Skip to comments.NASA to try to free stuck Mars rover Spirit
Posted on 11/14/2009 9:55:45 AM PST by mikrofon
LOS ANGELES For NASA's stuck Mars rover, the Spirit may be willing, but the wheels could prove too weak. The space agency on Thursday outlined a rescue plan to try to free the rover Spirit, which has been bogged in a sand trap on the red planet for half a year. The risky operation is expected to last several months.
"If it cannot make the great escape from this sand trap, it's likely that this lonely spot straddling the edge of this crater might be where Spirit ends its adventures on Mars," said Doug McCuistion, who heads the Mars exploration program at NASA headquarters.
The plucky rover was driving backward in April when its wheels broke through the crusty surface and became mired in a patch of talcum-like dirt. It tried to crab its way out, but its wheels sunk deeper.
After rehearsing various escape tries on Earth using prototype rovers, NASA said it was finally ready to provide some roadside assistance on Mars.
The first driving commands will be sent to Spirit on Monday, but engineers cautioned the wheels likely will have high slippage.
The plans calls for Spirit to drive forward and retrace its steps.
"If we follow our old tracks out, we may be able to make better progress," said rover driver Ashley Stroupe of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Spirit landed on Mars with six working wheels but soon lost movement in its right front wheel. It had been rolling around the red planet dragging the gimpy wheel before it got stuck.
To complicate matters, images snapped by the rover show rocks pushing up against its underbelly, which could make it harder for the wheels to get traction.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
Call triple A......
They didn’t install a manual transmission so they could rock it?? Sheesh, talk about rocket science! ;-)
Besides for the moon landing, I would say the Rovers have been the most spectacularly successful thing NASA has ever done.
Like the pink bunny for the batteries or something!
IMHO, though, Hubble is a close third.
.............after 6 months, "Drive Forward" is the cunning plan?
I don’t know....the Rovers are amazing....but CassiniHuygens has been pretty stunning, too.
They’ve performed far beyond anyone’s expectations, that’s for sure. It was a great idea, well excecuted.
They sure could probably use an oil change!
Any Jiffy Lubes up there?
The Spirit’s planned useful life was 90 days. It’s been going for about 5 1/2 years. Pretty good job, NASA! Hope they manage to free it. Would be a shame for the Spirit to be stopped by this. Regardless, though, a great run!
It’s dead Jim.
I’ve always been careful not to anthropomorphize, but those little guys really impress me.
You sent that to Maxine Waters, din't ya!
(since there are sand traps, ask the grounds keeper...)
"If we follow our old tracks out, we may be able to make better progress," said rover driver Ashley Stroupe of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.Heh heh...
Yep. They got spunk.
I wonder how long Spirit will continue to live (as in sending back signals and stuff) after being stuck? I could imagine the poor thing hanging on for months or years.
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee wants to know why we cannot just use the lunar rover to give it a shove?
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