Monday, March 20, 2006

Wheel trouble on Mars

The Spirit Rover, after having accrued an incredible number of days on the Martian surface looks to be in the trouble. Spirit's right front wheel, which has been stuck before, has ceased moving completely. The rover has plenty of redundancy with its remaining wheels, but the problem is not so much the wheel as power. Winter is approaching and the with it the available supply of solar energy drops fast. Spirit needs to get itself positioned in a favourable position on a nearby hill in order to get the best orientation for her solar panels. So the rover is now in a race against time to make the hill where it can safely sit out the winter.