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Sunday, February 1, 2004



Spirit OK, Opportunity "rolled off"

Challenger Memorial Station.
Challenger Memorial Station.
Credit: NASA
Spirit has recovered and is resuming its scientific mission. Using its Mössbauer spectrometer, it has analyzed the composition of the Adirondack rock. "What made us extremely happy when we saw the graph for the first time were the small peaks," said Dr. Bodo Bernhardt, a member of the rover science team from the University of Mainz, Germany, which provided the instrument. Olivine, pyroxene and magnetite are represented by these peaks, a composition common to volcanic basalt rock on Earth. NASA is now planning on using the Rock Abrasion Tool to further study the rock.

Engineers are still planning on erasing the FLASH memory to allow the rover to run in "Normal" mode.

In other news, Opportunity has rolled off Challenger Memorial Station and onto the surface of Mars. It has returned info that indicated that crystalline hematite (which, on Earth, is created in wet conditions) is present, the reason the site was selected. "We're two for two! One dozen wheels on the soil." JPL's Chris Lewicki, flight director, announced to the control room. Matt Wallace, mission manager said, "We knew it was going to be a good day. The rover woke up fit and healthy to Bruce Springsteen's 'Born to Run,' and it turned out to be a good choice." Opportunity is on the surface of Mars 5 days faster than its twin Spirit was.

(More info: NASA.gov)


- posted by Jim @ 11:48 EST