Good morning. My name is Joel Signorelli and this is the flight director’s report for the eigth of June.
For Opportunity, it’s sol 843. Now ten sols ago, Opportunity got embedded in a sand ripple. Now by embedding we mean, the vehicle basically got stuck. We commanded the vehicle to move forward and instead of riding on top of the soil, the wheels actually dig in and the vehicle sinks and we make no forward progress or very little forward progress at all. The vehicle realized it wass doing this and actually terminated its drive.
So, for a couple of sols we analysed the situation and took imaging around the vehicle to see what the situation was. And on sol 836, we started the difficult process of commanding the vehicle to go backwards. By difficult for example, I mean on one sol we commanded the vehicle to move then meters, but it only actually got to move around nine centimetres so it’s not making much backward progress. So after six sols of doing this, I am happy to report the vehicle is actually free of the sand ripple and is sitting happily on a nice piece of rock.
Now the last time this happened on Opportunity, was on sol 446 at a place called ‘Purgatory’. And back then it took 30 driving days going backwards to actually get out of the dune. So you could say we are learning as we go along how to drive better on the Martian landscape.
Now for Spirit it’s sol 864. And Spirit is working off one by one all the items on its winter science campaign. Doing such things this week like sampling soil from a sample called ‘Progress’ and we are also continuing on our ‘McMurdo’ pan. We finished 18 of the planned 27 columns or segments of this panorama.
That’s it for now, my name is Joel Signorelli and that’s what’s been happening on Mars.