from the rover-that-keeps-on-giving dept.
Nancy Atkinson writes "Even though the Spirit rover is stuck in loose soil on Mars, she has an overabundance of electrical power due to a wind event that cleaned off her solar panels. While MER scientists and engineers are having the rover take pictures of her surroundings in an effort to figure a way to get her dislodged, there also is enough power (since the rover isn't moving anywhere) to do something extra: keep the rover 'awake' at night and run her heaters so she can take images of the night sky on Mars. 'Certainly, a month or more ago, no one was considering astronomy with the rovers,' said Mark Lemmon, planetary scientist at Texas A&M University and member of the rover team. 'We thought that was done. With the dust cleanings, though, everyone thinks it is better to use the new found energy on night time science than to just burn it with heaters.'"
"All the people are so happy now, their heads are caving in. I'm glad they
are a snowman with protective rubber skin"
-- They Might Be Giants