Mar
20
2006

Mars Rover, Spirit, limps toward winter refuge

Spirit just finished studying a bright feature called "Home Plate" on Mars. Martian winter is fast approaching so Spirit must now get to the side of a hill facing the sun where it can catch enough sunshine to continue operating during the Martian winter.

Spirit's solar panels have been generating about 350 watt-hours of electricity daily for the past week. That is down about 15 percent since February and less than one-half of their output during the Martian summer. Spirit gets only enough power for about one hour per day of driving on flat ground. And the supply is dropping fast. Driving backwards with the right-front wheel dragging, the rover needs to stop and check frequently that the problem wheel has not snagged on anything and caused other wheels to slip excessively. Expected progress is around 12 meters (40 feet) per day under current conditions. It has approximately 390 feet to go.

Spirit landed on Mars January 4, 2004 and has operated successfully for over one full Martian year and two Earth years. At 779 sols, the right front wheel ceased working after having covered 4.2 miles on Mars.

Want to learn more?

images and information about the rovers

look at the most recent photos sent by the Spirit rover here.

Wikipedia page about the Spirit Rover

more links about the Mars Exploration Rover missions.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

This is so interesting! Thanx for teaching me!\r\n\r\nShanotta Bawek from 5Gronholz\r\n\r\nEcho Park Elementary

posted on Wed, 03/22/2006 - 11:30am
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

This post reminded me of a joke. What Johnny Cash song was Spirit singing as she dragged herself toward McCool Hill?
"You picked a fine time to leave me Loose wheel."

posted on Mon, 03/20/2006 - 2:00pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

The song was written by Roger Bowling and Hal Bynum, and recorded by Kenny Rogers.

posted on Mon, 03/20/2006 - 3:02pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

My bad! Thanks Gene. I am impressed.

posted on Mon, 03/20/2006 - 3:06pm

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