One of Mars Rover Spirit's Wheels Stops Working
March 19, 2006 3:35 PM
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One of the front wheels on the Mars rover Spirit has stopped working
The Mars rover Spirit project has been going very well for NASA, but one of
Spirit's front wheels has stopped working
. Researchers believe that the motor that rotates the wheel is no longer working. The motors that rotate the wheels have worked much longer than the initial mission expected, which may be a reason one of the wheels has failed. The same wheel had problems before, when it started drawing too much current on the Red Planet. Engineers would temporarily disable the wheel and occasionally run the rover backwards to counter the problem.
Spirit is again dragging the wheel as it tries to reach a position where it can get as much sunlight as possible during winter, but although the point of minimum sunshine is more than 100 days away, there is already only enough to power about one hour of driving on flat ground per day, JPL said.
The Spirit landed on Mars in January of 2004, and has done a great job gathering information for NASA.
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3/19/2006 8:35:28 PM
I personally think 3 months is rather a poor design criteria for a little mars rover. Especially since it has taken so long for the little thing to get there!
What are the reasons for its 3 months life?
1./ Power expectations?
2./ Poor quality of OEM parts?
3./ Somebody trying to cover their pretty little ass. If it didn't last, then they wouldnt get the boot. Conversely, if it did, then they would get a cheer from everyone saying, wow, 300% life expectancy etc.?
If 1./, then they were expecting the solar winter to cause loss of power, meaning no moving until days/weeks of battery recharge, but in this time, the poor little thing would cover up with too much dirty/silt and the wheels would get stuck
If 2./, better OEM parts may be available in china, Korea or CCCP?! LOL.
If 3./, then find him and fire him. This is the sort of person that would rather give a 1 day life expectancy for real ass covering, but realised that too many people would notice just 1 day and say "hey, that's a hell of a lot of money to spend on a 1 day rover".
I personally think the rover should be designed at a minimum to last one Mars summer (which is approximately one Earth year).
3/19/2006 8:55:15 PM
please, build better rovers for us, then, just like all of the United States Congress can do (hell, they can build a better shuttle too!)
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