Spirit Mission 2009 and onward

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3488

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Hi abq_farside,

Yes it is quite a book, I have read it several times.

Also worth obtaining 'Postcards from Mars' by Jim Bell, though I hope there will be a follow up as that goes up to about Sol 820 for Spirit, so he's got 1,190 sols to catch up on. :mrgreen:

The colouring is about right, orangish skies with a reddish / orangish surface.

Andrew Brown.
 
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MeteorWayne

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http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0909/18spirit/

The Mars rover Spirit engineering team trying to free the spacecraft from the sand trap that halted driving five months ago is becoming more realistic, if not pessimistic, about whether this marvel of the U.S. space program will ever rove again.

"Tests on Earth simulating Spirit's predicament on Mars have reinforced understanding that getting Spirit to rove again will be very difficult," says a new rover status report issued by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"There is a very real possibility that Spirit may not be able to get out," says John Callas, rover project manager.
 
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mark_d_s

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I missed the chance to submit a question to Ashley Stoupe - and I just thought of a possible solution.

How about using the arm to push smaller stones into the pit around the wheel? This would help compact the material underneath it, and also give better traction. This is a trick used by farmers in the wet - fill the mud tracks with and stony material.

Thoughts anyone?
 
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scottb50

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MeteorWayne":2cq8uyg5 said:
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0909/18spirit/

The Mars rover Spirit engineering team trying to free the spacecraft from the sand trap that halted driving five months ago is becoming more realistic, if not pessimistic, about whether this marvel of the U.S. space program will ever rove again.

"Tests on Earth simulating Spirit's predicament on Mars have reinforced understanding that getting Spirit to rove again will be very difficult," says a new rover status report issued by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"There is a very real possibility that Spirit may not be able to get out," says John Callas, rover project manager.
It seems high time to come to that conclusion. Fortunately there is a lot within reach to test and as long as power holds out to keep up the work it should be kept alive.
 
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centsworth_II

Guest
"There is a very real possibility that Spirit may not be able to get out," says John Callas, rover project manager.
scottb50":15oa2v4z said:
It seems high time to come to that conclusion....
Spirit may get out, or it may not. Since doing all the testing on Earth, they have not even tried anything yet on Mars. When John Callas says, "...there is a very real possibility that Spirit may not be able to get out," I wonder if he has a percentage chance in mind. A fifty percent chance of not getting out is "a very real possibility", but that also leaves a fifty percent chance of getting out.

In any case, I'm sure he would take exception to anyone interpreting that remark as meaning 'Spirit will not get out' or even as 'Spirit probably will not get out.'
 
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MeteorWayne

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I think what it says is that nothing that they have tried on earth so far indicates the slightest chance of getting out of their prediciment on Mars.

And I'm not sure there is that much new science to be done with where it is trapped. IIRC, it's not a good alignment for winter power.

If that's the case, might it not be better to keep a very minimal meteorology mission going, and dedicate the money for the other instruments to future Mars missions? How many times can you use the spectrometer on the same piece of sand and get new results?

I know we all love our little rovers, but you have to at some point consider the "bang for the buck" factor. And where the money might be better spent.
MW
 
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centsworth_II

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MeteorWayne":2icz1jzs said:
I think what it says is that nothing that they have tried on earth so far indicates the slightest chance of getting out of their prediciment on Mars.
There are so many variables and unknowns on Mars that it's a waste of time to speculate what the attempts to move Spirit, once they start, will yield. We just have to wait and see. We can speculate on the success of an event that has not taken place. But draw conclusions from a not yet performed experiment? :lol:
 
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MeteorWayne

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What I ams saying is that the earth team that plans maneuvers seems to have come to the conclusion it's near hopeless. If that's the case, it's unlikely they will even try. If there's a small chance of success, they will. The former seems to be what we are hearing at the moment.
 
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centsworth_II

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MeteorWayne":3cxp29ao said:
What I am saying is that the earth team that plans maneuvers seems to have come to the conclusion it's near hopeless...
From the paragraph before the famous "real possibility" statement:
"A complete 'dress rehearsal' test of the extrication strategy judged to hold the best chance of success is planned in the test setup at JPL before the team commands Spirit to begin driving. That test and subsequent review of its results are expected to take several weeks. Moves by Spirit will not begin before October, according to current plans."
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/freespirit/

The Earth team is "several weeks" away from coming to a conclusion and it doesn't seem to me like they have.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Yeah, I guess we'll just have to see. It's just my pragmatic gut feeling, which is just that, a feeling :)
Maybe Ashley will shed some light on the issue during today's live chat.
 
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doublehelix

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Thought you guys might enjoy this, as it involves Spirit. It is pretty cool:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7Sce-EHTRs[/youtube]

From the website:

About 18 months ago Doug Ellison from UnmannedSpaceflight.com created a flyover of the Columbia Hills on Mars using data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Spirit, the Mars rover. He's now done a 2.0 version to mark Spirit's recent birthday — she's been on Mars for 3 Martian years. Ellison made the skies a little hazier to mark the moderate dust storm that occurred recently and put Spirit in her current predicament, stuck in the sandy soil near Home Plate. Additionally, he added music and an intro credit page to avoid it being badly credited, (which happened when it was posted on Astronomy Picture of the Day in May of 2008) as well as a map at the end to show where Spirit has been all this time. If you saw the first version, this one is even better. If you haven't seen it before, prepare to be amazed.
It's best at full screen mode.

-dh
 
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abq_farside

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doublehelix":1j0h0igo said:
Thought you guys might enjoy this, as it involves Spirit. It is pretty cool:

-dh
I could not get it to load here or on YouTube but did down load it from here. That was very nice. :cool:

From the Doug Ellison site is a link to this Interactive 3D Mars Visualization video.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oBYQaKo74A[/youtube]
 
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centsworth_II

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"There is a very real possibility that Spirit may not be able to get out," says John Callas, rover project manager.
This quote got a lot of attention in this thread. Now there are some more optimistic quotes to consider from the latest
Planetary Society Rover Update.

Keeping in mind that NOBODY knows what the situation will be one or two months from now, this shows that the team is nowhere near throwing in the towel. :D

“We have an exit plan,” [project scientist] Arvidson announced.

“...we have finally settled on the plan for extracting Spirit from Troy,” added [lead scientist] Squires.

"We're at the ready in that ready-set-go mode," described Nelson [chief engineer]. "We've got the... review for the ‘set,’ then we're going to go." Everyone on the team is excited and enthusiastic about getting Spirit back on the road, he said, and optimism remains high.

“We all recognize there is a chance that the rover will not get out,” said Squyres. But, he added: “I have seen the mood of the team lift perceptibly in the last week or two as we have wrapped up the exploratory phase of the testing and converged on the plan – and this team is very good at taking a good plan and executing it. I'm feeling really good about our decision.”
 
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MeteorWayne

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Another Flash memory glitch for Spirit

NASA's Mars rover Spirit is suffering a new bout of amnesia, one that comes after months of being stuck in deep Martian sand.

The 6-year-old rover's latest memory lapse occurred Oct. 24 and came more than six months after a series of four other amnesia events earlier this year. During the events, the plucky rover failed to record science observations in the part of its flash computer memory that stores information overnight when other systems are powered down.

"We still don't have information about what causes these amnesia events," said rover project manager John Callas at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., in an update.

In the latest event, Spirit did not use its flash memory between Oct. 24 and Oct. 27. The rover does have an alternate memory system in which to store data, but must beam that information home to Earth before entering an overnight sleep period, mission managers said.

Callas said engineers are weighing Spirit's amnesia problem to determine how it may affect day-to-day operations for the long term. Aside from the memory glitch, the rover is in good health and communicating with Earth.

"If they are intermittent and infrequent, they are a nuisance that would set us back a day or two when they occur. If the condition becomes persistent or frequent, we will need to go to an alternate strategy that avoids depending on flash memory," Callas said. "We would only get data collected the same day and any unsent data from an earlier day would be lost. The total volume of data returned by the rover is expected to be about the same."

http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/09 ... nesia.html
 
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centsworth_II

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Spirit's first extraction maneuver has taken place. I don't know the results, but at least there is movement.
http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.php?s=&showtopic=6291&view=findpost&p=149493

edit: Turns out the motion seen in the above link was due to steering adjustments prior to the extraction drive so hopefully we will see more motion in a day or two. The extraction drive was previously planned for about Nov. 9.

edit #2: From marsroverdriver Scott Maxwell:
"Will start very soon. Long, slow process -- weeks, maybe months. Success uncertain. Glory to follow. ;-)"
 
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MeteorWayne

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WASHINGTON -- NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EST on Thursday, Nov. 12, to discuss attempts to free the Mars rover Spirit from sandy soil where the venerable robot has been stuck for the past six months.

The participants are:
- Doug McCuistion, director of the Mars Exploration Program, NASA Headquarters in Washington
- John Callas, project manager, Mars Exploration Rovers, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
- Ashley Stroupe, rover driver, Mars Exploration Rovers, JPL
- Ray Arvidson, deputy principal investigator, Mars Exploration Rovers, Washington University in St. Louis

At the beginning of the briefing, related images and supporting material will be available online at:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mer/n ... 91110.html

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio
 
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centsworth_II

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MeteorWayne":2uyfurez said:
Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio
A reminder to everyone that this is an audio conference so don't look for it at NASA TV. For some reason it is really hard to find a link to these audio conferences through the regular NASA TV or media sites, at least for me.
 
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MeteorWayne

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That's why I always post the link, and usually send a reminder that morning :)
 
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MeteorWayne

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Just a reminder, this teleconference is scheduled for the top of the hour...

Audio link is up with soothing music :)

Images are now up

Conference is starting
 
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MeteorWayne

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Quick notes:

Apparently Spirit had the misfortune to drive along the edge of a hidden crater (Scamander). It was not visible from surface images. There was a thin crust on top, and the weight of the rover broke through into the most loose sandy, sulphate rich material yet found on the martian surface. It's glomming up the wheels, and every attempt so far to extricate Spirit has only sunk it deeper. Not good, in fact, very bad. One side of the rover is trapped in the crater, the other side is on hard ground.
The hidden crater is about 8 meters in diameter and about 25 cm deep. There's a rock under the rover, that if it gets caught in the wrong place could cause really big problems.

The optimists are optimistic, the pragmatists, not so much.

They have analyzed their options for more than a month now and will implement a plan beginning Monday with a command download; to be executed late Monday early Tuesday, with results expected Tuesday morning. The plan is to go forward (the opposite direction from what got them in this mess, since they've been driving backwards for a year or more). The commands will be for a 5 meter drive, they would be pleased it it moved a few centimeters in that drive.

Even if she is trapped, there's more science to be done. The Mossbauer spectrometer used to take 3 hours to take a measurement, now, due to the decay of the cobalt radioactive source, it takes days. So being stuck allows plenty of science.

Realistically, if Spirit is not extricated by February, it will likely be mission end, since the money could be better spent elsewhere. There's an annual review at that time.

Power is marginal; a few months ago it would not have survived winter (30% output), but a few cleaning events now have power up to 60%, which is just enough to survive winter. As long as things hold, it's OK. Of course, if she can get out, then the rover can be aligned to get even more power, but the odds of getting out aren't good.

Still, it's possible, and the team will try beginning Monday!

If you'd like to listen to the teleconference (about an hour) the phone # is 1-888-820-8959.
 
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MeteorWayne

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From Emily @ TPS:

"Spirit successfully completed the first step of its planned two-step motion on Sol 2090 (Nov. 19). After spinning the wheels for the equivalent of 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) in the forward direction, the center of the rover moved approximately 12 millimeters (0.5 inch) forward, 7 millimeters (0.3 inch) to the left and about 4 millimeters (0.2 inch) down. The rover tilt changed by about 0.1 degree. Small forward motion was observed with the non-operable right front wheel, and the left front wheel showed indications of climbing, despite the center of the rover moving downward. These motions are too small to establish any trends at this time. The drive plan had imposed a limit of 1 centimeter (0.4 inch) motion in any direction. The second step of the drive was not performed, because Spirit calculated it had exceeded that limit."

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00002224/
 
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3488

Guest
It appears as though Spirit has tilted forward slightly. Perhaps if this continues, Spirit will get more traction from the two back wheels (now front as Spirit is driving in reverse due to the faulty right front wheel).

We'll see.

Andrew Brown.
 
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centsworth_II

Guest
For its escape drive, Spirit is driving forward*, pushing the frozen right front wheel rather than dragging it. In the last drive we have results for, the frozen wheel was pushed ahead about a centimeter, a very encouraging result this early along. Results for today's drive are not down yet.

*edit: The terminology is a little confusing. Spirit's escape drive is back along the tracks the rover made as it became trapped. But since the rover was driving backwards when it was trapped, driving in the reverse direction (backtracking) means the rover is now driving with its front wheels in the lead.
 
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MeteorWayne

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From SDC:

Before the Nov. 28 drive ended, Spirit completed 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) of wheel spin and the rover's center moved 0.02 inch (0.5 mm) forward, 0.01 inch (0.25 mm) to the left and 0.02 inch (0.5 mm) downward. Since the effort to free Spirit began, the rover has performed 31 feet (9.5 meters) of wheel spin and the rover's center, in total, has moved 0.63 inches (16 mm) forward, 0.39 inches (10 mm) to the left and 0.20 inches (5 mm) downward.
 
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