Spirit, one of the two Mars rovers, seems to be stuck in the Martian soil
with its right front wheel halfway buried. Spirit was exploring a low plateau
when the loose soil resulted in slippage which is threatening the rover’s life.
This turn of events may indeed be the end of the Spirit rover.
NASA is aware of the dilemma and is experimenting with earth driven
replications to find a solution for the stuck rover. If Spirit keeps spinning
its wheels, the jam will worsen which may result in the chassis making contact
with the Martian rocks. If that were to happen, dislodging the rover would
become more of a challenge.
This problem may take several weeks to fix and NASA has already stopped
sending commands to the complex machinery. NASA is not giving up hope just yet,
but they are not sure which way this situation will progress.
Even if we do lose our beloved rover Spirit, we must be thankful that it’s
life on Mars lasted as long as it did. The original lifespan of Spirit and
Opportunity (the two rovers) was estimated at three months but they certainly
outlived their life expectancy.
Spirit has been showing signs of aging lately and experiencing sudden reboots
from the computer onboard, failure to respond to calls, and even amnesia.
Scientists do not know the exact reason for the malfunctions, up they do know
that Spirit performed well above and beyond everyone’s expectations.