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  Satellites - Robotic Probes
  Mars Exploration Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity (Page 9)

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Author Topic:   Mars Exploration Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity
spaceuk
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posted 03-26-2006 05:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Opportunity has finally left crater Erebus behind and is now traversing toward the large crater Victoria.

Phill

spaceuk
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posted 04-02-2006 05:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Opprtunity is now just over 1 mile from Victoria so we may start seeing it in pancam images shortly?

Spirit struggling with trailing duff wheel and is slipping badly in loose soil at present location.

Phill
spaceuk

Philip
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posted 04-21-2006 12:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Exciting times

tegwilym
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posted 04-21-2006 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Philip:
Exciting times

Agreed! I still check the MER website every day to see what is new. Unfortunately, they don't update the site often enough anymore.

They just keep going and going. Hopefully we'll get a another good dust devil passing over Sprit and help out with the battry charging.

Blackarrow
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posted 04-22-2006 08:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have heard from a very reliable source that NASA are deeply embarrassed that the Martian rovers won't "do the decent thing" and stop transmitting. In fact, they are so embarrassed by these two elderly probes using up much-needed bandwidth that they are planning to send a team of astronauts to Mars next year to switch them off. The mission will be launched on 1st April, 2007.

tegwilym
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posted 04-24-2006 02:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Blackarrow:
they are planning to send a team of astronauts to Mars next year to switch them off. The mission will be launched on 1st April, 2007.

Hmmm...outsourced to China possibly?

spaceuk
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posted 04-27-2006 11:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Opportunity is now only about 0.75 mile from Victoria crater .

Were still not seeing any good visuals of the crater slopes - which suggest probably very shallow rise to crater rim ?

Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 04-27-2006 11:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of reasons we don't get many images from Spirit is that it is 'parked' to sit-out the martian winter at its location.

Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 05-05-2006 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
JPl have said they believe they can 'see' Victoria crater:
OPPORTUNITY 'Victoria' in View - sol 804-810, May 04, 2006:

Opportunity executed a three-sol examination of "Brookville" outcrop with tools on the robotic arm. This work included microscopic imaging, a brushing, 16 total hours of integrated data gathering with the Mössbauer spectrometer, and an overnight integration with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer. Then Opportunity stowed its arm and drove 107 meters (351 feet) in three sols, reaching a point estimated to be 1,279 meters (less than eight-tenths of a mile) from "Victoria Crater." The team believes the rim of the crater is becoming visible in a vertically stretched image looking south.

Yippeeee!!!

Phill

spaceuk
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posted 05-06-2006 10:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
JPL issued a labelled image of Victoria from Opportunity.

Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 05-10-2006 12:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looking at latest raw images looks like only a couple hundred metres go to rim of Victoria.

Phill

spaceuk
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posted 05-17-2006 11:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Latest traverse map released by JPL shows Opportunity to be on the home run to Victoria.

About 750 metres from the base of the dark flank of the crater and probably about 100 metres from the craggy rim.

Phill

tegwilym
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posted 05-18-2006 11:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cool. I've been tracking those rovers ever since they bounced down. It's a shame that they aren't publicized more. Most people have forgotten about them, and they are still sending back amazing stuff!

I'm looking forward to the big panorama from Spirit of it's winter nest, but it will probably be a couple more weeks or so.

Tom

spaceuk
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posted 06-01-2006 12:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Latest images show wheels of Opportunity nearly bogged down again in the soft 'dune' material near Victoria crater.

Its obviously going be hard going to get to rim of Victoria if the slopes are of this softer dune type material?

Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 06-03-2006 06:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Opportunity did get stuck in the dunes.

Here is a summary what JPL say:

Digging Out of the Dune- sol 833-837, June 1, 2006:

Opportunity is less than a kilometer (just over half a mile) from "Victoria Crater." During the last planned drive on sol 833, the rover became embedded in a soft dune. As designed, the drive was stopped by a slip check. The extraction process began on sol 836, with 5 meters (16 feet) of commanded motion, and 9 centimeters (3.5 inches) of actual forward progress. The results are encouraging, and extraction will continue on Friday (June 2, 2006) and over the weekend if necessary. Opportunity is otherwise healthy and continues to conduct atmospheric and targeted remote sensing on the path south.

Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 06-07-2006 11:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like Opportunity is out of its rut - since latest images showing wheels on top of surface (rather than buried waist deep) and rear hazcam shows the deep rutted tracks where it got stuck.

So - here's hoping a new route to Victoria can now be plotted.

Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 06-15-2006 01:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I feel like the little child in the back seat of a vehicle heading for the sand dune many miles distant and shouting at the driver "Are we there yet; Are we there yet?!" That's how this journey to Victoria seems to be getting with Opportunity.

But, wait - yes we can see the rim of the crater much clearer now in the latest views so it should not be long when the "child" inside me can gaze upon the new wonderments that will hopefully unfold in a few weeks time at Victoria.

Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 06-21-2006 06:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Latest images showing Victoria target in Opportunity view - possibly just a few more hundred feet and then its there!

Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 07-12-2006 10:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like Opportunity is struggling again as it it wends its way across the dunes towards Victoria.

Latest images show deep ruts where Opportunity tried to traverse across a lower level of a dune but has backed out again.

Phill

Philip
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posted 07-14-2006 03:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Don't forget it's already 30 months on the red planet... it was originally built to last 3 months.

tegwilym
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posted 07-17-2006 11:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Amazing they keep going. It seems they are both doing well still despite a few minor things. I'm looking forward to seeing the big panarama photo that Spririt has been working on this winter (winter at Gusev Crater that is)...

Let's hope for some more dust devil hits to blow off the panels again!

Tom

spaceuk
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posted 08-12-2006 01:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One science paper recently published reckons that the dust devils are responsible for creating peroxides on Mars and that these would inhibit any form of life (as we know it) on Mars from forming.

spaceuk
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posted 08-12-2006 01:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some of the images from around Beagle cratre taken by Opportunity are fascinating in a geological sense.

Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 08-18-2006 07:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The trek to Victoria is taking longer than anticipated because of the 'hummocky' dune terrain and the frequent stops at and around the fascinating geology at Beagle crater.

spaceuk
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posted 08-23-2006 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
MER Opportunity is now on the lower reaches of the flank of Victoria and is just under 400 metres from the rim edge.

Phill
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tegwilym
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posted 08-23-2006 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cool! Has anyone heard when Spirit's huge panarama image will be released? I read that they were just filling in the gaps between images lately.

Tom

spaceuk
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posted 08-24-2006 01:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some latest raw images from Opportunity are now clearly showing the white crest of part of Victoria's rim.

Phill
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Blackarrow
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posted 08-24-2006 05:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
STILL 400 metres from the rim?? Opportunity seems to have been 400 metres from the rim of Victoria crater for the last nine months. I'll check back next year. (By the way, for the benefit of other members of the Anti Metric League, that's about 1,310 feet or about three and a half Saturn V's laid end to end).

spaceuk
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posted 09-04-2006 05:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The fact that Opportunity is in the vicinity of Victoria crater at all is a plus point . The original mission planning never called for the robot to survive this long nor to have explored the surface over such a long distance.

Every day that the two MER's operate is another day of opportunity to try and better understand the environment - especially the geology - of Mars.

Of course we all want to peek over the rim into Victoria crater but there is loads of geology along the way that needs data collecting. Its important to try and determine if the crater annulus layers are soils and rocks from inside the crater or whether they are 'disturbed' areas of the underlying rock or even a mix of both. These are science robots not mobile tourist web cams - although they have increased public awareness of Mars.

And, don't forget power is still restricted as it still is 'winter' on Mars at moment.

Phill
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Blackarrow
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posted 09-04-2006 06:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Phill, I will immediately remove my tongue from my cheek.

But on a more serious note, it is precisely because Opportunity has survived so long past her "sell-by date" that I am anxious to see greater progress to the crater rim. I can't believe that the science on the flat plain is more important than the science which will be possible on the rim and -with luck - inside the crater. Besides, it is the urge to see what is round the next bend (or inside the next crater) that defines us as a species. If you are familiar with "The Tinder Box" by Hans Christian Anderson, you will understand if I compare what Opportunity has been doing on the plain with filling your pockets with copper coins while heading for the room full of gold coins.

spaceuk
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posted 09-06-2006 04:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
BlackArrow - I understand your eagerness - mine's the same but the geologist in me gets the upperside of me.

The last Rover Team update says Opportunity is healthy and still 218 meters (715 feet) from "Victoria Crater." Over the weekend, the rover's shoulder azimuth joint stalled as Opportunity was trying to start measurements on a trench it dug on Sol 919 (Aug. 25, 2006), But, that is now working succesfully and cause was unknown so far.

What I find interesting in last few days images is that the haematite (?) spheres seem to form a very thin layer on the annulus of Victoria crater - as the underlying white bedrock shows up very clearly in Opportunity tracks. It is not a deep layer which I thought may have been the case due to 'impact'(?) that formed Victoria crater throwing interior soil outward? Maybe it did but the soil arced away to some distance 'up and over' what is now the rim? It'll be interesting see whether this thin layer is maintained to the rim.

Phill
spaceuk

Blackarrow
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posted 09-06-2006 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Phill, I do sympathise with your point of view (I'm a lawyer by profession but a bit of an amateur geologist at heart!) but I'm always reminded of what happened at Tranquillity Base. So little time, so many scientific tasks to accomplish. The result? No proper photographs of the first man on the Moon. 37 years later, who would argue that a couple of good quality pictures of Armstrong on the Moon would have been far more important than some of those science tasks.

spaceuk
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posted 09-07-2006 11:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Opportunity almost on edge of rim of Victoria at sol 930 into its 'mission'.

Phill
spaceuk

spaceuk
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posted 09-17-2006 10:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A problem with robotic arm (not serious) has slowed progress and a contact at JPL says that Opportunity should now reach Victoria crater edge on 22nd September.

Phill
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Scott
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posted 09-18-2006 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think this brand new Opportunity image shows the rim of Victoria in the distance.

Can't wait!

spaceuk
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posted 09-18-2006 12:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Opportunity MER is expected to arrive at rim on 22 Sept after having a minor problem with robotic arm which slowed down events slightly.

Phill
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tegwilym
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posted 09-18-2006 12:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

It seems that crater rim is always way off in the horizon!

spaceuk
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posted 09-19-2006 11:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Opportunity is now within 100 metres of the rim and looks like 22nd sept is the date to begin perering over the rim

Blackarrow
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posted 09-19-2006 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
327 feet to go!

tegwilym
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posted 09-19-2006 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's SO CLOSE!! No obstacles in the way, put the pedal to the metal and get over there. Stop torturing us with these rim views... *sigh*


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