NASA Redoubling Efforts to Contact Spirit

Spirit’s Last Picture Show – for now. Spirit’s final panoramic mosaic was taken on Sol 2175 in February 2010, a few weeks before entering hibernation mode in March 2010 just prior to the onset of her 4th winter on Mars. The Columbia Hills serve as a backdrop in this image. The rover is stalled in a sand trap called Troy adjacent to the Home Plate volcanic feature in Gusev Crater. Von Braun mound, left of center, was next driving target for science until Spirit became mired in sulfate rich soil – which indicates significant past flow of liquid water in this region of Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell, Marco Di Lorenzo, Kenneth Kremer

No one is giving up hope for Spirit. Not Yet. And neither should you.

It’s too soon to turn out the lights. Indeed NASA is stepping up operational efforts to contact the plucky rover – More communications commands; more listening time; more frequencies. Spirit last communicated with mission controllers back on Earth on March 22, 2010. The rover entered hibernation mode – some nine months ago – as the available sunlight to power the life giving solar panels was diminishing. NASA hopes to reawaken Spirit from a long slumber and reignite her breakthrough campaign of exploration and discovery from a scientific goldmine on the surface of the red planet.

“The sun is still rising on Mars,” says Ray Arvidson in an interview from Washington University in St. Louis. Arvidson is the deputy principal investigator for the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. (…) Read the rest of NASA Redoubling Efforts to Contact Spirit (1,672 words)

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(C) Ken Kremer for Universe Today, 2011. | Permalink | No comment | Add to del.icio.us Post

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