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Can an Immobile Spirit Rover Survive the Martian Winter?

29 Jan 2010, 22:48 UTC
Can an Immobile Spirit Rover Survive the Martian Winter?
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Mission managers for the Mars Exploration Rover program announced this week that the Spirit rover will likely never rove again on Mars. But that doesn't mean her life is over. However, with the rover virtually immobile and stuck in a sand trap, she currently is in a very vulnerable and potentially "deadly" situation as winter approaches on Mars' southern hemisphere. Pointing the rover's solar panels towards the sun is critical if the rover is to survive, and the rover team has just a handful of drives to make it so. And the winters are long and harsh on Mars. "The temperatures will be colder than anything Spirit has experienced before," said John Callas, project manager for the MER mission. "This is a much more difficult and dangerous situation for Spirit, and we're heading into a regime where vehicle is going to get colder than it ever has."
What is Spirit facing, and what are her odds?
(...)Read the rest of Can an Immobile Spirit Rover Survive the Martian Winter? (976 words)

© nancy for Universe Today, 2010. |
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