Spirit Observes Debris Trail Of Halley's Comet

November 23, 2005

Spirit is healthy and making good progress downhill. The rover performed an extensive campaign with the tools on the robotic arm at an outcrop called "Larry's Bench" and made targeted observations with other instruments.

The team has been taking advantage of every drive sol, averaging about 40 meters (131 feet) per sol.

Mars is currently passing through a debris trail of Halley's comet, and Spirit is attempting to observe resulting meteor showers with the panoramic camera at night.

Sol-by-sol summaries

Sol 660 (Nov. 11, 2005): Spirit performed robotic-arm work on Larry's Bench. Spirit took pictures of Larry's Bench with the microscopic imager before and after the rock abrasion tool brushed the area. Spirit used the panoramic camera to take pictures of the eastern part of the hill and took images in the direction Spirit plans to drive. Spirit used the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and attempted to observe the Odyssey orbiter at night.

Sol 661: Spirit performed a long integration with the Moessbauer spectrometer, targeted observations with the panoramic camera (pointed towards "Husband Hill" summit), and targeted stares with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 662: Spirit performed a long integration with the Moessbauer spectrometer, targeted observations with the panoramic camera, atmospheric science, and more stares with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer.

Sol 663: Spirit performed a long integration with the Moessbauer spectrometer, made targeted observations with the panoramic camera and miniature thermal emission spectrometer, and did a meteor search at night.

Sol 664: Spirit stowed the robotic arm, took panoramic-camera images of the arm's work area, and drove 38 meters (125 feet) downhill.

Sol 665: Spirit drove 42 meters (138 feet) downhill.

Sol 666: Spirit drove 40 meters (131 feet) downhill.

Sol 667: No scientifically outstanding targets for the robotic arm were seen near the rover's current location, so the team planned a long drive. The team does not have good images that show the view over the ridge, so the rover will use autonomous navigation and drive with a reduced tilt limit to traverse safely downhill.

As of the end of sol 667, (Nov. 18, 2005), Spirit has driven 5,392 meters (3.35 miles).

Copyright 2005 by Space Daily, Distributed United Press International

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