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ExoLance
Mars rover stuck in soft ground
Posted: Tue, May 12, 2009, 7:06 AM ET (1106 GMT)
Mars Exploration Rover (NASA/JPL) The Mars rover Spirit has gotten stuck in a patch of soft ground, and project officials said it may be weeks before they can attempt to extricate the venerable spacecraft. JPL said in a statement Monday that the rover had been slipping in soft soil recent, halfway burying its five working wheels. Engineers are studying ways to get the rover out of that soil patch without further burying it, a process that could take weeks. Spirit's twin, Opportunity, got stuck in a sand dune several years ago but was able to free itself after several weeks. Spirit, which has been operating for over five years despite being designed for only a 90-day mission, has also experienced a series of computer glitches last month, although those problems have not recurred recently.
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