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Waspie_Dwarf

Mars Rover Spirit - Mission Ends

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NASA Concludes Attempts to Contact Mars Rover Spirit

05.24.11

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA is ending attempts to regain contact with the long-lived Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, which last communicated on March 22, 2010.

494578mainpia044134x322.jpg

Artist concept of Mars Exploration Rover.

A transmission that will end on Wednesday, May 25, will be the last in a series of attempts. Extensive communications activities during the past 10 months also have explored the possibility that Spirit might reawaken as the solar energy available to it increased after a stressful Martian winter without much sunlight. With inadequate energy to run its survival heaters, the rover likely experienced colder internal temperatures last year than in any of its prior six years on Mars. Many critical components and connections would have been susceptible to damage from the cold.

Engineers' assessments in recent months have shown a very low probability for recovering communications with Spirit. Communications assets that have been used by the Spirit mission in the past, including NASA's Deep Space Network of antennas on Earth, plus two NASA Mars orbiters that can relay communications, now are needed to prepare for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission. MSL is scheduled to launch later this year.

"We're now transitioning assets to support the November launch of our next generation Mars rover, Curiosity," said Dave Lavery, NASA’s program executive for solar system exploration. "However, while we no longer believe there is a realistic probability of hearing from Spirit, the Deep Space Network may occasionally listen for any faint signals when the schedule permits."

Spirit landed on Mars on Jan. 3, 2004, for a mission designed to last three months. After accomplishing its prime-mission goals, Spirit worked to accomplish additional objectives. Its twin, Opportunity, continues active exploration of Mars.

For more information on the Mars rovers, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/rovers or http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project and Mars Science Laboratory for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Guy Webster 818-354-6278

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726

Headquarters, Washington

dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov

2011-156

Source: NASA - Mars Exploration Rovers - News & Media Resources

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
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let us salute the little rover that kept on going even after a very rockyt start and in the end had a broken wheel

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Another article...

Mars Rover Down: Article

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It is an amazing bit of engineering to pull off that much work in such a difficult environment...

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It is an amazing bit of engineering to pull off that much work in such a difficult environment...

Isn't it just. And let's not forget that the sister rover, Opportunity is still going strong seven years and 4 months after landing. Not bad for vehicles which had a design life of 90 days.

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NASA's Spirit Rover Completes Mission on Mars

05.25.11

NASA has ended operational planning activities for the Mars rover Spirit and transitioned the Mars Exploration Rover Project to a single-rover operation focused on Spirit's still-active twin, Opportunity.

This marks the completion of one of the most successful missions of interplanetary exploration ever launched.

494578mainpia044134x322.jpg

Artist concept of Mars Exploration Rover.

Spirit last communicated on March 22, 2010, as Martian winter approached and the rover's solar-energy supply declined. The rover operated for more than six years after landing in January 2004 for what was planned as a three-month mission. NASA checked frequently in recent months for possible reawakening of Spirit as solar energy available to the rover increased during Martian spring. A series of additional re-contact attempts ended today, designed for various possible combinations of recoverable conditions.

"Our job was to wear these rovers out exploring, to leave no unutilized capability on the surface of Mars, and for Spirit, we have done that," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Spirit drove 4.8 miles (7.73 kilometers), more than 12 times the goal set for the mission. The drives crossed a plain to reach a distant range of hills that appeared as mere bumps on the horizon from the landing site; climbed slopes up to 30 degrees as Spirit became the first robot to summit a hill on another planet; and covered more than half a mile (nearly a kilometer) after Spirit's right-front wheel became immobile in 2006. The rover returned more than 124,000 images. It ground the surfaces off 15 rock targets and scoured 92 targets with a brush to prepare the targets for inspection with spectrometers and a microscopic imager.

"What's really important is not only how long Spirit worked or how far Spirit drove, but also how much exploration and scientific discovery Spirit accomplished," Callas said.

One major finding came, ironically, from dragging the inoperable right-front wheel as the rover was driving backwards in 2007. That wheel plowed up bright white soil. Spirit's Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer and Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer revealed that the bright material was nearly pure silica.

"Spirit's unexpected discovery of concentrated silica deposits was one of the most important findings by either rover," said Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., principal investigator for Spirit and Opportunity. "It showed that there were once hot springs or steam vents at the Spirit site, which could have provided favorable conditions for microbial life."

The silica-rich soil neighbors a low plateau called Home Plate, which was Spirit's main destination after the historic climb up Husband Hill. "What Spirit showed us at Home Plate was that early Mars could be a violent place, with water and hot rock interacting to make what must have been spectacular volcanic explosions. It was a dramatically different world than the cold, dry Mars of today," said Squyres.

The trove of data from Spirit could still yield future science revelations. Years of analysis of some 2005 observations by the rover's Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer, Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer and Moessbauer Spectrometer produced a report last year that an outcrop on Husband Hill bears a high concentration of carbonate. This is evidence of a wet, non-acidic ancient environment that may have been favorable for microbial life.

"What's most remarkable to me about Spirit's mission is just how extensive her accomplishments became," said Squyres. "What we initially conceived as a fairly simple geologic experiment on Mars ultimately turned into humanity's first real overland expedition across another planet. Spirit explored just as we would have, seeing a distant hill, climbing it, and showing us the vista from the summit. And she did it in a way that allowed everyone on Earth to be part of the adventure."

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rovers Opportunity and Spirit for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington. For more about the rovers, see: http://www.nasa.gov/rovers or http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html.

Guy Webster 818-354-6278

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

2011-160

Source: NASA - Mars Exploration Rovers - News & Media Resources

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Spirit's Triumphs on Mars

25 May 2011

Team members reflect on Spirit's six-years of roving Mars.

Source: NASA - Multimedia - Video Gallery

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so we finally found some aliens?

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It's incredible that Spirit could handle the Martian landscape for such a long time. I hope someday we'll be able to get to Mars ourselves and retrieve her. I'd say she deserves some happy retirement back on her home planet. :yes:

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Farewell little one and thank you for all you have accomplished. I do hope that NASA will eventually hear a signal from her saying "hey I am still here you know". What a fantastic mission and a major comeback for the NASA Mars teams. Way to go guys, lets do this again with Curiosity's upcoming mission.

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Amazing to think that it was only supposed to last three months. RIP Spirit.

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Hats off to all the Men and Women involved in the Mars Rover programs. Well Done.

Its nice to hear and read that our little Troopers are reffered to as "She`s"

Like the Great Naval Ships past and Present. I too cant wait until Mars Rover "Curiosity" Hits the Dirt Running !

We may find what were looking for soon.

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Kinda restores my faith. Just goes to show, even using stuff from "taiwan" we can still build things that last, when we choose to. I'm with DONTEATUS---hats off to those folks. Awesome pics too! No telling what they've learned after all that time.

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Well done Spirit.

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Heroic little things these rovers. Thank you for the amazing images. Thumbs up.

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How sad. Have been following this amazing little machine for years. I will miss it. Thankfully it's partner is still with us!

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long live spirit.... we wi never forget u.. :rolleyes:

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long live spirit... excllnt job... :rolleyes:

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Farewell little one and thank you for all you have accomplished. I do hope that NASA will eventually hear a signal from her saying "hey I am still here you know". What a fantastic mission and a major comeback for the NASA Mars teams. Way to go guys, lets do this again with Curiosity's upcoming mission.

they wont, no one is listening any more.

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is spirits final resting place located in a possible landing site for future manned missions?

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Amazing to think that it was only supposed to last three months. RIP Spirit.

+1... I was thinking the same...

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I hope the Martians will enjoy back engineering it :ph34r:

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Kudos to a 3 month plan.

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