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Trekking Toward Husband Hill

This view from where Spirit stood on its 149th martian day (June 3, 2004) shows, on the hillside at the center of the image, the terrain that the rover is crossing six months later. The view is a mosaic of several frames taken with Spirit's panoramic camera.
Pasadena CA (JPL) Dec 15, 2004
Spirit drove five of the last seven days, continuing its trek towards the top of "Husband Hill." Spirit's intermediate goal is a ridge dubbed "Larry's Lookout," which is roughly 75 meters (246 feet) away.

Getting there using Spirit's current path will be a challenge given the sand, slope, and rocks in this area. Spirit paused for a set of weekend observations of a rock called "Wishstone." Total odometry for the mission is now 3,944 meters (2.45 miles).

The amount of electric current drawn by the motor on the right front wheel is in the normal range. Near the end of Spirit's long series of drives from "Bonneville Crater" to the "Columbia Hills," the right front wheel began to draw roughly twice the current of the other five wheels.

The increased current prompted engineers to limit the use of this wheel to preserve its life. Since arriving at the hills, Spirit has had relatively few driving days.

The rover team's current working theory on this problem suggests that the recent rest periods have allowed the lubricant in this wheel to redistribute, causing the current draw to return to normal.

Periodic rest days will be included in rover drivers' plans, and Spirit will alternate forward and backward driving to keep the lubricant in all of the wheels more evenly distributed.

Related Links
Mars Rovers at JPL
Mars Rovers at Cornell
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Mars Life: Trouble Without The Rubble?
Moffet Field CA (SPX) Dec 13, 2004
On January 25, Opportunity landed on Mars. The landing site, Meridiani Planum, was the flattest location scouted in the history of Mars exploration. Because of the rover's unique mobility, scientists wanted interesting landing sites with less than ten to twenty percent rock coverage. Rubble was trouble. But few anticipated what all that flatness would finally deliver.



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