Free Spirit Testing Nearing Completion

July 31, 2009
Mars Exploration Rover team members continued longer-duration test runs this week, driving the test rover forward and uphill in a crab-like position. Pictured are Matt Van Kirk with Sharon Laubach.

Mars rover engineers at JPL are winding down testing of different escape maneuvers using a test rover in a sand box filled with soil to mimic the Martian surface. It is possible that in early August the first extraction attempts with Spirit rover, which is dug-in on Mars, might take place.

This week, longer-duration test runs continued, and the team drove the rover several meters, or yards, forward and uphill in a crab-like position. These long-duration drives will continue through the end of next week.

Meanwhile, observations from the Mars Climate Sounder instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter indicate to scientists that a large regional storm is developing. Right now the dust storm is not near Spirit or its twin, Opportunity, but scientists will continue to monitor it as it develops. Since is still in the dust storm season, it is possible (and perhaps even probable) that the storm will continue to grow over the next few days.

Provided by JPL/NASA (news : web)

Explore further: Free Spirit: Longer Rover Tests Beginning

Related Stories

Free Spirit: Longer Rover Tests Beginning

July 27, 2009

( -- 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.

Mars Rover Team Sets Low-Power Plan for NASA's Spirit

November 17, 2008

( -- After assessing data received from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit on Thursday, mission controllers laid out plans for the rover to conserve its modest energy during the next few weeks.

Mars and Earth Activities Aim to Get Spirit Rolling Again

May 19, 2009

( -- 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.

Controllers Cheer as Data Arrive from NASA's Spirit Rover

November 13, 2008

( -- NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit communicated via the Mars Odyssey orbiter today right at the time when ground controllers had told it to, prompting shouts of "She's talking!" among the rover team at ...

Martian dust storm threatens rovers' survival

July 27, 2007

In the three-and-a-half years that they've been on Mars, the NASA rovers Spirit and Opportunity have never seen anything like this: a large-scale dust storm that has darkened the skies and put the rovers in the gravest danger ...

Recommended for you

STEREO—10 years of revolutionary solar views

October 26, 2016

Launched 10 years ago, on Oct. 25, 2006, the twin spacecraft of NASA's STEREO mission – short for Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory – have given us unprecedented views of the sun, including the first-ever simultaneous ...


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.