PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Mars Pathfinder Mission Status
August 3, 1997
7 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time
Although the reason for yesterday's loss of downlink opportunities has not
yet been identified, science activities proceeded normally today
on the surface of Mars. Today, Sol 30, marks the end of the Mars
Pathfinder primary mission, 30 days after the spacecraft landed
in an ancient outflow channel called Ares Vallis.
The Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) continued to image the
thin Martian atmosphere, the lander's wind socks, the Sun and the
rover as it roamed to another destination, said Carl Steiner,
Mars Pathfinder flight director. Acting as a weather station, the
Pathfinder lander -- now called the Sagan Memorial Station --
gathered weather data for the 12th consecutive day. Data from
yesterday's surface operations had been stored onboard the lander
and were downlinked today. Highs on Mars rose to minus 10
degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) today and dipped to minus
70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit).
The rover finished its soil analysis of Mermaid Dune before
heading toward the Rock Garden. An onboard tilt protection
circuit caused the rover to shut down after reaching 10
centimeters (0.3 feet) of motion.
"An especially noisy accelerometer had caused this problem
in past, but had successfully guarded the rover against excessive
tilt," Steiner said. "The rover team thought it prudent to
activate this device, even with the possibility of inadvertent
shut-down, because of the uneven path to the Rock Garden and the
long traverse." Sojourner will resume this traverse on Sol 32,
as Pathfinder's extended mission gets under way.
Three downlink sessions were successfully carried out today
using the low-gain antenna once and the high-gain antenna for the
next two sessions, Steiner said. The operations team, however,
was unable to complete its planned downlink of an eighth (octant)
of the so-called "super pan" before the end of the day and the
beginning of a two-day sleep period for the lander.
"This will be the first time in nearly 240 days that the
lander's electronics will be powered off," Steiner said. "At the
conclusion of today's activities, all lander electronics, with
the exception of a few computer chips that comprise the hybernate
circuit, will be powered off to conserve energy through the
Martian evening and prolong our waning battery."
The hybernate circuit has been programmed to wake up the
lander at 7:30 a.m. local solar time tomorrow. A backup circuit
will wake the lander at 8 a.m. if the lander is still asleep.
Tomorrow's activities will focus on recharging the battery to the
fullest capacity possible. No science experiments are planned.
On this Martian day, Sol 30, Earthrise occurred at 4:49
a.m. PDT and sunrise occurred at 7:51 a.m. PDT. The Earth set
over the landing site at 6:22 p.m. PDT and the sun set at 8:39 p.m. PDT.