Daily Updates - February 17, 2004
Spirit Status at end of sol 44
Spirit controllers are calling sol 44 one of Spirit's most complicated and productive sols to date. Before commencing its record-breaking drive, Spirit began the sol, which ended at 10:38 a.m. February 17, 2004 PST, with an alpha particle x-ray spectrometer analysis of the soil target Ramp Flats. The analysis ran in parallel with a miniature thermal emission spectrometer observation of the martian sky. Spirit then continued observing "Ramp Flats" with the microscopic imager and Moessbauer spectrometer while operating the panoramic camera to get pictures of rocks in the distance called "V Ger" and "Broken Slate."
But this morning multi-tasking was only the beginning. After stowing the robotic arm, Spirit began a north-northeast drive that added a total of 21.6 meters (70.9 feet), bringing the rover's grand total to 108 meters (354 feet). That distance is about 6 meters (19.7 feet) more than Sojournerís mission record, set in 1997. Controllers remarked that Spiritís auto-navigation drives are consistently getting faster. These long drives are revealing new and interesting terrain, including more ridges, dunes, ripples and rocks with various appearances.
The plan for sol 45, which will end at 11:17 a.m. Feb. 18, 2004 PST, begins with analysis of a target at the current location, followed by a drive into a hollow between 15 meters (49 feet) and 18 meters (59 feet) away.
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