Spirit Mars Rover: No Wheel Stall in Diagnostic Drive

November 25, 2009
This view from the navigation camera near the top of the mast on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the tracks left by the rover as it drove southward and backward, dragging its inoperable right-front wheel, to the location where the rover broke through a crust in April 2009 and became embedded in soft sand. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- On Sol 2095 (Tuesday, Nov. 24), Spirit performed a set of diagnostic actions related to a stall of the right-rear wheel on the previous drive, three days earlier.

The diagnostics showed a fully functioning free of obstruction. The rover was commanded forward with 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) of wheel spin. The rover moved 2.1 millimeters (0.08 inch) forward, 1.1 millimeters (0.04 inch) to the left, and 0.3 millimeters (0.01 inch) down.

The cumulative results from Sols 2088 to 2095 (Nov. 17 to 24) are 8.1 meters (27 feet) of commanded motion, 15.7 millimeters (0.6 inch) of forward progress, 9.9 millimeters (0.4 inch) of movement to the left, and 4.8 millimeters (0.2 inch) of sinkage.

The plan for a drive during the long holiday weekend is another two-step drive, with each step 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) of commanded wheel spin. All wheels will be straight and run at the same speed. Results of this commanded drive will be analyzed Monday, Nov. 30.

Provided by JPL/NASA (news : web)

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not rated yet Nov 26, 2009
This article has two strong and distinct ingredients: ambiguity and inutility

Is there anyway to decide whether this was good news? Will Spirit be able to return to its mission soon, (at least before the Shuttle gets grounded)?

What is the connection, you ask? NASA, public opinion, government motivations and options, the last of the light at the end of the tunnel that leads to America landing a man on Mars.

Yes, it may be a one way journey, but if you are looking for volunteers I am sure that there are plenty who would rather be the next 'Armstrong' than watch another country's hero on television.

When America landed on the Earth's moon, it inspired the rest of the world to change their old ways and 'join the programme'. It has been, (and continues to be), a slow progress - but America was the leader that inspired others to follow.

The World needs the obvious next step to be taken, and America needs a win. Declining the challenge should not be an option.

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