Spirit Reaches True Summit

October 3, 2005

Spirit is healthy and has provided a spectacular view from the top of "Husband Hill." The rover has acquired numerous panoramas from both the navigation camera and panoramic camera. Spirit took coordinated observations with the panoramic camera and the miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and observed the moons Phobos and Deimos at night.

Spirit has reached the true summit, which is in the eastern portion of the nearly level hilltop crest that Spirit reached in late August. Plans are to drive to a good imaging location. From the new location, Spirit will acquire a panorama of the plains and valleys below.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 614 (Sept. 24, 2005): Spirit took a panorama of "Tennessee Valley," and performed targeted remote sensing and atmospheric science. A planned Moessbauer spectrometer reading was not completed, due to a sequencing error.

Sol 615: Spirit used the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on the compositional calibration target and took a picture of the compositional calibration target with the microscopic imager.

The compositional calibration target provides an independent, external reference source for calibrating the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and Moessbauer spectrometer. Both instruments also have their own internal calibration reference targets.

The compositional calibration target is made of a piece of magnetite rock from Earth, bonded to an aluminum base plate and covered by a protective coating that the Moessbauer spectrometer cannot detect. On sol 615, Spirit also performed targeted remote sensing.

Sol 616: Spirit drove about 10 meters (33 feet) towards the true summit and observed Phobos and Deimos at night.

Sol 617: Spirit took pictures from "Position 2" for a stereo panorama. Spirit also observed Phobos and Deimos at night.

Sol 618: Spirit drove 14 meters (46 feet) closer to "True Summit." Mid-drive, Spirit stopped to take a picture of a target called "Hillary." The informal name is in honor of Edmund Hillary. Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first to climb to the top of Mount Everest. They reached the summit on May 29, 1953. That summit, at 8,850 meters (29,035 feet) above sea level, is the highest place on Earth. The summit of Husband Hill is 106 meters (about 348 feet) above the Spirit landing site.

Sol 619: The plan is for Spirit to drive about 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) to the summit imaging location. Once at the new location, the plan is for Spirit to take a 360-degree panorama using the navigation camera.

As of the end of sol 618, (Sept. 29, 2005), Spirit has driven 4,973 meters (3.09 miles).

Copyright 2005 by Space Daily, Distributed United Press International

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