What Happened to the Spirit Rover?

What Happened to the Spirit Rover?

NASA Mars Rover


Spirit and Opportunity were the names given to the two rovers that were sent to Mars in 2003. Opportunity enjoyed a long and pretty much unhampered journey across the martian surface. Poor Spirit was plagued with problems but battled through them to make some of the best discoveries in the mission.

Spirit's problems started early on with a software glitch. Shortly after landing the software kept rebooting itself. This was fixed only for Spirit to lose a wheel in 2006. It had to drag the wheel behind it. Fortunately, the dragging wheel scraped the surface which revealed water. Limping along at a painfully slow speed, Spirit became covered in dust from a dust storm. This covered the solar power cells which drastically reduced the power that Spirit had to work with. Luckily, a martian wind blew the dust away allowing the rover to survive. 

Finally, the rover became stuck in sinking sand. Unfortunately, it did not escape from this and stopped sending reports to Earth in March 2010.

The Spirit rover spent six years on the surface of Mars. Not bad considering it was only planned to survive for 90 days.

Image by Maas Digital LLC for Cornell University and NASA/JPL


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