Nov
27
2007

Mars Rovers news update

Mars Rovers
Mars RoversCourtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech
About this time last year it was springtime on Mars. The two rovers had survived winter but a large, planet wide dust storm threatened to deplete their source of energy. To survive, both rovers were put into survival mode for several months. The both came through OK but because their solar panels are coated with dust, they do not have the energy they used to. Another winter is now approaching so both Rovers need to find a spot to maximize their solar gain.

Preparing for a long Mars winter

Spirit spent last winter on the sunny side of a hill called "Winter Haven" (click to see panorama) This winter Spirit is heading north toward an extra steep slope on "Home Plate". Right now it is stuck in what appears to be loose soil.

Rovers are showing their age

Spirit is having trouble getting around because one of its wheels doesn't work. It needs to go backwards, dragging its bad front wheel. Opportunity has a wheel that cannot steer. Its instrument arm is arthritic due to a bad motor in its shoulder. Opportunity is also blind in its infrared "eye" because of too much dirt on its lens. Both rovers are having problems with their grinding tools (RAT).

Mars rover's mission extended again

The twin rovers landed on the surface of Mars in January, 2004. Mission planners expected that it would only take a few months before dust coated the rovers' solar panels so thickly that they wouldn't be able to generate power any more. But the Martian weather had a trick; dust devils and wind gusts came by often enough to keep the solar panels relatively clear of dust. Without the loss of power looming, the rovers have been able to keep going, and going, and going. UniverseToday

Catch up on news about the Mars Rovers

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Kgurls's picture
Kgurls says:

This reseach is one of the best things science has ever known. I hope that in the future we can learn more and more about subjects such as this. I LOVE science!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It rocks my face off!

posted on Fri, 12/07/2007 - 1:03pm
JARVIS's picture
JARVIS says:

If this is aproblem, what are we going to do to try and solve this? I know it took too much work to just leave this problem alone and wait for it to go away.

posted on Wed, 04/30/2008 - 9:59am

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