Gusev Site
Pasadena - Apr 02, 2004
Clues from a wind-scalloped volcanic rock on Mars investigated by NASA's Spirit rover suggest repeated possible exposures to water inside Gusev Crater, scientists said Thursday.