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: Start of dwarf planet mission delayed after small mix-up

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

Can sound help us detect 'earthquakes' on Venus?

Apr 23, 2015

Detecting an "earthquake" on Venus would seem to be an impossible task. The planet's surface is a hostile zone of crushing pressure and scorching temperatures—about 874 degrees F, hot enough to melt lead—that ...

Titan's atmosphere useful in study of hazy exoplanets

Apr 23, 2015

With more than a thousand confirmed planets outside of our solar system, astronomers are attempting to identify the atmospheres of these distant bodies to determine if they could possibly host life.

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.