Pathfinder rover resumes its mission
By EXN Staff
After a four-day delay, Pathfinder may finally send down data today concerning Yogi, the bear-like rock.
Last Thursday, scientists thought that commands to the lander telling the rover to back away from Yogi weren't received because of a timing error. Earlier that day the rover, Sojourner, had driven too close to Yogi, ending up with one of its six wheels actually on the rock. Scientists wanted to reposition Sojourner so it could analyze Yogi's mineral composition with its alpha proton X-ray spectrometer.
Sojourner got a little too close to Yogi
On Friday, the lander failed to send back a signal to Earth when its computer reset itself. But by early Saturday morning, communications between Earth and Mars were re-established, and scientists determined that Sojourner had in fact moved away from Yogi on Thursday. The rover spent the rest of Saturday recharging its solar panels. NASA scientists also took a much-needed break.
On Sunday night, the rover was commanded to begin its analysis of Yogi. As well, scientists reprogrammed Pathfinder's computer to ensure it doesn't reset itself again. Results of Yogi's composition could be relayed to Earth by tonight.