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Second robot deployed to help free stuck Mars rover

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posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 09:00 AM

In the struggle to free the Mars rover Spirit from a sand trap, NASA engineers are bringing out the reserve troops. A second, lighter duplicate rover slid into a sandbox for testing this week, delaying any attempt to free Spirit by as much as three weeks, to mid-September.

Spirit has been stuck in a sandpit for nearly four months. Since late June, engineers have been trying to determine the best moves to extricate it by driving a test rover around a sandbox at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California.

Rover engineers had earlier announced that they were almost done with the testing and would be ready to move Spirit around 10 August, but they backtracked in a meeting on 6 August.

"We've come up with additional tests that we want to do, and additional computer modelling that we want to do as well," says rover project manager John Callas at JPL. "Now we're looking at the middle of September."

New Scientist Article

Mars rover team members are planning a long-duration experiment with the test rover at JPL beginning next week. This test will check whether favorable motion seen in earlier tests can be sustained to gain as much distance in the sandbox as Spirit would need to complete on Mars to escape its predicament.

The team expects to drive the test rover for several hundred meters, or yards, worth of wheel rotations over the course of a week or more without starting over. Steering direction will be changed several times during the run. Earlier tests have run for one or two days. In between tests, the team resets the sandbox to simulate Spirit's current starting position at the Mars location called "Troy."

NASA Article

Lets hope this goes well, having two bots getting stuck would not look good for NASA. I guess the hardest part for them is simulating the terrain exactly, its not like they can just go and have a look lol.

posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 09:11 AM
reply to post by refuse_orders

What do you mean by "two bots getting stuck"?

posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 09:14 AM
reply to post by ArMaP

In the simulation, i just worded it really bad lol. I was making a joke (failed).

posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 09:21 AM
I don't understand why they don't use a track system instead of wheels....

posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 09:24 AM
reply to post by thefreepatriot

I guess it does make sense to use a track, i guess weight might be an issue though with a track.

posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 09:27 AM
reply to post by thefreepatriot

Tracks, like chains, need to be tightened after a period of time.


This aught to be interesting, well see what happens with it though, seems like it would be cheaper to build a new and improved mars rover than to build one to get another one unstuck.

posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 11:54 PM
This live animal is from the latest underbelly pic Micro imager pic from stuck Spirit rover.I posted months ago drawings on this board which were to help JPL/Nasa get Spirit UN-stuck.Some were removed as not rellevent to a thread.I designed the rovers in their infancy 1987 ,so most of the Mars pics from the surface originated from my brainchild.Some are shortsighted,and some are "differently-sighted". Some are just persistent,rather than casually flighty.Life on Mars is diverse and abundant.People,animals,fossils.

posted on Aug, 30 2009 @ 06:59 AM
They're not sending another rover to mars, they're simulating the rovers situation on earth to see what would be the most efficient and non detrimental way to free the rover we've spent a squillion yuan on (They were called US dollars when it left!) It got bogged. Years after it was supposed to die. How many billion yuan have we saved by these rovers lasting more than 3 months? If they can free it they save more yuan.

posted on Aug, 30 2009 @ 08:07 AM
the mars curse strikes again!

posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 07:47 PM
I don't know about sand pits on Mars but why not the Moon as well.
Not a robot expert but there were many bots on the Moon, even
from Russia, and there were no sand problems that I recall.
They all seemed to wear out.

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