Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Latest On Spirit

This is the view from Gusev Crater, Mars at local sunrise 5:51 PM on July 22, 2010 Universal Time. Earth once again leads the parade of planets prior to sunrise. Below, Jupiter and Venus form a tighter grouping. A Martian Galileo with a telescope could probably see Jupiter's moons at night. Earth's Moon, previously the limit of human exploration, may be visible on some nights.

No communication has been heard from the Spirit rover since March 22. Most likely Spirit has experienced a low-power fault, has turned off all subsystems, and gone to sleep. During this hibernation, the rover will use all available solar power to recharge her batteries. When there is sufficient battery charge, Spirit would be heard from again.

No word yet from ARES, the human expedition to Mars. It was due to land July 13. Perhaps the crew is alive but, like Spirit, unable to communicate.


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