back to article Mars rover faces icy death

NASA's Spirit Mars rover could be facing the prospect of freezing to death after attempts to free it from a sand trap suggest it may now have two disabled wheels. Spirit got bogged down back in April, and its three left wheels are almost completely buried. Its right-front wheel clapped out in 2006, and the right-rear wheel is …


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  1. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

    R.I.P. Spirit

    You've done a fantastic job, absolutely above and beyond. You don't owe anyone anything. One day, I hope we arrive to build a monument to you and your twin, opportunity.

    I'll raise a glass for the little rovers that could, did, and may yet still do more.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Won't somebody please think of the rovers?

    Think of poor old Opportunity all on its lonesome own.

    They have done remarkably well. Hats off to NASA on this one.

  3. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Still amazing

    These Mars rovers are still awesome, even after all this time.

    If our plucky little rover gets iced, it has still been a great success.

    Think about it:

    These NASA boffins are driving/controlling vehicles on another planet, another flipping planet!!

    Sorta makes your iPhone seem a tad lame, no?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah but..

      a fanboi will be along in a minute to tell you there's an app for that.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Broken down? So Call the AA or the RAC. Some people.............

    1. Rob

      You have to be joking...

      ... who in there right mind phones the RAC, they are a complete shambles, it'll take them well over 4hrs to get there and that's if you lie and say that Spirit is a lone female.

      1. Jacqui


        Or when you call the AA, you find that although they have been taking you annual direct debit, they have your card logged as invalid as you asked to be removed from the membership database.

        You explain that you DID NOT and ask when and who asked for you to be removed and they say that they do nto know - because you are no longer on the database.

        And I am not the only one they have tried this on - effing thieving bar stewards.

  5. Paul 131
    Jobs Horns

    re: Still amazing

    I am surprised NASA has not developed an app for controlling those things from the iPhone, though I guess getting it past the Apple Store border control police could be a hurdle...

  6. Anonymous Coward

    @ Obvious

    The AA and RAC don't cover Mars.

    NASA *did* call a local martian garage but they went "tsssk, won't be able to look at that until next May mate!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So how long before.........

      So how long before a couple of alien dodgy geezers in a grubby spaceship roll up and clamp it and tow it away. NASA will have to haul ass out to the nearest pound out on Alpha Centaurii to get it back.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: martian garage

      You forgot to mention what they quoted for parts on imported vehicles.....

  7. Alex 32

    Last Ditch Attempt?

    RAT arm to coerse the "little" fella down the hill again? Of course, I do not know what the load bearing potential is, and it could quite easily render the arm useless, but there are other things Spirit could do without the arm. Dragging that wheel won't help matters for sure..

    Just a thought (which no doubt a person in the know will hopefully set me right)

    Thank you Spirit - your info and pictures so far have been awe-inspiring. One of my faves is definitely the Mars Sunset. Just beautiful.

  8. Geoff Johnson

    Make some wheels sink.

    Surely if they can't move it, they can at least make some wheels sink deeper by spinning them. Maybe that would allow them to tilt the rover towards the sun and keep it alive.

    Then you have a stationary lander rather than a rover but it's still good for some of it's science work.

  9. Anon

    Internal gearbox jam

    Well, maybe jam wasn't the best of things to put in the gearbox?

    Beer, 'cos wasps like that too.

  10. Individual #6/42

    RIP . Well done!

    The Rover has doen its job so well we've ascribed it a personality ("plucky") and wish it well in the next life. Fantastic engineering guys! Now go build an even better one.

  11. Bilgepipe
    Gates Horns

    External Jam

    I'm no scientist, but I'm sure there's no jam on Mars.

    Lame anti-Apple jokes, everyone, poor show. You should lose your pocket money for a week.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Anti Apple jokes are never lame, they serve a valuable purpose in society. A pissed off fanboi (of any creed) is a win in my book.

  12. Paolo Marini

    we are all wondering how to build lunar and martian bases...

    but if we keep sending probes and rovers like this, I'm sure that in a few years there will be enough junk on the surface to be used as building material, plus some frozen water to boil the stew...

  13. Mad Chaz
    Thumb Up

    Quebec can be proud

    Those rovers got developed by a Canadien compagnie based in Quebec. They originally had a planned operational life of 90 days (that's what NASA had requested). How many years have they been running now?

    If they can't get it out, it'll still have performed way beyond what had been asked.

  14. Disco-Legend-Zeke


    My thoughts exactly, use arm to pull/push.

  15. Fred 4

    Manned mission

    Will the (eventual) manned mission to Mars be allowed to find and rescue (recover) at least one of the rovers -

    It would be nice to have one saved to posterity

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Sad to think about losing a friend

    Well done all around.

  17. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    re: mad chaz Posted Wednesday 9th December 2009 14:37 GMT

    Those rovers got developed by a Canadien compagnie based in Quebec. They originally had a planned operational life of 90 days (that's what NASA had requested). How many years have they been running now?

    And if NASA had got the British government to build them, they would have been 6 months late, 150% over budget and only lasted 30 days

    Where's the icon for talking like Lewis Page ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      They'd have been on time, within budget and on Mars sooner than expected.

      Granted they'd have been on Mars in lots of tiny smouldering hot pieces embedded in the martian surface but still sooner.

      Where's the smoking Beagle icon?

  18. beboyle

    Recovery - no; monument - yes

    I'd prefer to see it preserved in place. I'd be happy to visit it there.

  19. Martin Budden Bronze badge

    obvious question...

    Have they tried spinning the wheel the other way to free the rock?

  20. Charles Manning

    So what?

    NASA are probably glad to see it die.

    Spirit has been tooling around Mars for over 5 years with obsolete sensors. Science produced is not proportional to time on the ground and Spirit probably did 90% of its useful research in the first year.

    Since then Spirit has been tying up ground staff for little scientific output and just setting a dangerous precedent for reliability that is going to be hard for others to live up to.

  21. Mussie (Ed)


    Whats the bet it gets it self unstuck and moving again....

    I would put money on it

  22. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    I don't understand

    Why won't somebody send a mechanic with a couple of spare wheels?

  23. Anonymous Coward

    there is no app . . . it runs on java

  24. Stevie Silver badge


    Send up one of the prototypes refitted as a recovery vehicle like the Germans used to do with tanks in WWII and simply tow the bugger out of the hole it's dug itself into.

    Alternatively, ask one of the Chinese astronauts if they can give it a push next time they're in the neighbourhood.

    What? You didn't know about the secret Chinese Marsbase?

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