posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 09:43 AM
In another thread Here
, I was tracking the unsuccessful efforts to free the Mars Rover
"Spirit" from a sand trap that it has been stuck in for the past nine months.
Last Sunday (January 3, 2010) marked the Sixth anniversary of Spirit landing on Mars. In those six years, Spirit has driven a total of 7.72 km (4.8
miles) and has made some remarkable discoveries.
However, it seems likely that Spirit has driven to its final destination back in May, 2009 when it broke through a crusty surface and got stuck in the
sand. The rover can still do plenty of science where it is stuck (it got stuck in a very interesting place) -- but it may not survive long enough to
do all that science. Its solar panels may not be positioned correctly to keep the batteries powered though the upcoming Martian winter -- and without
power the Rover may freeze to death.
Here's an excerpt from an article describing Spirit's present dire situation and how it got there:
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Mars rover Spirit will mark six years of unprecedented science exploration and inspiration for the American public on
Sunday. However, the upcoming Martian winter could end the roving career of the beloved, scrappy robot....
...A sand trap and balky wheels are challenges to Spirit's mobility that could prevent NASA's rover team from using a key survival strategy for the
rover. The team may not be able to position the robot's solar panels to tilt toward the sun to collect power for heat to survive the severe Martian
Source Article: NASA's Mars Rover has Uncertain Future as Sixth Anniversary
The other Rover -- "Opportunity" -- will mark its sixth anniversary in about two weeks (January 25, 2010), and it is still operating in relative
[edit on 1/10/2010 by Soylent Green Is People]