Spirit Rover: Just a Few More Approaches to Try for Extrication

Jan 14, 2010
An artist's concept portrays a NASA Mars Exploration Rover on the surface of Mars. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell University

(PhysOrg.com) -- The list of remaining maneuvers being considered for extricating Spirit is becoming shorter.

Results are being analyzed Wednesday, Jan. 13, from a drive on Sol 2143 (Jan. 12, 2010) using intentionally very slow rotation of the wheels. Earlier drives in the past two weeks using wheel wiggles and slow wheel rotation produced only negligible progress toward extricating Spirit.

The right-front wheel has not rotated usefully since Sol 2117 (Dec. 16, 2009). With the right-rear wheel also inoperable since 2099 (Nov. 28, 2009), Spirit now drives with only four wheels.

Pending results of the latest drive, the rover team is developing plans for their final few attempts, such as driving backwards and using Spirit's to sculpt the ground directly in front of the left-front wheel, the only working wheel the arm can reach. Such activities may take several sols to implement, but time is getting short as winter approaches and the team needs to focus on Spirit's winter survival.

The amount of energy that Spirit has each day is declining as autumn days shorten on southern Mars. If does determine that the rover will not be able to get away from its current location, some maneuvers to improve the tilt toward the winter sun might be attempted.

Explore further: After early troubles, all go for Milky Way telescope

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Spirit Rover: Right-Front Wheel Rotations

Dec 18, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Spirit's right-front wheel, which had stopped operating in March 2006, revolved with apparently normal motion during the first three of four driving segments on Sol 2117 (Wednesday, Dec. 16) ...

Spirit Rover: Rear Wheel Trouble Continues

Dec 10, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Results of diagnostic tests on Spirit's right-rear wheel on Sol 2109 (Dec. 8, 2009) continue to indicate a troubled wheel, which may leave the rover with only four operable wheels.

Spirit Wiggles Into A Sturdy Workspace

Oct 19, 2005

Spirit is healthy and spent the week examining a rock called "Hillary" at the true summit of "Husband Hill." The first attempt to approach Hillary ended with a small pebble under Spirit's left front wheel, and the stability ...

Recommended for you

Image: NASA's SDO observes a lunar transit

13 hours ago

On July 26, 2014, from 10:57 a.m. to 11:42 a.m. EDT, the moon crossed between NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and the sun, a phenomenon called a lunar transit.

Image: Tethys in sunlight

13 hours ago

Tethys, like many moons in the solar system, keeps one face pointed towards the planet around which it orbits. Tethys' anti-Saturn face is seen here, fully illuminated, basking in sunlight. On the right side ...

User comments : 0