Mars rover stuck in loose soil

November 27th, 2007 - 4:20 pm ICT by admin  

London, Nov 27 (ANI): Reports indicate that NASA’s Mars Rover Spirit has stuck in what appears to be loose soil in a region having steep and northern-tilting slopes.
For the past two weeks, Spirit has been heading to the northern end of a 90-metre-wide raised plateau called Home Plate.
This region boasts of relatively steep, northern-tilting slopes that would maximize the sunlight falling on the rover’s solar panels during winter in the planet’s southern hemisphere.
Though the mission scientists had hoped the rover would arrive on a safe slope by January 1, it has become stuck from some days .
“Now, winter is getting closer and closer and Spirit has been bogged down in loose soil and we’re trying to move out of that area,” Ken Herkenhoff of the US Geological Survey in Flagstaff, Arizona, told New Scientist Magazine.
But engineers hope to free it quickly so it can reach a safe spot to ride out the approaching winter.
Towards this purpose, NASA engineers will upload commands to the rover that they hope will set it moving again. “What they’re planning is to turn the rover in place then attempt to drive, then turn it in the other direction and try driving forward again and sort of switchback across the slight slope we’re trying to get up,” said Herkenhoff.
Mission members will find out if the strategy worked, but Herkenhoff is hopeful that it will. “They’ve gotten out of things like this before,” he said. (ANI)

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