Feeds

Is it all over for Mars Rover?

Martian winter might do for plucky robot

The next step in data security

NASA is warning that we might have heard the last message from the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit because it might not survive the Martian winter.

The Spirit Rover hasn't been heard from since 22 March. The team expected it to go into hibernation mode because the low angle of the sun and the Rover's position make its solar panels all but useless until November.

Last month the team tried to contact Rover using "sweep and beep" but heard nothing.

Doug McCuistion, director of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, said: "It will be the miracle from Mars if our beloved rover phones home. It's never faced this type of severe condition before -- this is unknown territory." The team believes Rover's best, and last, chance of phoning home will come in the next few months.

In previous winters Rover used its heaters to keep its internal temperature above -40 Fahrenheit (-40°C). Without these heaters its temperature is likely to be nearer -67 Fahrenheit (-55°C).

The explorer is designed to wait until the sun has adequately recharged its batteries before calling home.

NASA said it won't give up all hope until March 2011 - the Martian summer solstice. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.