Spirit rover timeline for 2005 March

This article describes part of the mission timeline of the NASA Mars Exploration Rover "Spirit".

Mars Exploration Rover Mission timelines

* Spirit rover timeline
** Spirit rover timeline for 2004 April
** "timelines for 2004 May to 2005 February unavailable"
** Spirit rover timeline for 2005 April

* Opportunity rover timeline
** Opportunity rover timeline for 2004 April
** "timelines for 2004 May to 2005 February unavailable"
** Opportunity rover timeline for 2005 March
** Opportunity rover timeline for 2005 April

February 25, 2005 to March 4, 2005

sols 408-415: Spirit Perched at 'Larry's Lookout'

Spirit's focus on sols 408 through 412 was the spectacular panorama from "Larry's Lookout." After completing that 4-sol effort, Spirit rolled to a nearby rock target called "Watchtower" and began examining it with tools on the robotic arm.

Spirit is in excellent health. Skies are clearing of dust and Spirit's solar panels are angled at a high northerly-tilt. So, as Mars approaches the spring season, Spirit has had ample power and a full battery at the start of each recent sol. Flash memory is also in good shape despite the large panorama acquired, thanks to good downlinks and data management.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

On sol 408, Spirit was unable to uplink due to a communications transmitter failure.

Sol 409 was a repeat plan of sol 408, and Spirit drove 2.7 meters (8.9 feet) to Larry's Lookout.

Sols 410 and 411 were the first of four days of using the panoramic camera to acquire frames for a panorama from Larry's Lookout.

On sols 412 and 413, Spirit continued acquiring the panorama and also made observations with Mini-TES.

On sol 414, Spirit moved slightly to put Watchtower into the work volume for the robotic arm.

On sol 415, Spirit brushed the dust off an area on Watchtower with the rock abrasion tool and started an overnight integration with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

Sol 415 ended on March 4, 2005.

Spirit's current total odometry is 4,161 meters (2.59 miles).

2005 March 5 to March 10

(Sols 416 to 421)

SPIRIT UPDATE: High Winds Make Spirit Full of Energy - sol 416-421, March 14, 2005

Spirit is in good health and is successfully using a new version of flight software. After completing an investigation of a rock dubbed "Watchtower," Spirit is returning to a soil area of interest informally labeled "Paso Robles." Tau, a measure of how much sunlight cannot penetrate the atmosphere, rose to a high of 1.5 on the afternoon of sol 418, but the opacity of the atmosphere has since dropped off. Energy output from Spirit's solar panels is up as of sol 420, indicating that some cleaning of dust off the solar arrays may have occurred naturally.

As Spirit and Opportunity are the first solar-powered vehicles on the surface of Mars during the dust storm season, this is a learning experience. There are likely large transient dust storm events that reduce solar energy due to dust deposition on the solar arrays and blocking some sunshine, but also may sometimes raise energy levels by cleaning dust from arrays, possibly by winds associated with dust storms. The impact on other rover systems, such as cameras, will also be closely monitored.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

On sol 416, which ended on March 5, 2005, Spirit awoke around 4 a.m. local solar time at Gusev Crater to start its alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and use a communication window with the Mars Odyssey orbiter passing overhead. Later, Spirit did a three-hour grind with its rock abrasion tool, digging about 7 millimeters (0.27 inch) into Watchtower. Spirit then placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer into the rock abrasion tool hole for an overnight integration.

On sol 417, Spirit gathered images of the rock abrasion tool hole with the microscopic imager, performed a variety of remote-sensing observations, and then placed the Mössbauer spectrometer in the hole for an overnight integration.

On sol 418, Spirit continued the Mössbauer spectrometer integration and acquired remote-sensing data. A regional dust storm caused tau the reach a new high if 1.5 in the afternoon and reduced solar energy for the day to roughly 350 watt-hours. After the dust storm, Spirit's front hazard-avoidance camera showed signs of dust contamination similar to that seen earlier on Opportunity's rear hazard-avoidance camera.

On sol 419, Spirit completed remote-sensing observations, including imaging to learn more about the contamination on the front hazard-avoidance camera. Slight mottling is visible in images from both eyes of the stereo camera. It is not enough to affect use of the camera or to have any direct impact on rover operations, but understanding how it happened might help the rover team minimize future occurrences. Spirit then moved backwards about 1 meter (3 feet) from Watchtower to use mast-mounted instruments for observing that rock. After that, it starting to drive toward the soil target Paso Robles. However, the planned 14-meter (46-foot) drive ended after just 1 meter (3 feet) due to a software sequence ordering issue.

On sol 420, Spirit drove 7 meters (23 feet) of a planned 14 meters (46 feet) towards Paso Robles. The drive ended prematurely due to a problem in visual odometry, which is part of the software that enables the rover to drive autonomously. Energy output from the solar array rose dramatically, to more than 600 watt-hours. In part, this is due to a favorable northerly tilt of the rover, which points the solar arrays toward the Sun. Also, tau is going back down, but it is possible that some cleaning event occurred that reduced the dust on the solar panels.

On sol 421, Spirit drove 7 meters (23 feet) and arrived close to the Paso Robles target. Spirit still needs another few meters to get into position to use the instruments on its robotic arm. Solar energy continues to be very high: more than 700 watt-hours. The last time Spirit had this much energy was around sol 80!

2005 March 11 to March 18

Sols 422 to 429, March 21, 2005: Busy with the Robotic Arm

After some accumulated dust was blown off Spirit's solar panels on sol 420 (March 9, 2005), the rover has been producing over 800 watt-hours of energy per sol, about twice as much as before the solar-array cleaning event. All that extra power has allowed Spirit to do a very aggressive scientific campaign at a soil patch dubbed "Paso Robles 2" with the instruments on the robotic arm. The rover team planned to wrap up the robotic arm work and send Spirit driving again on sol 431.

Between sols 416 and 418, the front hazard-avoidance cameras showed signs of dust contamination. Images from sol 420 indicate that the left front hazard-avoidance camera has been mostly cleaned off.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

On sol 421, Spirit drove and took images that caught a dust devil in action!

On sols 422 and 423, Spirit collected atmospheric-science and other remote-sensing observations. Spirit also performed a dust calibration with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

On sol 424, Spirit drove to "Paso Robles2" and scuffed the surface with its wheels.

On sols 425 and 426, Spirit made some remote-sensing observations. On sol 426, Spirit also used the microscopic imager to take pictures of "Big Clod" and "Bitty Clod." Spirit also studied a target informally called "Paso Dark" with the Mössbauer spectrometer and a target called "Paso Light" with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.

On sol 427, Spirit used the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and the Mössbauer spectrometer again on Paso Dark. Spirit also took pictures of Paso Light and Paso Dark with the microscopic imager.

On sol 428, Spirit did targeted remote sensing and placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on "Ben's Clod" and the Mössbauer spectrometer on Paso Light.

On sol 429 (March 18, 2005), Spirit swept the surface of Ben's Clod with the brush of the rock abrasion tool and took before-and-after shots of the area with the microscopic imager. Spirit also completed a short Mössbauer spectrometer reading on Paso Dark and an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer reading on Ben's Clod.

2005 March 19 to March 24

Sols 430 to 435, March 24, 2005: Using Extra Energy to Head Uphill

After a very busy weekend, Spirit packed up the robotic arm and headed away from an area dubbed "Paso Robles." Spirit should be able to make good progress towards the "Husband Hill" summit in the upcoming sols, using as much of the abundant solar energy as it can. Extra power comes courtesy of an early-March windstorm that blew off year-old dust from Spirit's electricity-producing solar panels.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

On sol 430 (March 19, 2005), Spirit took readings of a soil target called "Paso Dark" with the Mössbauer spectrometer, made atmospheric-science observations, shot targeted panoramic camera images and collected miniature thermal emission spectrometer readings. Then the rover performed an overnight alpha particle X-ray spectrometer reading on an area of soil that had a mix of light and dark colors.

On sol 431, Spirit took pictures of the solar panel, some undisturbed soil, and Paso Dark with the microscopic imager. Spirit also took another short reading of Paso Dark using the Mössbauer spectrometer before stowing the robotic arm. The rover then made a short drive backwards to get in good position for taking images of the area where it had used the instruments on the robotic arm. After taking those images, Spirit resumed its drive toward the summit of Husband Hill, rolling a total of 10 meters (33 feet) for the day. Then it took images from its new location.

On sol 432, Spirit took panoramic camera images of its own deck for a little self portrait and made atmospheric-science observations.

On sol 433, Spirit continued with atmospheric readings, took panoramic camera images of its magnets, and searched for dust devils.

On sol 434, Spirit drove 20 meters (66 feet), did post-drive imaging, and took atmospheric readings.

On sol 435, Spirit did more atmospheric readings and a survey of the ground. As of sol 435 (March 24, 2005), Spirit has driven a total of 4,197.5 meters (2.61 miles).

2005 March 25 to March 31

Sol 436 to 441, Spirit Slipping on New Terrain April 4, 2005

Spirit is heading toward the summit of "Husband Hill." The rover hasbeen making slow progress recently due to slippage on new, sandyterrain, but it is persevering to reach the target. The rover teamperformed image brightness tests with the navigation camera to assesshow late in the sol Spirit can use sunlight for imaging.

Sol-by-sol summaries:

Sol 436 (March 25, 2005):Spirit took panoramic camera images of areas dubbed "Cottontail" and "Blanket." The rover also completed a 24-meter (79-foot) drive."
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/spirit_p436.html panorama] [http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/spirit_n436.html navigation] "

Sol 437:Spirit took some post-drive images and performed other remote sensing. It took a sky survey, measured the opacity of the atmosphere, and looked for dust devils."
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/spirit_p437.html panorama] [http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/spirit_n437.html navigation] "

Sol 438:Spirit did a lot of remote sensing on sol 438, taking three surveys ofthe sky, measuring the opacity of the atmosphere, searching for dustdevils, and looking for clouds."
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/spirit_p438.html panorama] [http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/spirit_n438.html navigation] "

Sol 439:Spirit drove 3 meters (10 feet). It also conducted an image brightnesstest with its navigation camera. The rovers can't take images when it is too late in the sol since they use the natural light from the Sun to illuminate features on Mars. The rover team experimented with taking pictures later and later this sol. Currently, the rover team does not usually take pictures after long drives, but if the images taken later in the sol come back clear and useful, then the team will start commanding the rover to take images later in the sol, after drives."
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/spirit_p439.html panorama] [http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/spirit_n439.html navigation] "

Sol 440:Spirit completed a 1.7-meter (5.7-foot) drive."
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/spirit_p440.html panorama] [http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/spirit_n440.html navigation] "

Sol 441 (March 31, 2005):The rover completed a 2.28-meter (7.48-foot) drive. On the new terrain that Spirit has reached, the rover slipped 45 percent on an 11-degree slope. In the past, when Spirit was on an 11-degree slope, the rover did not slip as much, but this terrain is much sandier than previous terrain Spirit has driven on. The rover used to have a slip limit at 40 percent, so the rover would automatically shut off if it slipped that much. The rover team increased the allowable slippage to 60 percent to enable the rover to progress and move forward."
http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/spirit_p441.html panorama] [http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/all/spirit_n441.html navigation] "


*cite web | url=http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/status_spiritAll.html#sol416 | title=High Winds Make Spirit Full of Energy | work=Mars Explorer Rover Mission: Spirit Update Archive | accessmonthday=20 March | accessyear=2005

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