NASA Loses Spirit Rover

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2008 at 11:45 pm

page3roverThe Second Phase of NASA’s exploration of Mars  is slowly coming to an end as one of the two newest rovers to roam the red planet has ceased communication.  The Spirit rover which arrived on Mars in January of 2004 has the second longest period of time on Mars behind the nuclear cell powered Viking 1.  In early November the Spirit seemingly lost ability to communicate full messages back to NASA this after a dust storm damaged parts of the rover’s solar array power source.

The Spirit has a few notable firsts while on Mars.  It explored a crater known as “Sleepy Hollow”, an area of Mars NASA had been trying to get at for some time.  Also the Spirit was equipped with a panoramic color camera.  The pictures it took of the surface of Mars are the highest resolution color photos of another planet ever.  The Spirit as well as its twin Opportunity also had a Rock Abrasion Tool used to grind and bore through rocks and sand dunes.  It was the first time a rock from mars had ever bored through.  Maybe the biggest finding on Mars at the hands of Spirit came when the rover found a volcanic rock dubbed “Mimi”.  Mimi is one of the main reasons NASA has found the possibility of water on Mars.  The rock is the equivalent of a Volcanic rock here on Earth and the crystallized crevasses lead scientist to believe the present of water on the red planet as being totally possible.

Though the Spirit rover seems to be on its last legs, or at least to be loosing the ability to communicate, NASA has not yet given up hope.  Many feel that like the other problems the Spirit has had like memory malfunctions or power cell issues the communication break down maybe something that can be worked out.


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