Hello, this is Bill Nelson and Iím providing the Flight Directorís Report for the Mars Exploration Rovers for Tuesday, September 27.
On Spirit, today is the beginning of the day of sol 617. Spirit is at the summit of Husband Hill above the plains of Gusev Crater. Over the weekend, Spirit calibrated her Moessbauer and APXS spectrometers using a piece of earth rock of known composition. She used her Mini-TES to study the composition and texture of summit rocks and to study the temperature profile of the atmosphere over the course of each sol.
She used her Pancam to image the summit area and the Tennessee Valley to the northwest of the summit. This provides color and texture information that will help us identify the rocks found there. Spirit also took a series of pictures called a dust devil movie. Sometimes we see them, sometimes we donít .
On sol 616 Spirit drove towards the Hillary outcrop at Whittaker rock. Overnight she became an astronomical observatory and imaged Deimos and Phobos, the two small Martian moons.
On sol 617, the plan is to drive closer to the Hillary outcrop to image it in detail and then to drive along the clear area in front of it to dog-leg and come up on top of it for further imaging.
On the other side of the planet for Opportunity, today is the early evening for sol 596. Opportunity is among the dunes and sand ripples of Meridiani Planum, just north of Erebus Crater. Over the weekend, Opportunity used her Mini-TES, APXS spectrometer and cameras to study the color, texture, composition and mineralogy of outcrop found between the dunes. She also used her camera to study the near rim and far wall of Erebus Crater, her next major goal. And like Spirit, she used her Mini-TES to study the atmospheric temperature profile and to do cloud studies.
On sol 597, the plan is to jog north to another piece of outcrop known as Erebus Road for a drive towards Erebus Crater. By driving on outcrops she minimizes her chance of being stuck in the sand dunes.
And thatís whatís happening on Mars today.