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  Mars Exploration Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity (Page 8)

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Author Topic:   Mars Exploration Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity
tegwilym
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posted 08-24-2005 01:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very cool! I can't wait to see the big color panorama when they get that thing all put together.

spaceuk
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posted 08-31-2005 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I note that Opportunity MER had a software reset a few days back but did recover and is back in trasnmission/receiving from Earth.

Phill
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Scott
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posted 10-07-2005 09:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The two highest points on Husband Hill have been named for Everest conquerors Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary.

In the image, from left to right, "Tenzing" and "Hillary".

MarylandSpace
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posted 10-09-2005 11:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Haven't these Mars images been awesome.

Keep 'em coming, Rover and Discovery.

Garry

Philip
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posted 10-14-2005 01:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Both rovers have been on 'restricted sols' meaning they drive 1 sol and sit still another due to the fact that overhead communication passes of orbiters occur late every sol so the JPL has to wait and see what the position & health is of the rover after executing the most recent commands...

Opportunity is in a 'bad' shape but let's hope that the vehicle will reach its 2nd anniversary on the red planet...

spaceuk
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posted 10-28-2005 11:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The sol 646 microscopic images from Spirit show a 'weird' white 'fluffy' object in them.

Can't make my mind up whether its solar reflection onto the ground or whether its a small piece of the white bedrock? JPL captions don't give any clues.

It changes shape between images so think it may be a reflection?

Have wait see what JPL say?

Phill
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DavidH
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posted 10-28-2005 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
These?

------------------
http://allthese worlds.hatbag.net/space.php
"America's challenge of today has forged man's destiny of tomorrow." - Commander Eugene Cernan, Apollo 17 Mission, 11 December 1972

LCDR Scott Schneeweis
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posted 10-28-2005 08:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LCDR Scott Schneeweis   Click Here to Email LCDR Scott Schneeweis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Phil... it appears that the anomoly is static wrt the camera lens but not the image target... camera looks to be slewing to the right in the 3 images that show the ghost... that variability (in shape) may be the result of the changing camera orientation as it progressively pans right into a brightly illuminated object outside the field of view of the image (maybe a piece of reflective material on the Spirit that is reflecting the sun, or the sun itself)... the sharp angle of incidence (relative to the camera lens) would account for the oblong shape...

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Scott Schneeweis
http://www.spaceaholic.com

spaceuk
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posted 10-29-2005 11:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That seems a reasonable explanation - I'll buy that for now.

I was hoping they may have had a few more images on the site but not yet. Nor any further text updates on the Mars Rover home site that give sol-by-sol accounts.

I'll give Mars and the two MER's a little wave tonight as Mars comes closest to Earth for many a year. If it keeps fine and clear
but it's not looking good for later.

Phill
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Blackarrow
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posted 10-31-2005 05:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When on earth (sorry, Mars!) is Opportunity going to reach Erebus crater? It must be at least a month ago that I read that the rover was within a couple of hundred feet of the crater, yet there is no sign of the crater in the raw images. Why the delay? I can understand that they would want to proceed carefully, but this is ridiculous.

Philip
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posted 11-01-2005 04:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Opportunity is actually at Erebus crater, it saw the inside of the crater some sols ago but keep in mind that both rovers are in a period of "limited sols" meaning driving 1 sol, sitting still the next sol...

Opportunity is going around Erebus as we speak...

We should be happy both MERs are still active!

Blackarrow
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posted 11-01-2005 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Philip, I agree it's very welcome that both rovers are still working, but they must be living on borrowed time. The controllers should cast caution to the wind and go for it! Erebus is there, let's see Opportunity driving in! Better one more week as an explorer than six months observing the same sand-dunes.

Philip
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posted 11-02-2005 10:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I guess that's a bit 'extreme' action.

Serious, both vehicles have done their upper best and I really hope they make it to January 2006... Folks at NASA-JPL also need that right now.

Blackarrow
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posted 11-03-2005 05:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree, Philip, but I still want to see the inside of Erebus!

You mentioned that Opportunity looked inside Erebus "some sols ago." I must have blinked and missed that. Can you identify which sol?

Philip
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posted 11-04-2005 12:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
sol 586-591, Sept 22, 2005: Approaching 'Erebus'

Opportunity is healthy and continuing its drive toward "Erebus Crater." Images taken this week show the interior of the crater. Plans for the next few sols are to get closer to the crater's edge and do extensive imaging.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-23-2005 05:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since Spirit landed on January 3, 2004, Mars has completed one orbit around the sun. This anniversary picture is a synthetic image of the rover on the flank of "Husband Hill" produced using JPL technology. The process combines visualization and image-processing tools with Hollywood-style special effects.

More 'Special Effect' images can be found here.

NASA's feature about Spirit's first year on Mars can be read here.

Blackarrow
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posted 12-03-2005 12:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've raised this before, and weeks later I find it even more frustrating: when - if ever - is Opportunity going to reach the edge of Erebus Crater and give us a view of the crater floor? Why the delay? Why is it being driven round in circles imaging identical sand-dunes and rocks when there is a huge crater nearby? I'm completely baffled by this inexplicable delay, bearing in mind that both Mars rovers must be living on borrowed time. (N.B. Images in September showed Erebus on the horizon). Is there any web-site with an up-to-date mission plan setting out the itinerary over the next few weeks?

spaceuk
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posted 12-03-2005 04:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Opportunity has been imaging Erebus in past few days - we've seen images of one of its 'walls'.

Use the NASA/JPL raw images site to look for the pics.

Phill

spaceuk
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posted 12-03-2005 04:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Opportunity has actually moved on past Erebus now.

Have a look at the images at this link, especially for the ones on Mars sol 615-621
when Opportunity was on the 'rim' of Erebus at that time.

Phill
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spaceuk
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posted 12-03-2005 04:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Images around sol 639 aos giving some views as well.

Phill

spaceuk
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posted 12-03-2005 04:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
sol 590 pancam images show part of Erebus wall

Earlier when I noted Opportunity had 'moved on' past Erebus I meant that it moved on from its sol 615-621 position - which was in a small inlet of Erebus.

It is still on the rim of Erebus which is 300 metres across.

Phill

spaceuk
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posted 12-03-2005 04:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This traverse map may give you a good idea of where Opportunity is now and where it has explored in past few 'weeks'.

Phill
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Blackarrow
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posted 12-05-2005 04:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Phill, one of us is blind. I check the raw images most days. I certainly checked the Sol 615 - 621 raw images at the time they first appeared on the site, and saw no crater. I have checked them again today at your suggestion. I see endless square miles of undulating sand-dunes and areas of bare rock, but I see no crater. Is your middle name Lowell?

tegwilym
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posted 12-06-2005 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I like to check this page for the latest cool images from Mars, Saturn, or whatever.

They do a good job at posting the newest goodies up there. There are a few new color images from Mars that just showed up the other day.

Tom

spaceuk
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posted 12-07-2005 07:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a nice colour image of wall of Erebus.

Erebus wall rims are pretty "shallow" (see image above) and tend to not much different from the many dunes we've seen in last few months at Opportunity site. So, its difficult (without JPL navigation data) to just 'spot' what's a crater and what's a dune.

Still, I hope you have by now seen part of Erebus.

Spotting signs of Mars life by its tracks or fossils is even harder.

Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 12-07-2005 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some weeks ago someone here enquired how the rovers were guided. This JPL site gives a good overall layman's description.

Phill
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Blackarrow
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posted 12-07-2005 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Phill, I think I saw that colour image, or something similar, a month or two ago. I take your point that it provides a good view of the far rim of Erebus in the distance, but that is exactly my point: why did Opportunity look at the crater in the distance then drive on past? Surely the whole point of driving to Erebus was to REACH Erebus, not drive right past it at a distance? Why didn't they drive right to the crater rim to get a look inside the crater? Surely the plan was to check if they could drive down into the crater, as with Endurance? It's obvious looking at the picture that Opportunity is not peering into Erebus, but passing by at a distance. Why? Why? Why? If I sound frustrated, it's because I am. This is no time to be cautious. Opportunity could break down any time.

spaceuk
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posted 12-10-2005 01:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This one made me smile as you can make out the 'outline' of a "sitting bull frog".

Croak

Phill
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spaceuk
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posted 12-17-2005 11:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the Opportunity team are probably playing things safely by going westwards around Erebus at this stage.

The MER is still on the rim of Erebus - where a lot of geology can still be learned.

They have had several technical problems while in this general area over last dozen or so sols - as you are probably aware of - such as the sticking robotic arm, wheel slippage and software resets.

Whether they decide to drive down into Erebus crater floor I suppose we'll have to wait and see. Certainly they will have to weigh pros-and-cons of undertaking this - such as what are carter slopes like, are they deep and suty slopes, what benefits would be gained by exploring floor (as opposed to distant imaging) etcetera.

Whatever happens, this MER - and its twin MER, Spirit - have been phenomenally succesful missions and have far exceeded their planned lifetime. The results so far will provide information for geologists and planetary scientists with many, many years of study already - and the missions look like they could 'drive-and-drive'.

Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 12-17-2005 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And, of course, there is an even better crater looming about 2500 metres distant to the south - which is crater Victoria.

Several obstacles in the way though before they reach Victoria's rim and that is whether they try driving with arm deployed (since a broken wire was diagnosed as reason behind failure earlier), whether the earth based systems are Ok (they had some upload problems due ground kit) and, of course, Martian winter approaches again.

Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 12-17-2005 12:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is from JPL about Opportunity at Erebus:
Most of Erebus is filled with sand dunes, so it's not of particular interest... we're focusing on the outcrops.

After Erebus, Opportunity will probably drive on towards Victoria."
Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 02-26-2006 06:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Stunning view of what looks like successive bedding layers at the Home Plate Opportunity site.

Similar layers on Earth are normally attributed to successive water depositing.

Phill
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ejectr
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posted 02-26-2006 06:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Fascinating.....!"

Larry McGlynn
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posted 02-26-2006 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Although I am sure that there is some alternative description to the bedding planes that are shown in the Home Plate photograph that a planetary geologist like Steve Squires can come up with for an explanation, but I have to say that the sedimentary deposits look very much like the deposits I saw at the Oak Creek Canyon last year.

The bedding almost looks like liquid current deposits due to the size or thickness of the deposit of each sedimentary layer. There is even some slumping in the middle of the deposit that might indicate current action or at least the existance of liquid at the site that caused those layer to collapse together.

Now if we could get a sample of that rock to bring back to Earth. I wonder what that sample would tell us in the lab. Jeez, we ought to send somebody there.

Larry

spaceuk
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posted 02-27-2006 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The outcrop within Erebus crater has been dubbed 'Payson' by JPL-ers I understand.

It could of course be successive volcanic 'ash' depositions but, somehow, these look more like sedimentation deposits?
Closer examination by the onboard science toolkit of Opportunity would help decide.

Not sure how close they will get with Opportunity but I would be interested to know the 'depth' of some of the layers.

I 'enlarged' image and tried count how many layers could be seen and I reckon its approaching 80 layers +/- 20 either way!!

Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 02-27-2006 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with Larry - lets get onsite and bring back a bag full of rocks

Phill

Larry McGlynn
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posted 02-27-2006 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Phill,

I agree that volcanic ash could be an answer. Also it is only one picture.

It is in the bottom of a crater which would allow for moisture. Also when I look toward the middle of the formation I see a slight anglularity and settling that to me indicates the potential for water that caused the settling.

I need to look at a map for evidence of local volcanic action in the past. So you are right, there are more solutions to this question. It's just so neat to see such an example of sedimentary stratification on another planet that I just want to make the jump to a river bed, but I have to remember to think Mars and not Earth bound geology.

Wish the toolkit had a coring drill. Will have to ask the boys at Honeybee to move in get a good look.

Larry

spaceuk
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posted 02-28-2006 10:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Larry

JPL reckon layers are about 1-2mm thick but cannot be sure without using MI.

They were debating whether to 'linger' for a day or so examing this arrea but they may not hang around this location for long as they want to push on to Victoria crater before martian winter really takes hold.

Couple more images on Opportunity page of these layers from - I think - a slightly closer viewpoint.Also, part of MER is showing so might be able use as 'rough ruler guide'?

Like you, the layering seems to have had some liquid (water?) mechanism involved.

Its all good stuff - whatever created this scene.

Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 03-04-2006 07:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
More close-up images of the outcrop released by NASA/JPL on MER Opportunity raw images pages.

Phill
spaceuk

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-18-2006 09:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover "Spirit" is now driving on five of its six wheels. From a NASA update:
On Spirit's 779th sol, or Martian day (March 13, 2006), the drive actuator on the right front wheel stalled during a turn to adjust the position of the rover's antennas...

Further analysis is needed to determine what caused the right front actuator to stop working. Meanwhile, the operations team has successfully commanded Spirit to drive using only 5 wheels. Engineers plan to have Spirit continue driving backward with five healthy wheels while dragging the right front wheel.

This setback comes as Spirit is in race to move to the north-facing slopes of "McCool Hill." Spirit will attempt to survive a second Martian winter on the side of the hill so that its solar panels are tilted toward the sun. On Friday, Spirit was still 390 feet (120 meters) from McCool and while the point of minimum sunshine is more than 100 days away, there already is only enough to power about one hour of driving on flat ground per day, the Associated Press reported JPL scientists as saying.


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