Spirit Studies Layered Rocks

February 26, 2006
Spirit's 'Everest' Panorama

Spirit will soon be on top of the rugged plateau known as "Home Plate," which features the most spectacular layering Spirit has yet encountered, and begin taking images of the surrounding terrain. Spirit had a productive week investigating two rock targets, "Barnhill" and "Posey."

A restricted planning period (resulting from periodic, limited opportunities to communicate with overhead satellites) gave Spirit an opportunity to spend a few sols (Martian days) engaged in untargeted remote sensing and atmospheric science. The rover also charged its batteries. The science team is assigning nicknames to surface features honoring star players and managers of the Negro Leagues of baseball in the first half of the 20th century.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 750 (Feb. 11, 2006): Spirit examined a rock target dubbed "Pitcher" with the microscopic imager, then completed an overnight study of a rock target dubbed "Fastball" with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 751: Spirit stowed the robotic arm and executed a commanded, 5.3-meter (17-foot) drive to Posey using visual odometry. The drive went exactly as planned and ended with the rover in place to immediately begin scientific studies with the robotic arm without further adjustment of the rover's position.

Sol 752: Spirit conducted light remote sensing and recharged the rover's batteries.

Sol 753: Spirit acquired images of a rock target dubbed "Gray" using the microscopic imager, brushed a surface target known as "Manager" using the rock abrasion tool, and completed an 18-hour analysis of Manager using the Moessbauer spectrometer. The science team opted to complete an overnight Moessbauer study before conducting an overnight alpha particle X-ray spectrometer study in order to decide how long to stay at this location. Because the Moessbauer spectrum was similar to that of an earlier un-brushed target nicknamed Barnhill, the team directed the rover to resume driving after collecting the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer data.

Sol 754: Spirit took after-brushing images of Manager with the microscopic imager, finished the analysis of Manager with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, and took panoramic camera images of Barnhill.

Sol 755 (Feb. 16, 2006): Before moving on, Spirit rolled back from Manager and collected data from the site with the miniature thermal emission spectrometer. The rover paused to take mid-drive images with the navigation camera before "sliding into" Home Plate after driving 10 meters (33 feet) using visual odometery and 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) using autonomous navigation.

Odometry:

As of sol 755, Spirit's total odometry was 6,575 meters (4.09 miles).

Copyright 2006 by Space Daily, Distributed United Press International

Explore further: Startup energy brings Disney's BB-8 droid toy to life

Related Stories

Belgrade researchers view art as self-organization process

June 26, 2015

How do you tell an original from a fake original? Two Belgrade researchers said they have a method that does not need any prior knowledge on the originality of the work of art. The authors' method is illustrated by recognizing ...

Opportunity's 7th Mars winter to include new study area

July 7, 2015

Operators of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity plan to drive the rover into a valley this month where Opportunity will be active through the long-lived rover's seventh Martian winter, examining outcrops that contain ...

Recommended for you

Seeing quantum motion

August 28, 2015

Consider the pendulum of a grandfather clock. If you forget to wind it, you will eventually find the pendulum at rest, unmoving. However, this simple observation is only valid at the level of classical physics—the laws ...

Just how good (or bad) is the fossil record of dinosaurs?

August 28, 2015

Everyone is excited by discoveries of new dinosaurs – or indeed any new fossil species. But a key question for palaeontologists is 'just how good is the fossil record?' Do we know fifty per cent of the species of dinosaurs ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.