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Mars NASA Space

Mars Rover "Spirit" In Danger 222

Riding with Robots writes "Just days after announcing that the Mars Phoenix Lander has met its icy demise, NASA reports that a dust storm has left the rover Spirit on the edge of power failure. During one recent Martian day, the robotic geologist's solar array produced only 89 watt hours of energy, the lowest output by either rover in their nearly five years on Mars. Mission managers are taking steps to protect the hardy, battle-worn spacecraft, but the agency describes Spirit's status as 'vulnerable.'"
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Mars Rover "Spirit" In Danger

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @01:49PM (#25735715)

    This has required mission managers to shut down the dual graphics cards and switch to the integrated graphics. Really sad.

  • Hrm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Steauengeglase ( 512315 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @01:52PM (#25735759)

    Can you really call a rover a "spacecraft"? That is kind of like dipping my car in the ocean and call it a boat.

  • by wicka ( 985217 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @01:53PM (#25735787)
    Spirit and Opportunity simply cannot be broken. I wouldn't worry about it.
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @01:58PM (#25735869) Homepage
    We can't allow it to fall into the hands of the damn Sandpeople.
  • by VMaN ( 164134 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @02:11PM (#25736083) Homepage

    This was a triumph
    I'm making a note here: ====HUGE SUCCESS====
    It's hard to overstate my satisfaction

    It's hard to overstate
    My satisfaction.

    Aperture Science;
    We do what we must,
    Because we can.

    For the good of all of us.
    Except the ones who are dead.

    But there's no sense crying
    Over every mistake.
    You just keep on trying
    Till you run out of cake.
    And the science gets done,
    And you make a neat gun
    For the people who are
    Still alive.

    I'm not even angry...
    I'm being so sincere right now -
    Even though you broke my heart,
    And killed me.

    And tore me to pieces.
    And threw every piece into a fire.
    As they burned it hurt because
    I was so happy for you!

    Now, these points of data
    Make a beautiful line.
    And we're out of BETA.
    We're releasing on time!
    So I'm GLaD, I got burned -
    Think of all the things we learned -
    For the people who are
    Still alive.

    (Go ahead and leave me...)
    (I think I'd prefer to stay inside...)
    (Maybe you'll find someone else
    To help you?)
    Maybe Black Mesa?
    That was a joke! HAHA! FAT CHANCE!

    Anyway this cake is great!
    It's so delicious and moist!

    Look at me; still talking
    When there's science to do!
    When I look out there,
    It makes me GLaD I'm not you.

    I've experiments to run.
    There is research to be done,
    On the people who are
    Still alive.
    And believe me I am
    Still alive.
    I'm doing science and I'm
    Still alive.
    I feel fantastic and I'm
    Still alive.
    While you're dying I'll be
    Still alive.
    And when you're dead I will be
    Still alive.

    Still alive.

    Still alive.

  • by gregbot9000 ( 1293772 ) <> on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @02:13PM (#25736109) Journal
    Hmm... the only constant I see there is that the equipment with names that are based on motivational posters are still going.

    I propose the next landers be named:
  • Options (Score:5, Funny)

    by florescent_beige ( 608235 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @02:18PM (#25736185) Journal

    1. An 89 watt-hour high-speed dash to blow the dust off. By my calculations they should be able to go 6 feet at 4 mph so ok forget that.

    2. Launch a nuclear powered feather dusting support rover. No that's stupid.

    3. Fire a kazillajoule laser at Mars to energize the solar panels. This is actually the least worst idea so far which is depressing.

    4. Spend the remaining energy teaching the rover to do the Hammer Dance with it's eight independently swiveling wheels. If you got to go down, go down doing the Hammer Dance that's what I always say which is maybe why nobody sits with me in the cafeteria.

  • by daniduclos ( 1329089 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @02:26PM (#25736303)

    considering that my dishwasher back on Earth only lasted 3. I wouldn't have expected their lander to last for that long.

    Your kitchen conditions are worst than the Martian conditions, I'm afraid... :)

  • by naz404 ( 1282810 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @02:27PM (#25736319) Homepage
    Ah, Rover Phoenix... such a loss at such a young age...
  • by rwaldin ( 318317 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @02:30PM (#25736385)

    That's what I do when my iPhone battery gets low anyway.

  • by Paradise Pete ( 33184 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @02:31PM (#25736393) Journal

    Did Obama's grandmother have wheels? If so, they'd have called her a wagon.

    Well they did call her an ambulance.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @02:36PM (#25736489)

    The most Illustrious Council of Elders has issued an update following yesterday's Planetary Day of Celebration [] of Victory over the Northern Invader. K'breel, Speaker for the Council, spake thus:

    Rejoice! One mechanical nightmare from the evil blue planet has fallen silent. The other robotic terror stirs, but only because it in quivers in fear, for we have darkened the skies with the ashes of its bretheren. We shall starve the invaders of light -- there shall be no mercy for them, as the day shall soon come when our planet itself shall rise to entomb them in a cloak of red dust! On the Tracks of the Founders, this we swear!

    When a newly-hired journalism intern implied a correlation between the invaders' movements and seasonal weather patterns, and pointed out that that the current sandstorm had begun to abate, and that the same winds that were promised to bury invaders in dust could also, on occasion, blow accumulated dust off the invaders, K'Breel, in a rare display of compassion, responded by offering him a piece of jerky made from the dried gelsacs of a recently-retired member of the Press Corps.

  • by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @02:49PM (#25736701)

    Hmm... the only constant I see there is that the equipment with names that are based on motivational posters are still going.

    Novelty poster publisher Despair, Inc. today announced a surprise entry in to the unmanned space probe arena. A spokesperson for the company commented, "NASA pretty much threw down the gauntlet with all those names."

    Represenatives for the company went on to say that their first probe had already been named. "It's called Apathy. We've already began production." When pressed for details, the company spokesperson continued to note that "...actual construction of the probe has halted as neither the design team nor the construction crew could be bothered to finish it. Operations has decided that if they can't be given a finished probe, well, there's just no reason to even bother thinking about a launch and have scrubbed any additional work on Apathy." The spokesperson went on to proudly announce that Despair had already achieved their first non-launch to date and are eagerly looking forward to their program's next success.

  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @03:24PM (#25737237) Homepage Journal

    Spirit got the election results and is committing suicide. Spirit was a big Palin fan.

  • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @03:28PM (#25737317) Journal

    Centurion: Has what sir?
    Pilate: Spiwit!
    Centurion: Yes, he did sir.
    Pilate: No, no. Spiwit, siw. Um, bwavado. A touch of dewwing-do.
    Centurion: Oh. Ahh, about eleven, sir.

  • Re:Options (Score:5, Funny)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @03:33PM (#25737407)

    Your post advocates a

    (X) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

    approach to Rover problems. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from planet to planet before a bad solar system law was passed.)

    (X) It requires too much power
    ( ) It may make situation worse
    ( ) It doesn't solve the problem
    (X) It works here on Earth but not on Mars
    ( ) It will work for two weeks and then it might get stuck
    ( ) It does not account for the climate of Mars
    (X) Marvin the Martian will not put up with it

    Specifically, your plan fails to account for

    ( ) Weight limitations on mission payload
    ( ) Space limitations on mission payload
    ( ) Extreme cold of Mars
    (X) Atmosphere of Mars
    (X) Difference between Mars gravity and Earth gravity
    (X) Materials don't exist yet
    ( ) Survivability of materials on Mars
    (X) Distance between Mars and Earth
    (X) NASA bureaucacy
    (X) Technically illiterate politicians
    (X) Marvin the Martian
    (X) Democrats
    (X) Republicans
    (X) Ralph Nader

    and the following objections may also apply:

    (X) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
    ( ) Solution is beyond mission scope
    ( ) Solution solves the wrong problem
    (X) Only delays the inevitable
    ( ) Cost limitations
    ( ) Requires redesign
    ( ) Scientific instruments may have to be excluded
    (X) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem

    Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

    ( ) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
    (X) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
    ( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

  • by suso ( 153703 ) * on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @04:04PM (#25737837) Homepage Journal

    Your kitchen conditions are worst than the Martian conditions, I'm afraid... :)

    That might be true. I have a 2 year old.

  • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @04:29PM (#25738205) Journal

    fuck you looser

    Tighter is better.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @04:53PM (#25738519)

    i thought spirit was one of palins kids!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @05:47PM (#25739173)


  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Wednesday November 12, 2008 @07:06PM (#25740253)

    "They were guaranteed to work for 90 days."

    And if they had failed within that time, NASA could have made a warranty claim, but to do so they would have had to return the unit to the manufacturer.

Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.