SPIRIT UPDATE: Busy with the Robotic Arm – sol 422-429
After some accumulated dust was blown off of Spirit’s solar panels on sol 420 (March 9, 2005), the rover has been producing over 800 watt-hours of energy per sol, about twice as much as before the solar-array cleaning event. All that extra power has allowed Spirit to do a very aggressive scientific campaign at a soil patch dubbed “Paso Robles 2” with the instruments on the robotic arm. The rover team planned to wrap up the robotic arm work and send Spirit driving again on sol 431.
Between sols 416 and 418, the front hazard-avoidance cameras showed signs of dust contamination. Images from sol 420 indicate that the left front hazard-avoidance camera has been mostly cleaned off.
On sol 421, Spirit drove and took images that caught a dust devil in action!
On sols 422 and 423, Spirit collected atmospheric-science and other remote-sensing observations. Spirit also performed a dust calibration with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.
On sol 424, Spirit drove to “Paso Robles2” and scuffed the surface with its wheels.
On sols 425 and 426, Spirit made some remote-sensing observations. On sol 426, Spirit also used the microscopic imager to take pictures of “Big Clod” and “Bitty Clod.” Spirit also studied a target informally called “Paso Dark” with the MÃ¶ssbauer spectrometer and a target called “Paso Light” with the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer.
On sol 427, Spirit used the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer and the MÃ¶ssbauer spectrometer again on Paso Dark. Spirit also took pictures of Paso Light and Paso Dark with the microscopic imager.
On sol 428, Spirit did targeted remote sensing and placed the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer on “Ben’s Clod” and the MÃ¶ssbauer spectrometer on Paso Light.
On sol 429 (March 18, 2005), Spirit swept the surface of Ben’s Clod with the brush of the rock abrasion tool and took before-and-after shots of the area with the microscopic imager. Spirit also completed a short MÃ¶ssbauer spectrometer reading on Paso Dark and an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer reading on Ben’s Clod.