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Never mind life on Mars, what about a car wash?

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posted on Dec, 15 2007 @ 12:39 AM
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IT LOOKS like some weird winged insect camouflaged by mother nature to shield it from hungry predators. But it is really NASA's six-wheeled Martian robot, Spirit, filthy with dust after four years of exploring the red planet.

When motoring through dusty deserts more than 88 million kilometres from the nearest car wash, it is hard to stay clean.

Spirit's new self-portrait reveals that the rover, never expected to survive for more than 90 days when it landed in January 2004, is now so dirty it is in danger of vanishing from sight - blending in with the planet's natural colour.

The dust may be the death of the mechanical pioneer which has driven more than 7.4 kilometres in 47 months, 12 times further than it was designed to travel.

Read complete article here




posted on Dec, 15 2007 @ 01:20 AM
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You know maybe next time they will design these rovers with some kind of wind shield wiper for the solar panels. Seriously, they have been operating long past their expected life span. I hope they will last through the Martian Winter or catch another lucky break from a dust devil to clean them off. These rovers are like the Energizer Bunny. They just "keep on going".



posted on Dec, 15 2007 @ 01:41 AM
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The deck of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit is so dusty that the rover almost blends into the dusty background in this image assembled from frames taken by the panoramic camera (Pancam) during the period from Spirit's Sol 1,355 through Sol 1,358 (Oct. 26-29, 2007).

Dust on the solar panels reduces the amount of electrical power the rover can generate from sunlight each sol. Earlier self-portraits by Spirit, such as one taken on Sol 586, offer a comparison view of cleaner solar panels.

The vertical projection used here produces the best view of the rover deck, though it distorts the ground and antennas somewhat. The eight-pointed star shape near the front of the rover (bottom of the image) marks the location of the camera mast, which is out of view of the Pancam atop the mast.

marsrover.nasa.gov...

I've found two images in order to make a comparison:


2007

Image source:
marsrover.nasa.gov...
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

2005

Image source:
www.nasa.gov...
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

Thank you for sharing this find



[edit on 15/12/2007 by internos]



posted on Dec, 17 2007 @ 12:06 AM
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Look at those images, all i can say is lets hope for the best; Internos, thanks for that comparison

[edit on 17-12-2007 by Enceladus]



posted on Dec, 17 2007 @ 12:08 AM
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Spirit Scouts Home Plate For Safe Haven

Spirit has arrived at the north edge of "Home Plate." The rover will spend the next few Martian days, or sols, scouting the edge of Home Plate and acquiring images of the slopes to determine the best site for "Winter Haven 3," where Spirit will try to survive another season of minimal sunlight. Once the team selects a site, Spirit will drive down the north-facing edge of Home Plate and maneuver into position to achieve the highest northerly tilt possible.

Power levels are dropping rapidly, partly because the sun continues its retreat north on its way to winter solstice, and partly because the landscape tilts slightly southward near the rim. Drive sols are so precious and few, the team has been working long hours and weekends to make the most of the remaining sunlight.

Read complete article



posted on Dec, 17 2007 @ 12:20 AM
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I realize that it was never expected to last this long, so we should expect such problems. However, maybe in the future they can add a small tank and a compressor to such robotic explorers. Then atmosphere could be pressurized to blow off dust from the solar collectors. I'm sure a lot of other uses for such an ability would come in handy.

Good find and pictures guys. This reminds me of those old West Texas dust storms when I was younger.



posted on Dec, 17 2007 @ 12:32 AM
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And all this time I thought for sure a martian was cleaning those panels off.

It's so amazing that they have lasted so long and have taken so many pictures of Mars surface. I'm clapping right now just because our human minds and technology made those rovers.


Hopefully Winter Haven 3 will surpass the time that Liberty & Spirit spent investigating the Mars surface.

Edit just to ask " How or who took those pictures of the rovers


[edit on 12/17/2007 by Solarskye]



posted on Dec, 17 2007 @ 02:01 AM
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reply to post by Solarskye
 

They have also the ability to make self portraits using their panoramic camera




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