Monday, October 31, 2005

Exploratorium Mega-Posting

No doubt because of their recent server outage, Exploratorium has posted a huge number (thousands) of old Spirit images on October 31. MMB users who haven't previously downloaded all the images should just keep auto-update off for a day or two more and then choose "Reset Last Download Time..." from the Update menu to avoid downloading all these images. Sorry, not much I can do about it at this point.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Calibrated Color Posted for Sols 360-450



Daniel Crotty's calibrated color images for Sols 360-450 have been posted at his site. You can download these using MMB and view them in the Panorama feature. MMB Pan metadata has been updated again to take the new images into account. Above is the view from "Larry's Lookout" (Spirit Sol 409-414).

PDS Update: Sols 360-450

PDS-based MMB panorama definitions for Sols 360-450 have been posted. Since I fixed some bugs in the part of MMB that reads PDS metadata and generates MMB panorama definitions, I've updated the definitions for Sols 1-360 as well. (A trick to download all the new definitions faster for big updates like this is to delete your MMBHome/metadata/downloaded directory and then do a metadata update.)

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Dust Storm

news update

Opportunity Sol 626: Clear Shot!

Opportunity Sol 626: Clear Shot!<br />

Opportunity has made substantial progress westward through the difficult terrain, and now appears to have a clear path ahead of her. The Pancam frames here are to the south back toward the western end of Erebus crater. The path west also appears fairly clear, but I'm guessing the path South looks too good to pass up.

My internet access has been restored, so pan definitions from the new PDS release and the new MMB version 1.3.8 should be up before too long.

Exploratorium is Up (Maybe); My Internet Access is Down (Definitely)

My primary internet access has been down for a few days now. Posting will be light until it's back up. However stick around, there's a bunch of new stuff coming soon including pan metadata derived from the latest PDS release, new Daniel Crotty true-color images, and version 1.3.8 of the software. Plus I should be able to catch up with what the rovers are doing this weekend.

Also, it looks like Exploratorium is back up, although I haven't seen new images posted there yet.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Back to Opportunity Sol 615

Back to Opportunity Sol 615

A couple new Pancam false-color frames form Opportunity Sol 615. Exploratorium remains down.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Exploratorium is Down

Exploratorium appears to be down. MMB users will need to use the "Update Latest from JPL" option under the "Update" menu, instead of doing automatic updates, until Exploratorium is back up. I'll fix this in a future version - automatic updates should be able to just go on to JPL when Exploratorium is down.

In other news, a new minor release is coming up, with some nice performance improvements to the Slideshow feature. I've also 80% decided to go the GPL open source route, but we'll see.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Spirit Sol 642-643

Spirit Sol 642

Is it really Spirit Sol 643 already? Spirit is checking out the light-colored rock unit shown here in two Pancam false-color images. Dark drift fields are visible on the distance at top of frame.

Opportunity - Berryless?

Opportunity Sol 617 - Berryless?

The Oct. 24 Mission Update by Steve Squyres mentions that some of the bedrock seen recently appears to be completely without blueberries. It hadn't registered with me before, but some of the bedrock does indeed appear berryless. It's also scultped into lovely shapes. The Pancam false-color and navcam context mosaic above is from Opportunity Sol 618.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Opportunity Sol 619

Opportunity Sol 619
Still dodging the drifts. In the background are the large drifts north of Erebus.

Spirit Sol 639

Spirit Sol 639
Looking back up the hill.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Spirit Sol 639 - Interesting Striations?

Spirit Sol 639

Likewise, Spirit has made several drives. There are what appear to be interesting striations and bedrock on the ridge. Also, it's more obvious in the anaglyphs, but Spirit seems to be approaching a bit of a drop-off. Good luck, Spirit. Drive carefully.

Opportunity Sol 618

Opportunity Sol 618
Updates have resume and Opportunity has driven quite a bit west and north (there are several new panoramas posted). This is the current view west. It looks pretty flat; one wonders if it's flat enough to just drive, or if we'll keep dodging the drifts.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

(Flashback) Opportunity Sol 421

Since Exploratorium doesn't seem to be updating, here's a flashback to almost 200 Martian Days ago, when Opportunity was rapidly travelling south after leaving Endurance crater...

(Flashback) Opportunity Sol 421 - Viking Crater

(Flashback) Opportunity Sol 421 - Viking Crater

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Opportunity Sol 616

Opportunity Sol 616
The large drifts along the north rim of Erebus, now immediately south.

Opportunity Sol 616
The way west seems fairly clear for now.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Opportunity Sol 615

Opportunity on the road again:

Opportunity Sol 615

Opportunity Sol 615

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Spirit Sol 635 - Dark Drifts

Spirit Sol 635
Dark drifts northeast of Husband Hill. It looks like Spirit has begun roving toward Haskin Ridge (see the October 4 Mission Update by Steve Squyres).

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Spirit "Everest Pan" Complete

Spirit Sol 619-622 -

Spirit's "Everest Pan" is now complete. I have adjusted the brightness of the L257 Pancam frames for Midnight Mars Browser. The color balance is obviously not perfect (I'm guestimating brightness adjustments for many individual frames), but I'll say it's better than no adjustment at all.

Opportunity Sol 608 - Six Wheelin' (Again)!

Opportunity Sol 608 - Six Wheelin' (Again)!
Tracks where Opportunity stopped mid-drift, then proceeded south after backing out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Version 1.3.7

Midnight Mars Browser version 1.3.7 fixes a possible performance issue with the Slideshow feature and changes the order in the Panorama selection dialog so that the most recent panoramas appear at the top of the list. Also, when panoramas are downloaded in a metadata update they appear with "NEW" or "UPDATED" next to them in the Panorama selection dialog until they are viewed.

Download the latest version of Midnight Mars Browser

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Spirit Sol 625

Spirit Sol 625
Originally uploaded by marscat.
Spirit is lining up to take a look at "Hillary", and also has a nice view its own tracks on the summit, which are covered by some Pancam images. MMB metadata has been updated.

Meanwhile, Opportunity has freed itself from the drift with little or no fuss, so the anti-getting-stuck-in-drifts software must be working well. There aren't enough new navcam images to do a new panorama yet, but there are navcam subframe images of rover wheels that make a nice little slideshow movie, similar to what we saw at Purgatory but with much less being stuck.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

New Minor Revision Coming

P.S. I've got a minor revision of the software in the pipeline. The main change is a performance enhancement for the Slideshow feature which seems to help on Mac OS X; it might improve performance on other platforms as well. The new version will see the light of day as soon as I have time to package it up, probably this weekend.

Down from the Summit

New Mission Update by Steve Squyres. Spirit has come down from the true summit and will check out a rock called "Hillary" before starting her descent down the east side of Husband Hill. Opportunity is finding it slow going but they want to get quickly past Erebus and on to Victoria Crater if possible.

MMB Metadata will be updated later tonight.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Opportunity Sol 603

Opportunity drove a bit south on Sol 603, and now is resting right on a drift. The wheels appear to have dug in just a bit, so I hope this is not an "incident". The drift does not seem as intimidating as the one that came to be named Purgatory after Oppy was stuck there for over a month.

All of the L7 Pancam frames from Spirit's "Everest" Pan (Sol 619- ) are down and more false color has arrived. I'll have a go at adjusting the brightness/color balance of the frames when I have more time and energy; it's actually quite a bit of work for these 360ยบ panoramas. The image at right shows a part of Thyra Crater (I think) on the western horizon.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Don't know if I'll continue the Image of the Day page... odds are, probably not. It's time consuming, and reaction has been underwhelming (listen and you can hear the crickets chirping...) Instead, maybe I'll just post updates here on what's going on. If you actually want to see rover panoramas, you can see them better in Midnight Mars Browser than looking at any screenshot. That's what MMB is for. If you want downloadable jpeg panoramas rather than virtual reality, check out

The Opportunity Sol 592-596 pan seems to be complete (Erebus from South Shetland). The L7 images of Spirit's "Everest Pan", a full 360 degree pan from the true summit of Husband Hill, appear to be mostly down; more false color will follow soon, probably.

Opportunity's Sol 601 navcam pan and pancam images are down. There are some drifts immediately west; I'll be interested to see if Oppy goes over them or around them.

(When I mention images are "down", I generally mean both that they have shown up on one of the raw images pages and that I have incorporated them into the Midnight Mars Browser metadata for VR panoramas.)