Spirit Rover Update – Stuck Mars Rover

Update June 3rd, 2009: Mars Spirit Rover Snaps Photographs of Her Underbelly

Since our previous post on the stuck mars rover, NASA has released an update: The rover is still stuck.

Mars Spirit Rover Image: NASA

Mars Spirit Rover Image: NASA

Good news comes with the successful completion of 4 and 16 degree roll tests on the once thought malfunctioned middle wheel. Spirit’s solar panels are also performing well with a level of energy production near their maximum after martian dust blew from the panels.

NASA is currently planning to image the underbody of the immobile rover to see just how badly Spirit is trapped in the sand.

Pending the recertification of the robotic arm (the instrument deployment device, or IDD), a microscopic imager (MI) mosaic of Spirit’s underbelly is planned for this coming weekend to assess the rover’s embedded condition.

Some unforecasted complications have delayed the folks at JPL. NASA released the following comments on the delay in testing recovery methods for the rover:

On the ground, testing with the surface system testbed (SSTB) rover at JPL is held up due to a computer server disk crash. That server is being restored from a huge backup tape, which is taking considerable time. In parallel, the SSTB-Lite rover (an alternate, lower-fidelity testbed rover) is being set up to conduct early tests of candidate soil simulants.

In related news, Spirit’s twin, Opportunity, has clocked its tenth mile (10.06 miles, as of Sol 1899 / May 28, 2009). Both rovers have operated over 1800 martian days past their original planned mission!

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One response to “Spirit Rover Update – Stuck Mars Rover”

  1. Mars Rover Stuck in Deep Sand, says NASA | Robotics Blog

    […] 2: (May 29th, 2009): A new article describing recently released details on the Spirit mars rover has been published. Update:Mars Rover Update Earlier this month, Spirit, one of NASA’s Mars […]

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