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PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE - To MARS with MER

Daily Updates - February 24, 2004
Spirit Status at end of sol 51

To inspire a morning "run" on sol 51, which ended at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, PST, Spirit woke up to Vangelis’ "Chariots of Fire." The rover deployed its arm, took microscopic images of the soil in front of it and then proceeded toward its target, "Middle Ground." Spirit drove 30 meters (98.4 feet), breaking its own record for a single-sol traverse. Along the way, Spirit paused to image rocks on both sides of the drive path with its panoramic camera.

The auto-navigational software that drove the last 12 meters (39.4 feet) of the traverse to the "Middle Ground" target warned Spirit that the slope into the hollow that houses it was too steep (according to parameters set by rover engineers). Spirit then paced along the rim, looking for a safe way down. Unable to locate a secure path into the crater before the sol ended, Spirit ended up facing slightly west of north instead of northeast, as called for by the plan. This orientation will reduce the amount of data the rover can return (due to interference between the UHF antenna and items on the rover equipment deck), but it will be corrected in the coming sols.

As of today, Spirit has moved 183.25 meters (601.21 feet) and is now roughly 135 meters (442.91 feet) from its landing site, Columbia Memorial Station.

The intent for the next several sols will be to drive Spirit into "Middle Ground" and take a full panorama of the surrounding area to identify scientifically interesting rocks.

Spirit Daily Update Archive