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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RE: Why such a short design life...
3/21/2006 9:51:05 AM
> "Just wanted to point out your flaw with regards to comparing Hubble and the JWST. Hubble is visible light and James Webb is infrared light."
No. Hubble's spectrum spans deep infrared to optical to UV. JWST starts at the mid-infrared and terminates in the optical range (around 0.6um I believe). JWST is optimized for near-infrared and within that range, has a much greater light-gathering capacity and somewhat higher resolution.
As for the original point that JWST is a "replacement" and/or successor for Hubble, that is exactly how NASA has been billing it, even though their capabilities don't overlap perfectly.
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