NASA Rover Roves No More
Posted January 28, 2010on:
Mars rover Spirit is officially stuck after 10 months of effort were unable to get the vehicle moving. Engineers at NASA tried valiantly to pry out a wheel that got stuck in the martian soil, but the task proved to be impossible with the two other crippled wheels that the rover was sporting. The incredibly complex and sensitive equipment on board Spirit, however are all completely intact, and the rover continues to function as a experiment platform, albeit a stationary one. That is, if it survives the martian winter. Winter on Mars can see temperatures as low as -45 Celcius and the massive amount of material that is thrown into the atmosphere by the harsh winds can blot out the sun for weeks at a time. While weathering the winter, Spirit will go into hibernation, waking up once a day to check its batteries. If it has sufficient resources, it will attempt to communicate with Earth, if it does not, then it will go back to sleep. This process will continue until the machine freezes up, looses all power, or survives the winter successfully. With so much riding on these next few months, Spirit is angling its solar panels carefully to stand a chance of waking up after the big freeze.