It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Originally posted by Condorcet
Maybe the recent sun eruptions are scrambling the transmissions. According to spacew.com's "Astro Alert News" feature we're in a good 48 hour aurora borealis phase.
Last night the aurora was strong, here in Alaska. It has been a while since they have been out and last night they were very active.
You have made a good point, Condorcet. Let us hope-
Engineers hope Spirit will manage to send some engineering data, which can be used to assess the health of the spacecraft, pinpoint any problems and allow NASA to begin working on a potential fix or fixes. Officials had said the next best opportunity for actual data to come from the rover was between 6 a.m. and noon EST Friday.
The problem surfaced while Spirit was preparing to resume analysis of its first rock, just a few yards from where it landed.
Early Thursday, NASA initially heard nothing from Spirit that would indicate it was in "fault mode," a state that the rover enters by itself when it has experienced a problem. Later, NASA sent a command to Spirit as if it were in fault mode, anyway. Spirit acknowledged with a beep that it received the command, indicating an onboard problem. That puzzled engineers.
The rover has since missed several scheduled opportunities to communicate, both directly with Earth and by way of two NASA satellites in orbit around Mars.
Preliminary indications suggested the rover's radio was working, and it continued to generate power from the sun with its solar panels. Spirit's internal clock also was running and had roused the rover several times on cue.
The communications came about 90 minutes after the start of the Martian day at a transmission speed of 10 bits per second, which is considered very weak.
NASA engineers were to send Spirit several commands in the coming hours hoping to get some information about its condition and determine the source of its communication trouble.