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Astro0
Well, with perhaps a few more weeks of tilt-enhancing drives to go and then settling in for the winter, I thought it might be a good time to have a thread dedicated to ideas and observations that will come. It's likely that we won't hear much from Spirit during the coldest part of winter (April-June) possibly longer. There'll hopefully be beeps to tell us that she's still alive.

Already there are plans for radio science and determining the fluidity or otherwise of the Martian core, plus weather observations, surface changes etc.
What else could you think of that Spirit could do? Remember that she's not going anywhere (vonBraun is out) wink.gif

In the meantime, have you sent your postcard to Spirit yet?! It's a great idea from the Mars outreach team.
http://beamartian.jpl.nasa.gov/spiritpostcards
What would you say to Spirit?
Click to view attachment
vikingmars
smile.gif Now, let's derive some experience from the mission of Viking Lander 1, an active static lander for 6.5 years...

We did :
1. digging trenches (soil analysis AND soil mechanics) ;
2. long-term surface change surveys ;
3. monitoring dust storms (at that time we were not aware of dust devils) ;
4. "Marsquakes" surveys ;
5. sky dynamics surveys (i.e. for opacity and search for clouds) ;
6. Phobos & De´mos imaging (i.e. also for dust opacity) ;
7. full 360░ hi-res panoramic pics taken : early morning (7:30 am), at noon, early afternoon (15:00 pm) and some sections at sunset (i.e. 17:00 pm) ;
8. meteorology (temperature + pressure + wind direction).

I think nearly all the same goals can be met with Spirit as a stationary lander, with :
- wheels and/or the IDD for (1) ;
- the cameras for (2), (3), (5), (6) and (7) ;
- the inertial measurement unit (which provides 3-axis information on position) for (4) if sensitive enough ;
- some heaters consumptions from which an outside temp can be derived for (8) and dust movements on the solar panels for long-term wind directions for (8) also...

Well... still a lot of GOOD SCIENCE to expect from Spirit !

AND.. let's imagine Spirit sending back to Earth spectacular images such as romantic full hi-res 360░ sunrise or sunset panoramas with rocks casting long shadows... rolleyes.gif

Now, let's have a "positive Spirit" ! smile.gif
Ant103
So, I think there is something cool to do about full 360░ pan. This is to do a super-res 360░ pan, in B&W taken with the L1/R1 filters (so blank) for the super-res and in the same with the full set of filter, and compose a super-res color pan. This will lead to have the biggest pan we ever had of Mars. This will be a pretty hard imagery mission but this is my "little dream" smile.gif.
Tesheiner
I would love to see such a "beast" panorama but I don't see it happening. sad.gif
The reason would be the lack of power / memory space / bandwidth to manage it in a reasonable timeframe.

PS: I suppose you mean L7/R1 filters.
elakdawalla
Maybe they can finally do that rover MI self-portrait though! Though I don't expect she'll have power to before winter sets in. First job is winter survival, then we can have all this stationary science.
cbcnasa
As a permanent station the ability to go back to a specific location over time might be an idea for study to visit several times for more specific study of data found. Is there any time line set up now?
Astro0
I know that they plan to look at microchanges in soil particle movement over time using the MI.
It'd be interesting if they could brush clean a conveniently located flat rock surface and then watch the dust deposition that occurs and particle movement over time.
NW71
I don't want to worry anyone but according to the latest report on the official site Spirit is down to 182W! ph34r.gif blink.gif
Mixer
QUOTE (NW71 @ Feb 4 2010, 12:30 PM) *
I don't want to worry anyone but according to the latest report on the official site Spirit is down to 182W! ph34r.gif blink.gif


Got a link?

mad.gif
alan
I guess that explains the absence of new images downloaded from the last few sols.
Tesheiner
Tasks were sequenced to be executed from 2162 up to 2165, including a drive on that latest sol which should be today, but no data has been downlinked since after sol 2161. My interpretation is that they are not making everyday UHF downlink sessions in order to store energy for this latest drive attempt.

RE the report, its an "old one" from a week ago. We may have a new one today or tomorrow.
Mixer
QUOTE (NW71 @ Feb 4 2010, 12:30 PM) *
I don't want to worry anyone but according to the latest report on the official site Spirit is down to 182W! ph34r.gif blink.gif


@Spirit followers.

May I please beg your humble forgiveness from my previous post, I wasn't trying to be agro NW71 I just picked a crappy emoticon to show my concern for our little buddy.

Hope no offense was caused.
NW71
Mixer, no offence taken!

To be fair, I should have posted the link, but I'm afraid my technical ability is very poor and thus I was unable to do so (I am working on it).

I think we've all slammed the desk or similar at some point recently following our brave Spirit rover! My dog Ben has never had so many walks!

Neil
serpens
QUOTE (NW71 @ Feb 4 2010, 02:30 AM) *
I don't want to worry anyone but according to the latest report on the official site Spirit is down to 182W! ph34r.gif blink.gif

Well deliberately manipulating a 10 degree tilt away from the sun will do that.
djellison
What gives you the idea that they've been intentionally tilting south? Anything other than a norther tilt is an unfortunate and unintentional side effect of extraction, or hope for improved northerly tilt
Poolio
He might have been alluding to Ashley's comment found in the latest TPS report:
QUOTE
"The strategy we have for Spirit getting the tilt better [takes us] through a couple of days of it getting worse before a turn around," Stroupe explained.

Tesheiner
I haven't seen any decrease in northern tilt for the time being.
And again. That 182Wh figure is from a week ago, sol 2158, before the last drive during sol 2161 where we saw an increase of the northern tilt.

Better wait for the next status report.
serpens
Indeed Poolio. From that report quote
'Spirit was slated to drive on 2161 (January 30, 2010) but the results were not available by presstime. The latest data clearly indicate the tilt to the north has degraded or gotten worse. "Before we started driving backwards, we were roughly at 4 degrees southerly tilt. Now, we're roughly in about 10 degrees southerly tilt," Matijevic informed last Friday. But this was expected and should be temporary.'
Sunspot
How low do they expect power levels to drop in terms of watts. Didn't Opportunity drop below 100W during the dust storm a year or so ago?
tanjent
With regard to the liquid/solid core question, that seems like something really fundamental and important that Spirit can accomplish in her remaining days. I'm not clear on all the details, but I understand that if the rover remains absolutely stationary for a long enough period, very precise measurements can be taken of the planet's rate of spin and precession of the spin axis, and from these conclusions can be drawn about what's going on inside. For a better understanding, I'd be interested to hear informed opinions on the following issues:

A. How long is "long enough"? Do I recall having seen an estimate of "six months" somewhere on the web?
B. Within that time period, does the experiment require a series of observations at regular intervals, or just one "before" and one "after" with no rover movement in between?
C. How will the rover's precise position be determined? Optically, with the use of Hi-Rise, or by some triangulation procedure involving the three working orbiters? Or is there some way to do it from Earth?
D. Just how much precision can be obtained with whatever method is to be used? It sounds like probably a resolution of centimeters is required, but even earth-based military grade GPS is not that accurate, is it?
E. Does the rover have to cease all other activities and remain perfectly motionless during the entire observation period for fear of introducing spurious motions into the experiment?
F. If the rover doesn't make it through the winter, can the experiment be concluded passively by a "dead" rover?

(Sorry about that last one everybody, but really, what more could any of us wish for than to be able to continue doing worthwhile work in the afterlife...)

djellison
A - Six months is what I have seen as well
B - A series, I believe.
C - DDOR from the DSN. It's accurate to an extraordinary degree (and is nothing like GPS)
D - Centimetres is what they need, and what they'll get.
E - It's a case of not moving. The arm and camera past can, I presume, still be used.
F - No. It's a case of tracking the radio signal it's transmitting. No transmission, no experiment.
tanjent
I remember in grade school, we learned to spin the Easter Eggs on the table to determine if they were hard-boiled or not. This must be a planetary-scale variant of the same technique. (All you out-reachers take note!)
elakdawalla
One small correction -- I've been told Spirit can actually roll a few centimeters while the experiment is still going on, so there could be motion first thing in spring when power levels start going back up.
Poolio
Spirit had an all time low of 86 whr during the regional dust storm of November 2008. That's an unsustainable level of course, but it only lasted for a few days and Spirit was able to live off her batteries until the situation improved.

I think Opportunity's lowest power level was around 128 whr during the global storm in July 2007.

I don't know how low they expect the power levels to get for Spirit this winter, but I would imagine it doesn't matter that much. Whether the batteries take three days or three weeks to drain, she will still need to endure some lengthy period of being subjected to the unmitigated chill of winter.
Poolio
Thinking about the "hibernation" period for Spirit some more, I have a couple questions. Forgive me if these have been covered before; I don't recall seeing anything...

Once she has "shut down" and is hibernating, is it correct to assume that Spirit will not be consuming any power? If so, wouldn't that mean that what little power the panels do generate each day (whether its 10 whr or 100) would go into charging the batteries? And if that's the case, could we expect Spirit to wake up periodically throughout the winter and try to make contact? (Even though the simple act of waking up may prompt her to trip a low-power fault again.)

During any brief periods of wakefulness, would the computers generate enough heat to provide some warmth to the WEB? And (finally!) would such temperature cycles be helpful or harmful to her chances of long term survival?

Sorry for all the hypotheticals. I know that the hibernation period has been discussed, but I don't recall seeing anything about the possible effects of cyclic sleeping and waking.
djellison
QUOTE (Poolio @ Feb 12 2010, 03:55 PM) *
is it correct to assume that Spirit will not be consuming any power? .......would the computers generate enough heat to provide some warmth to the WEB? And (finally!) would such temperature cycles be helpful or harmful to her chances of long term survival?


Back in the pre-Victoria entry power crisis, but that was nearly 3 years ago, so I'm working off unreliable memories here...

These documents may help :
http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/handle/2014/13037
http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/handle/2014/13105
http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/handle/2014/37750
http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/handle/2014/17736

in particular
QUOTE
The response to low batteries or power faults does not use the scheduled communication windows. If the rover is awake when a low battery situation occurs, the flight software has 60 seconds to quickly shut down before the BCB removes the batteries from the power bus. If it is nighttime when the BCB detects a low battery condition, the BCB takes the battery offline and the power bus crashes. Eventually, when the sun rises, the solar array power supports the bus and the BCB. As the batteries charge back up, the BCB puts them back online to support the bus. At the next solar wakeup, the flight software schedules one LGA communication window at a predetermined hour (11:00 LST) to report to Earth. No UHF windows are attempted because these usually occur in the early morning or late afternoon, when the available solar power is low. The vehicle remains in this configuration (with autonomous shutdown mode active, in receive mode via the LGA, performing one DTE window per day) until the operations team reconfigures the vehicle to resume normal operations


As I understand it, the Rover Battery Control Board ( RBCB / BCB ) remains on - managing and measuring the power generated by the arrays and the battery, and issuing wakeup to the main computer based on either a specific power being generated or a timer.

How, exactly, this will tie in to brown outs, low power faults etc, I don't know

Also - there are RHU's within the WEB to generate a certain ammount of heat.

As for thermal cycles, every single day-night cycle is a thermal cycle and every single one runs the risk of a solder fracturing or a wire breaking.
fredk
QUOTE (Sunspot @ Feb 12 2010, 01:05 PM) *
How low do they expect power levels to drop in terms of watts. Didn't Opportunity drop below 100W during the dust storm a year or so ago?

Another point to always keep in mind is that previous lows during dust storms were during the warm summer, when the heating power requirements were less than during winter. So 100 Whrs for Spirit this winter isn't the same as 100 Whrs for her in the summer.
fredk
Some details in this update. It looks like preparations for the winter, and the stationary science campaign have begun:
QUOTE
This week the rover team is uploading schedules to Spirit for when to communicate with Earth or with the orbiting Mars Odyssey during the rest of this year and into 2011. Spirit will use these schedules whenever it has adequate power to wake up. Spirit will take a set of "before" images of surroundings from the parked position this week, for comparison with images in the Martian spring to study effects of wind. Images toward the south will also aid preparations for possible future drives... Other preparations for winter will include putting the robotic arm into a position for studies of atmospheric composition when power is available and changing the stow positions of the high-gain antenna and panoramic camera to minimize shadowing of the solar panels.
Stu
Guess that's it, then; our girl is hunkering down for the long, hard winter. But we'll keep her company here, on UMSF, that's for sure.

The rubbing sound you can hear is the sound of thousands and thousands of fingers around the world being crossed.
marsophile
I assume there is no danger of the flash memory anomaly returning while Spirit is incommunicado?
ElkGroveDan
The flash memory anomaly is now very well understood and there is a lot of easy to find discussion of it.

The short answer is, no. The programming error that caused the flash memory to fill up was fixed on both rovers once the problem was identified. There is no chance of that particular problem of ever recurring.
Paolo
Is there anything published about Spirit's "moment of inertia" experiment? I can't find anything...
Poolio
Wow, Doug, thanks for all the relevant info. I will delve into those documents in my copious free time (!), but the quote you highlighted and your follow-on comments were very illuminating.

So the rover does consume a minimal amount of power and the BCB "stays awake" even during hibernation. This also explains questions I had about how the rover wakes up -- what triggers the event that prompts the comm attempt. This must be different from Phoenix who suffered no sunlight and therefore no power for many months. I assume that if you dropped Spirit into the arctic circle at winter, she would become irrevocably dead.

The excerpt also sheds some light on the latest JPL update that talks about adjusting the comm window for the winter. And somehow I never knew that the rovers had RHU's in their bellies.... So there are 8 RHU's generating 1 W each. Winter temps are expected to reach -40C. Does anyone know what the resulting temperature would be in the WEB given these parameters?
imipak
When I win the lottery, I'm funding a start-up to develop immortal batteries, capable of surviving months of no charge and then recharging. Oh, and electronic components capable of surviving, say, 200 degree thermal cycles indefinitely. Hopefully there'll be enough left over for Doug's pony, too wink.gif
briv1016
There are 801.9 Mb of imagery data and an unknown amount of spectroscopy and telemetry data stored in flash. Since flash is volatile memory, will it be cleared if a low power fault is tripped?
PaulM
QUOTE (briv1016 @ Feb 14 2010, 06:55 AM) *
There are 801.9 Mb of imagery data and an unknown amount of spectroscopy and telemetry data stored in flash. Since flash is volatile memory, will it be cleared if a low power fault is tripped?

Flash is none-volatile memory. I do not believe that so much data could have built up in Flash if it was volatle. I presume that much of this data predates that last time that Spirit was told to sleep overnight and so would have been cleared if flash was volatile.

I guess that many of these pictures were taken in a search for dust devils and represent frames in which no dust devils were found. dd.gif They may therefore never be returned to Earth.
briv1016
My bad. For some reason I thought that the flash memory was volatile. rolleyes.gif
Explorer1
Greetings everyone. Longtime lurker here (since the mer.rlproject.com days!) and I finally have a question that I can't find the answer too. Here goes:

The Viking landers lasted for many years on the Martian surface, immobile. Is there some technical reason their comm. data cannot be used for measurements of Mars's interior, like the long-term plans are for Spirit? I'm just asking because I find it hard to believe that no one would use that 30+ year old data to do the same things we're doing now. There must be some good reason they can't be used.

Thanks, and keep up the good work keeping this place great! smile.gif
djellison
MI Pan now she's parked up. Others will do a far better job of sharpening these images up smile.gif
sgendreau
QUOTE (Explorer1 @ Feb 14 2010, 12:23 PM) *
The Viking landers lasted for many years on the Martian surface, immobile. Is there some technical reason their comm. data cannot be used for measurements of Mars's interior, like the long-term plans are for Spirit?


I believe Squyres said in one of his interviews that the Vikings did not collect the appropriate type of data. Sorry, no link.
Eluchil
QUOTE (Explorer1 @ Feb 14 2010, 08:23 PM) *
The Viking landers lasted for many years on the Martian surface, immobile. Is there some technical reason their comm. data cannot be used for measurements of Mars's interior, like the long-term plans are for Spirit?


My understanding of the experiment is that what they will be looking at is the DSN tracking data rather than anything generated on-board Spirit herself. Thus, we'd have to look to upgrades to the DSN or improved knowledge of Earth's rotation and orbit for the explanation. It's a good question though.

Eluchil
elakdawalla
I asked Squyres about past landers during the January press briefing (when prodded to by Doug!). He said that the Viking radio system wasn't the right type to permit the precise tracking required. They had S-band radio, the rovers use X-band. I think that's the reason. They did do tracking with Pathfinder, but the mission didn't last long enough.

--Emily
Explorer1
Well that explains it. Thanks for the quick reply! Hopefully Spirit will last long enough to be able to do this.
ddeerrff
QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Feb 14 2010, 04:36 PM) *
wasn't the right type to permit the precise tracking required. They had S-band radio, the rovers use X-band.


Are they making some of the new measurement using Doppler? Perhaps the Viking S-band radios didn't have sufficient frequency stability.
elakdawalla
That would make sense. I don't know, though.
PDP8E
Here is the MI images of the final parking spot of Spirit
(as Doug said, others may do a better job of sharpening... mine has brightness discontinuities between images...oh well!)

Click to view attachment
Stu
Couple of new 3D views here...

http://twitpic.com/13dfni

http://twitpic.com/13dfrz

And a new blog post here: http://cumbriansky.wordpress.com/2010/02/1...soon-will-sleep

Don't read it if you're not a fully paid up member of the Rover Hugger Club; you'll just upset yourself. wheel.gif
Explorer1
QUOTE (Stu @ Feb 15 2010, 12:08 AM) *
Don't read it if you're not a fully paid up member of the Rover Hugger Club; you'll just upset yourself. wheel.gif


....Wow!

That sure makes me glad we have two of them!
But I'm hoping some trick of fate will give Spirit a fighting chance, too.

i.e. dd.gif
Stu
It's been said before, and often - Don't bet against Spirit, it's a great way of losing money...

Spirit's adventure is far from over yet, of that I'm sure. smile.gif
Paolo
QUOTE (elakdawalla @ Feb 15 2010, 12:36 AM) *
They had S-band radio, the rovers use X-band. I think that's the reason. They did do tracking with Pathfinder, but the mission didn't last long enough.


Results from Pathfinder were published in Interior Structure and Seasonal Mass Redistribution of Mars from Radio Tracking of Mars Pathfinder

the "superiority" MPF's (and Spirit's) X-band over Viking's S-band is explained in note 8:

QUOTE
The Pathfinder radio system operates at X band (8 GHz) compared with the S-band (2 GHz) radio system used by the Viking landers. The Doppler data noise caused by solar plasma is inversely proportional to the square of the radio frequency. The Pathfinder Doppler data have about 13 times less noise than the Viking lander Doppler data. The Doppler data noise is about 0.05 mm/s for data at 60-s intervals. The solar plasma also affects the round-trip range measurements. Calibrations for the solar plasma for some of the Viking lander data were determined from dual-frequency observations of the Viking orbiters. The Viking ranging data have a residual noise of ~7 m for data with orbiter calibrations and ~12 m for data with no orbiter calibrations. The Pathfinder ranging data taken so far have residuals of ~3 m.
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