“Spirit” roll – “opportunity” in the landing

Mars Exploration Rover Mission (MER) converges high – "Spirit" pushes first microscopic image from the surface of an Auberrand Planet

The NASA robot "Spirit" Almost two weeks after landing on Mars started his first excursion. He rolled on Thursday morning from the platform on which he had been holding since his landing, and put on the Marsbed three meters. Meanwhile "Spirit" already 4.000 pictures skilled on earth. Some of these show the abandoned landing platform, which the Rover had recorded farewell. Even if "Spirit" Meanwhile is in parking position and waiting for more command from home, his scientific program is already in full swing. Thus, the Gelandelflezeug has in cooperation with "Mars-Express" Atmospharic analyzes were employed and yesterday even the first microscopic image taken up by the surface of a strange planet. Meanwhile, the MER mission manifests itself to its highlight. At the latest Saturday (after US time), the second Rover lands on the Mars.

Sol 12: Spirit is extended for the first time. All pictures: NASA

Spirit, the good spirit of the first successful American Marslandung of the third millennium, has not yet been left by all good spirits. During Beagle 2 persistently silent and with him (if overhead) early at 22. January the theoretically and practically first contact possible goods, is the Mars robot "Spirit" with the red planet now went on direct cloth floating.

Three meters in 78 seconds

On Thursday, the small mobile robot rolled a total of 78 seconds with its six channels for the first time over the bumpy Marsbed. The threat took back three meters, but removed only 80 centimeters from the Lander. For the project engineers and researchers in the control room of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of NASA in California Pasadena, this was two weeks after the landing of the NASA probe, another reason to grow the champagne corks.

However, the mood could become even more exuberant when the second Rover saturated Saturday (US time), which in the approach on the Mars-based Mars Roboter "Opportunity", as provided on the other side of the red planet landed in the meridiani planum level.

Originally, the roll-out manobever should have taken place at the beginning of the week. But since one of the air cushions used in landing had blocked the driveway to the Lander, had to "Spirit" First of all, turned by 180 degrees before the robot of the robot could descend over the opposite ramp. Now the little Rover is a hard scientific work program. "Spirit is now ready to compete his research and discovery expedition. We now have six raders in dirty marse floor", Stresses Charles Elachi, the director of JPL. Similarly, this prints prof. Steven Squyres, the project manager for the scientific instruments of the two Mars Exploration Rover, who reports still very emotionally reported on the current state of the mission: "We’ve Done It. Spirit is on Mars. We’ve Got Six Wheels in The Dirt Now, And We’re Ready to Roll."

"Spirits" Scientific program runs in full swing

Even if "Spirit" Already shortened three meters, he will stay in waiting for so long until the NASA scientists have learned about the photographic material of the chemical and mineralogic relevance of the relevant MARS region. Succumbed "Spirit" Only control the interesting goals – and there are several smaller rock formations in the nearer environment.

Destination Sleepy Hollow

It is safe that the small robot will explore the crater Sleepy Hollow away about 100 meters away. And after that he may roll in the mountains or at least towards the Hugel recognizable at the horizon, aming his power ranges for such a long march.

Meanwhile "Spirit" his scientific program included. On the one hand, the pissing hurt has already hurt already 4.000 pictures taken and made to earth and made over infrared amounts of temperature and composition of the surrounding rock. On the other hand, has "Spirit" Even with the supposed competition of Mars Odyssey and Mars Global Surveyor cooperates: talk to "Mars-Express".

Robot arm of Spirit with the microscope camera

As part of a scientifically interesting cooperation between NASA and ESA, the "Mars Express"-Orbiter the day of the hour and flew in about 300 kilometers high over "Spirit" over. Not without reason, because in this way, the researchers hubs like drugs of the Atlantic, for the first time, analyze the Mars atmosphere at the same time the same place of the Marsoberflache and a martiparpiece. "This is a historical opportunity", Ray Arvidson was happy about Washington University, who as a mission scientist for the instruments aboard "Spirit" and "Opportunity" responsible for. "The intent is to carry out observations from above and below at the same time to explore the dynamics of the atmosphere aspays."

In the observation, the Rover logically focused primarily on the lower atmosphere layers, whereby the MARS Express orbiter – due to the alignment of his on-board instruments – crimped to the analysis of the upper air layers.

First microscopic image of the surface of a strange planet

Unquestionably spectacular is one of the first pictures that the Rover made immediately after leaving the Landers and that arrived at 11:00 am (CET) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). On the one hand, the two rolling on the marse flooring rear roller of the Rovers, on the other hand, the profile of the rader printed in the marse floor and in the background the now "functionless" Landers clearly visible.

First microscopic image of the Marsbed

For all this "Spirit" Yesterday for the first time his gripping arm positioned so that it came to a slight access to the Marsbed (see picture). He took one of his four instruments, which mounted at the end of the Roverarm Microscopic Imager, an even more spectacular image than the Rover Photo from Thursday. One who is the first microscopic recording of the surface of a foreign planet and consequently that is the best picture of the Marsboden in terms of this day. "For the first time we used the gripping arm and made the first microscopic image of the surface of a strange planet", Joyfully happy. Mark Adler, the JPL Mission Manager of the "Spirit".

"Opportunity" Lands on Meridiani Planum

Currently, even at the second in the book everything goes according to plan, but graduated "Opportunity" Yesterday another correction manobever with flying colors. Jim Erickson, his sign mission manager at JPL, is definitely full of optimism: "We’re on Target For Our Date On The Plains of Meridiani Next Saturday With A Healthy Spaccraft."

The identical twin brother "Opportunity" (Mer-B), who after American time the next Saturday (24. January) at 9:05 p.m. (PST) on the other side of Mars in the Meridiani Planum level should set around two degrees of the aquator, the same manobever is like "Spirit" before. As well as at "Spirits" The country site has detected NASA in the Meridiani planum level previously large amounts of oxidized iron, which indicate a more early existence of water. Therefore "Opportunity" In this region, collecting three months in a radius of up to 500 meters and examine the environment for water, which pursue around 40 meters by April 2004 per marshst (just over 24 earth lessons) around 40 meters.

As "Spirit" also owns "Opportunity" a 1.40 meter high mast, where two navigation cameras are installed, with which a three-dimensional inventory of the environment is possible. At the top of the so-called titanium arms operating in the horizontal, four measuring instruments are equal to each other: a camera that supplies close-ups of the soil, a Mossbauer spectrometer, which examines rock on iron particles, a ray spectrometer and a kind of hammer, with which the top crusts can be scraped off rocks and a rod formal antenna, which communicate with the Marssondone in orbit or. to assist with Earth.

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