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Spirit's Mulls Over Uchben

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Pasadena CA (JPL) Oct 26, 2004
Spirit is healthy and currently investigating a layered rock called "Uchben." Spirit is farther from the equator than its twin, Opportunity is, and it has much less available solar energy. Spirit's solar panels are pointed to the northern Sun, but Spirit is still only getting about 400 watt-hours of energy per day - enough to run a 100-watt bulb for four hours.

Opportunity has been getting more than 700 watt-hours a day. The lower power supply for Spirit limits the rover's daily activities.

On sol 279, Spirit was parked at the location where a second occurrence of a problem with the rover's dynamic brake relay anomaly had halted a planned drive on sol 277. Scientists took the opportunity to analyze disturbed soil in front of the rover.

Spirit deployed its robotic arm, acquired images of the soil with the microscopic imager, and placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on a new target, named "TakeABreak," for an overnight integration.

Sols 280, 281, and 282 were built as a single three-sol plan to execute over Earth's weekend. On sol 280, Spirit acquired morning observations of sky and ground with its miniature thermal emission spectrometer, took a panoramic camera image to assess atmospheric quality, and completed the overnight alpha particle X-ray spectrometer measurement.

After a midday nap, Spirit did a tool change from the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer to the Moessbauer spectrometer and began an overnight integration on the same soil patch.

On sol 281, Spirit completed the Moessbauer spectrometer measurement, took a midday nap, acquired three images of a nearby target called "Coffee" with the microscopic imager, and stowed the robotic arm.

Spirit then successfully drove about 4 meters (13 feet) backwards, putting the target "Uchben" into the workspace of the robotic arm. The drive included straightening the right front and left rear steering wheels, which are the two impacted by a problem with the relay that is used in turning the steering motors on and off.

The drive also successfully tested driving without use of the right front and left rear steering wheels to limit use of these motors while investigation of the malfunction continues.

On sol 282, Spirit acquired measurements of the sky and ground in the morning with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, took the usual midday nap, and then made remote-sensing observations in the afternoon, including some navigation camera images for use in planning of future driving.

On sol 283, after receiving its daily commands and acquiring a panoramic camera assessment of atmospheric quality and miniature thermal emission spectrometer measurements of the sky and ground, Spirit took a midday nap.

In the afternoon, Spirit deployed the robotic arm and acquired 20 images of a target region called "Koolik" on Uchben with the microscopic imager. Spirit then deployed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer for an overnight integration.

On sol 284, which ended on Oct. 25, Spirit completed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer measurement and then did a tool change to the Moessbauer spectrometer for a nighttime integration on Koolik.

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Opportunity Ready To Make "Climb" To Burns Cliff
Pasadena CA (JPL) Oct 22, 2004
NASA's Opportunity rover continues to operate without any major issues after spending 130 sols inside "Endurance Crater". To date, the rover has ground 21 targets with the rock abrasion tool, performing 62 integrations with the Moessbauer spectrometer and 33 with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, and taking 115 observations with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

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