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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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By RabidDog on 11/12/2008 1:27:14 PM , Rating: 5
This has proven to be a bad week for NASA rovers patrolling Mars. NASA has several rovers on the surface of Mars

Pheonix is not a rover. It's a lander that stays in one place.
Please name the several rovers the NASA has in opperation on Mars.

RE: Clarification?
By abraxas1 on 11/12/2008 1:29:47 PM , Rating: 3
Can't forget the secret rovers. I hear they're called OSAMA-1 and OSAMA-2. I wonder what they're looking for?

RE: Clarification?
By Motoman on 11/12/2008 1:37:54 PM , Rating: 5
Their heads in their asses.

RE: Clarification?
By FreeTard on 11/12/2008 5:04:51 PM , Rating: 5
If those were the names, then you can bet that nobody would ever find them, even after ~7 years of searching. They'd immediately dissapear into a cave and send random broadcasts every few months to scare us.

We really don't need Mars getting a higher terror level... it's already permanently Red.

RE: Clarification?
By fstar1 on 11/12/2008 9:03:57 PM , Rating: 2
And here I thought Osama was hiding in Pakistan. No wonder we can't find him.

RE: Clarification?
By foolsgambit11 on 11/12/2008 8:42:48 PM , Rating: 2
But isn't there another rover on the planet? I thought there were two rovers and one lander that were formerly currently in operation, if you get my drift.

RE: Clarification?
By Clauzii on 11/12/2008 9:56:13 PM , Rating: 2
Mars Microrover, yes. It went there on the Mars Pathfinder mission, but is not operational anymore.

RE: Clarification?
By VaultDweller on 11/13/2008 8:22:31 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, Spirit has a sister rover, Opportunity, that was part of the same mission. It landed three weeks later than Spirit, and is still operational.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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