On The Road Again


Spirit's View of Von Braun
Spirit's View of Von Braun

The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit resumed driving this past Thursday after over two weeks of inactivity at its position northeast of Home Plate. The image above shows a small hill informally known as “Von Braun”, and will be investigated more in the months ahead.

Spirit has been behaving erratically this month, resetting itself, forgetting commands and failing to record data to be uploaded at the end of its workday. Engineers at JPL are working on finding the cause of these malfunctions, and its recent immobility is the result of their attempts to diagnose the rover.

Both Spirit and Opportunity have been operating over 20 times longer than intitially planned. They have more than surpassed expectations, investigating the Martian surface for over 5 years now. They get their power from solar energy.

Opportunity is currently in good condition, and is steadily moving toward her next target of Endeavour Crater across the dunes of the Meridiani Plains.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech