Free Spirit: Longer Rover Tests Beginning

July 27, 2009
Rover team members at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., on July 24, 2009, discuss the next step in preparing for a new phase in testing of possible moves for getting NASA's Mars rover Spirit out of a sandtrap on Mars.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Mars rover team members have begun a new phase of testing at JPL -- using longer-duration experiments -- in their preparations for driving Spirit again on Mars.

They have completed assessments of individual maneuvers, using the test rover in a box of sloped, soft that simulates conditions at the patch of Martian ground called "Troy," where Spirit's wheels have dug themselves hub-deep. Tests beginning today are using combinations of the individual maneuvers and longer-duration drives. These tests will evaluate a full escape strategy for Spirit.

With the test rover temporarily removed from the box on Friday, July 24, the team members renewed the test setup. They tamped the soil in the uphill half of the box with more pressure than the soil on the downhill side. This was done to offer a closer simulation to the conditions at Troy, where Spirit's wheels have not churned up the soil as much on the uphill side.

At Troy, meanwhile, is continuing to use all of its tools to examine the environment around it.

Provided by JPL/NASA (news : web)

Explore further: Spirit rover's wheels stuck in soft Martian dirt

Related Stories

Spirit rover's wheels stuck in soft Martian dirt

May 12, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The five wheels that still rotate on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit have been slipping severely in soft soil during recent attempts to drive, sinking the wheels about halfway into the ground.

Mars and Earth Activities Aim to Get Spirit Rolling Again

May 19, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's rover project team is using the Spirit rover and other spacecraft at Mars to begin developing the best maneuvers for extracting Spirit from the soft Martian ground where it has become embedded.

Rover Tests Evaluating Crabwalk Moves

July 13, 2009

On firm ground, NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers can make crablike moves by turning all four steerable wheels to the same side angle, then rotating the wheels either forward or backward.

Free Spirit: Next Step: Combinations of Basic Moves

July 22, 2009

As the Mars rover team uses testing at JPL to evaluate possible ways to drive Spirit out of loose soil on Mars, the team is finishing tests of individual "building block" maneuvers and is about to begin stringing some of ...

Recommended for you

New Horizons team selects potential Kuiper Belt flyby target

August 29, 2015

NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits ...

Dawn spacecraft sends sharper scenes from Ceres

August 25, 2015

The closest-yet views of Ceres, delivered by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, show the small world's features in unprecedented detail, including Ceres' tall, conical mountain; crater formation features and narrow, braided fractures.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.