NASA has abandoned efforts to pull Spirit, one of the two Mars rovers, out of a sand trap where it's been stuck since last April, according to the New Scientist.
Spirit landed on the red planet in January 2004. Opportunity, the second rover, followed about three weeks later. Both rovers were originally designed to complete missions a little over 90 Martian days (92.5 Earth days) in length, but they've managed to stay mobile considerably longer than expected. Opportunity is still moving around. Spirit's roving days are now over, though.
That said, Spirit may yet be able to add a few more lines to its extensive resume, as New Scientist explains:
NASA has designated Spirit a 'stationary research platform', and if it survives the six-month winter, which will peak in May, its first priority will be to transmit radio signals that can be used to pinpoint its location in space.
Over time, these signals could help researchers discern subtle wobbles in Mars's rotation, which could help reveal whether the planet has a solid or liquid core.
The rover could also track how Martian winds transport dust across the planet and could perform more detailed measurements of its sand trap, which may once have been part of a hot, watery landscape filled with steam vents.
Surviving the winter isn't a given, though. The rover survived past winters by driving onto slopes aimed toward the Sun, so its solar panels could capture as much energy as possible, but it's now stuck pointing in the opposite direction. To make matters worse, after withstanding "grueling temperature cycles" for six years, Spirit may not be able to handle the cold from another winter. New Scientist says NASA might have to wait until "August or September" to know if Spirit has made it.
You can view a gallery of images from both Spirit and Opportunity on NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory website.
|1. BIF - $340||2. Ryu Connor - $250||3. mbutrovich - $250|
|4. YetAnotherGeek2 - $200||5. End User - $150||6. Captain Ned - $100|
|7. Anonymous Gerbil - $100||8. Bill Door - $100||9. ericfulmer - $100|
|10. dkanter - $100|
|AMD drops prices on the Radeon RX 460 and RX 470||25|
|Reports: Radeon RX 470D is a budget Polaris card for China||6|
|Examining reports of slow write speeds on the 32GB iPhone 7||21|
|Cellular Insights dissects iPhone 7 Plus modem performance||11|
|Deals of the week: scads of high-performance storage and more||8|
|Tobii's Eye Tracker 4C knows where your head is||1|
|GeForce driver 375.57 is prepared for Titanfall 2||6|
|Phanteks Eclipse P400 gets a tempered glass option||0|
|Radeon 16.10.2 drivers add support for October's big games||10|
|A real "console monitor" would be 720p @ 30 Hz ;P||+58|