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NASA's Mars Rover Goes Silent After Getting Stuck in Sand Trap

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 4:04pm

NASA— One of NASA's Mars Rovers is no longer responding, and NASA is thinking about calling it quits and leaving it in the sandy bed.

NASA said it will make one last effort before ditching all efforts to “wake-up” the Mars Rover “Spirit.” Spirit fell silent nearly a year ago, and NASA engineers believe something is seriously wrong with Spirit— something more than just a power issue.

Spirit, a solar-powered Rover, sunk into a sand trap in 2009 during a routine drive. NASA attempted to wiggle it free, but Spirit remained stuck. And since it was unable to tilt itself toward the sun, the Rover went into hibernation.

NASA engineers had expected the rover to “wake up” once there was maximum sunlight filtrating the location where it's trapped, but that moment came and went earlier in March, and Spirit remained silent.

If Spirit remains silent within the next month or so, NASA will instead focus on Spirit's twin, Opportunity, which is currently on the other side of the planet.   

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