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Martian dust storm covers Spirit's solar panels in dust

This has proven to be a bad week for NASA rovers patrolling Mars. NASA has several rovers on the surface of Mars performing various missions including looking for water and existence of ice on the red planet.

Yesterday, NASA announced that it had lost communications with the Phoenix lander and had no expectations of the lander surviving the inhospitable Martian winter. Despite the fact that the rover has been declared dead by NASA, the Phoenix mission was a success and lasted longer than originally planned by NASA.

Today, NASA has announced that the Spirit rover is also in jeopardy of failing. Lack of sunlight hitting the solar panels of Spirit is causing serious concern at NASA. According to scientists on the mission, Spirit only produced 89 watt-hours of energy last weekend, which is half the amount of power the rover needs for full performance.

The reason for the drop in power production is a massive dust storm that deposited Martian dust on the solar panels and prevented sunlight form reaching them. Spirit's mission began in 2003 when it was sent to the red planet to search for clues on past water on the surface of the planet.

To help conserve power and prevent Spirit from running its batteries dry, NASA instructed the rover to turn off several heaters designed to keep scientific instruments warm. The rover was also ordered to stop communicating with Earth until Thursday.

NASA says that if it doesn't hear form Spirit on Thursday it will be extremely concerned. Scientists hope Spirit will make it, the dust storms over it position have abated. It's not known if the storm caused damage to any of the rover's instruments at this time or if the rover will be able to move again due to the dust on the panels.

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RE: Longer then expected...
By JBird7986 on 11/12/2008 1:18:24 PM , Rating: 4
I'd say so...January 2009 makes what, five years out of what was supposed to be a 90-day mission? Heck...even the Enterprise only went on five-year missions! ;)

RE: Longer then expected...
By amanojaku on 11/12/2008 1:30:49 PM , Rating: 1
That was original Enterprise, and it was only one mission. Successors went on a continuing mission.

RE: Longer then expected...
By Tsuwamono on 11/12/2008 2:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
NC-01 is the first and therefore can be refered to with only the designation Enterprise. all others should require Enterprise A, B, C, D, E, etc.

RE: Longer then expected...
By quiksilvr on 11/12/2008 2:43:57 PM , Rating: 4
Oh dear God...

RE: Longer then expected...
By FITCamaro on 11/12/2008 4:21:10 PM , Rating: 2
Which is more entertaining? Cripple fight or nerd fight?

RE: Longer then expected...
By Aquila76 on 11/12/2008 5:16:30 PM , Rating: 5
How about a crippled nerd fight?

Stephen Hawking vs. Davros


RE: Longer then expected...
By quiksilvr on 11/12/2008 5:18:23 PM , Rating: 2
Dammit you beat me to it!

RE: Longer then expected...
By jgvandemeer on 11/12/2008 7:03:41 PM , Rating: 2
I had to google that Davros reference. Guess I'm out of touch on geek-cultural references.

RE: Longer then expected...
By Souka on 11/13/2008 11:13:19 AM , Rating: 2's been around for what... 30yrs? Plus was it re-kindled in the recent re-do of Dr. Who?

RE: Longer then expected...
By quiksilvr on 11/12/2008 5:17:54 PM , Rating: 3
RE: Longer then expected...
By ultimatebob on 11/12/2008 3:15:38 PM , Rating: 3
Wow... not only was that comment geeky as hell, it was wrong! The "original" Enterprise (the one with Kirk and Spock on it) was NCC-1701... no bloody A,B,C,D, or E!

RE: Longer then expected...
By Belard on 11/12/2008 4:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
When does the 1701-F come out?

RE: Longer then expected...
By BBeltrami on 11/12/2008 6:02:34 PM , Rating: 5
Whenever my wife pulls my finger.

RE: Longer then expected...
By Belard on 11/13/2008 6:10:49 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not kidding...

Just as this page loaded up and was reading what you posted... I farted.

WOW! OMG! You Betcha!

RE: Longer then expected...
By blazeoptimus on 11/12/2008 3:59:03 PM , Rating: 3
Not only that, but if he was referring to the show "Star Trek: Enterprise" The designation was actually NX-01 (being that it was still partially a prototype). NCC wasn't supposed to be in used till the TOS era in the Star Trek Universe.

And yes, I do watch "The Big Bang Theory" for the Star Trek jokes.

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