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Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Opportunity's Health: OK

The first postcard sent by Opportunity.
The first postcard sent by Opportunity.
Credit: NASA/JPL
Yesterday, Opportunity tested many systems and instruments and passed with excellence. It sent back a "postcard" showing the little crater it is in and the soil that became bright when the rover impacted it. "We're looking out across a pretty spectacular landscape," said Dr. Jim Bell lead scientist for the panoramic cameras The MER's. "It's going to be a wonderful area for geologists to explore with the rover." Opportunity is completing taking a 360degree panoramic photo for scientists. It has also begun to use its high gain antenna for direct, fast baud, communication with Earth. By seeing where the sun was, the on board computer figured out where earth was. The Moessbauer spectrometer had scientists worried because en-route, its internal calibration system was misbehaving; it is now fine. "We have a perfectly functioning Moessbauer spectrometer, and given that we are now perched atop the hematite capital of the Solar System, that's a good thing," Steve Squyres said.

"We have a patient in rehab, and we're nursing her back to health," said JPL's Jennifer Trosper, mission manager, about Spirit. Spirit is now in a mode that does not use the FLASH memory. JPL is now trying to delete files stored from the trek to Mars, to lessen the strain on the file management software.

(More info: NASA/JPL)

- posted by Jim @ 8:53 EST