Free Spirit Testing Nearing Completion

Jul 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: How bad can solar storms get?

Related Stories

Free Spirit: Longer Rover Tests Beginning

Jul 27, 2009

(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.

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

Nov 17, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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.

Test Mars Rover Checks Pivoting Technique

Jul 17, 2009

The Mars rover team is using a test rover at JPL to assess various extraction techniques that might get Spirit out of the loose soil of "Troy" on Mars.

Martian dust storm threatens rovers' survival

Jul 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 ...

Recommended for you

How bad can solar storms get?

22 hours ago

Our sun regularly pelts the Earth with all kinds of radiation and charged particles. How bad can these solar storms get?

Mars rover's ChemCam instrument gets sharper vision

22 hours ago

NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover's "ChemCam" instrument just got a major capability fix, as Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists uploaded a software repair for the auto-focus system on the instrument.

GOES-R satellite begins environmental testing

May 21, 2015

The GOES-R satellite, slated to launch in 2016, is ready for environmental testing. Environmental testing simulates the harsh conditions of launch and the space environment once the satellite is in orbit. ...

User comments : 0

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.