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Thursday, February 19, 2004



MER Update

This sharp, close-up image taken by the microscopic imager on Opportunity shows a rock target dubbed
This sharp, close-up image taken by the microscopic imager on Opportunity shows a rock target dubbed "Robert E."
Credit: NASA/JPL
Sorry about the update lag; life intervened.

Both rovers can now drive themselves. Using their cameras and sensors they only need to be told were to end up. The rovers crater's are at 1.95 degrees south latitude and 354.47 degrees east longitude for Opportunity and Spirit's is at 14.57 degrees south latitude and 175.47 degrees east longitude.

Both rovers have been looking at many rocks and driving further from their landers than Pathfinders total distance.

The rovers are capable of digging trenches about 50 centimeters long and 10 centimeters deep. This surprising amount allows more "depth" in the rover's studies. The MI's have returned images of round spheres and Spirit is transmitting at 256Kbps.

An international, interplanetary "internet" has been established as well. JPL sent it's commands to Germany, who sent it to Mars Express, who sent it to the MER's, who replied to the Deep Space Network (another international group). "This is excellent news," said JPL's Richard Horttor, project manager for NASA's role in Mars Express. "The communication sessions between Mars Express and Spirit were pristine. Not a single bit of data was missing or added, and there were no duplications." This is the first time the agencies have used each otherís equipment to communicate with each other.

(More info: JPL/NASA)


- posted by Jim @ 15:17 EST