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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > May > May 25

G'Bye Mars Rover Spirit

From: NASA News <hqnews.nul>
Date: Tue, 24 May 2011 18:04:33 -0600
Archived: Wed, 25 May 2011 06:18:09 -0400
Subject: G'Bye Mars Rover Spirit

May 24, 2011

Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington

Guy Webster
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

RELEASE: 11-167


WASHINGTON -- NASA is ending attempts to regain contact with the
long-lived Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, which last
communicated on March 22, 2010.

A transmission that will end on Wednesday, May 25, will be the
last in a series of attempts. Extensive communications
activities during the past 10 months also have explored the
possibility that Spirit might reawaken as the solar energy
available to it increased after a stressful Martian winter
without much sunlight. With inadequate energy to run its
survival heaters, the rover likely experienced colder internal
temperatures last year than in any of its prior six years on
Mars. Many critical components and connections would have been
susceptible to damage from the cold.

Engineers' assessments in recent months have shown a very low
probability for recovering communications with Spirit.
Communications assets that have been used by the Spirit mission
in the past, including NASA's Deep Space Network of antennas on
Earth, plus two NASA Mars orbiters that can relay
communications, now are needed to prepare for NASA's Mars
Science Laboratory mission. MSL is scheduled to launch later
this year.

"We're now transitioning assets to support the November launch
of our next generation Mars rover, Curiosity," said Dave Lavery,
program executive for solar system exploration. "However, while
we no longer believe there is a realistic probability of hearing
from Spirit, the Deep Space Network may occasionally listen for
any faint signals when the schedule permits."

Spirit landed on Mars on Jan. 3, 2004, for a mission designed to
last three months. After accomplishing its prime-mission goals,
Spirit worked to accomplish additional objectives. Its twin,
Opportunity, continues active exploration of Mars.

For more information on the Mars rovers, visit:



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