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NASA to begin final efforts to free Spirit rover
Posted: Fri, Nov 13, 2009, 9:15 AM ET (1415 GMT)
Mars Exploration Rover (NASA/JPL) NASA will begin what may its final attempt to free the Mars rover Spirit from its sand trap next week, project officials announced Thursday. The rover has been stuck in a site called "Troy" since April, when its wheels broke through a surface crust and lodged in slippery sand underneath. Controllers will initially send commands to turn its wheels forward six turns, then return data about that effort before making another attempt. Spirit has been hindered by a stuck right front wheel since 2006, requiring it to drive backwards, dragging the wheel along. Project officials acknowledged that if this attempt fails, the rover may be stuck at its current location for the remainder of its life. Spirit has been on Mars for nearly six years now, long exceeding its planned 90-day life.
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