Is NASA's Spirit Rover Facing Its Last Sunset? | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date






Airborne On ANN

Airborne 10.24.16

Airborne 10.25.16

Airborne 10.26.16

Airborne 10.27.16

Airborne 10.28.16

Airborne Hi-Def On YouTube

Airborne 10.24.16

Airborne 10.25.16

Airborne 10.26.16

Airborne 10.27.16

Airborne 10.28.16

Wed, Dec 12, 2007

Is NASA's Spirit Rover Facing Its Last Sunset?

Racing The Clock To Reposition Rover For Martian Winter

It's a race against the clock... at 10 mm/second. NASA engineers are becoming concerned the Mars Spirit Rover may miss a deadline to reposition itself in time for the Martian winter. If the craft cannot be parked with its solar panels aimed at the sun by Christmas, it risks starving its batteries beyond the point of recovery.

"It's scramble right now because we're losing sunlight," rover project manager John Callas told The Associated Press.

Both rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, fell victim to Martian dust storms this summer which coated their solar arrays... reducing their energy-generating capabilities to less than 50 percent.

Winds have since helped clear the dust from Opportunity, but Spirit hasn't done as well. Program officials say Spirit's solar panel efficiency could drop to 30 percent this winter.

If the craft can't maneuver to a sunny spot and angle its panels to the optimum sun angle for recharging during an expected seven months of dormancy, it may be lost. Right now, Spirit's battery is being recharged so slowly that it must rest one day after each move, and time is running out.

The twin Mars rovers have outlived their intended 90-day mission plans many times over, and continue to make discoveries of great value to scientists. As ANN reported, NASA extended both rovers' missions a fifth time in October.



More News

Airborne 10.26.16: The Aero-Verse Remembers Bob Hoover, G450, Aeromedical Reform

Also: Keeping R/C History Alive, P-8A Training, R44 Cadets, Sea-Tac, China Eastern, Gulfstream G280 Record “When you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with >[...]

Airborne 10.25.16: The Aviation World Mourns Bob Hoover

Also: Rockwell Collins Buys B/E Aerospace, Airport Licensing, Drone Permits, Revised LODA, Aero-Calendar, Aerosonde HQ SUAS, Gogo Business Aviation, Hilf New CEO Of Vulcan, Battle >[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (10.27.16)

Cavanaugh Flight Museum The Cavanaugh Flight Museum opened in October 1993, the brainchild of its founder, entrepreneur Jim Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh placed his growing collection of hi>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Term (10.27.16): Deviations

A departure from a current clearance, such as an off course maneuver to avoid weather or turbulence.>[...]

Aero-News: Quote of the Day (10.27.16)

“The death of Bob Hoover is a tremendous loss to the entire aviation community. Bob was a great friend and mentor to countless aviators in the military, manufacturing, test p>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus





© 2007 - 2016 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC