back to article NASA's Spirit rover stuck for good

Spirit's days of wandering the Martian landscape are over, as NASA resigns itself to leaving the bogged-down rover in place to survive the Red Planet's winter. The space agency said Tuesday that it's ending efforts to extricate the robot from the loose soil where it's been trapped since April. Spirit will instead continue to …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Andy Baird

    Improving by degrees

    Note to typesetter: the HTML entity ° makes a standard "degree" symbol. It's a lot more elegant (not to mention browser-compatible) than superscripting the letter O.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. Austin Modine (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Improving by degrees

      Yes -- you're absolutely right. I'll change it proper.

      1. E Haines


        Will you change "It's driving days" to "Its driving days" while you're at it?

  2. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    Tell your Roomba to.....

    ...pray for Spirit

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson


      nuf said

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    6 years

    Seems like a pretty good rolling time to me. Lets be fair, we all half expected it to blow up on landing.


    Snow Chains please....

    rover in 90 foot backward aTtempt moved 1 & 1/2 inch, yet lifted itself 1/2 inch. remember base of rover got stuck on rock, the dug itself in. So moving up 1/2 "could greatly reduce friction stopping movement. unfortunately, wheels where not spun at top speed nor long enough. breaking stuck vechile from snow is full speed long winded event. maybe if spirit has done full speed backwards, first 150 feet to get upward lift, minute wait in extreme cold than 2,000 foot backward push with plenty of wiggles & giggles, it break wildly free. FREE SPIRIT/


  5. Anonymous Coward

    So you want a title, eh?

    "“It's driving days are likely over,” he told journalists during a teleconference.

    NASA's new plan for the next few weeks is to jostle Spirit into place where it's solar arrays""

    Translating: "It is driving days [...] into place where it is solar arrays [...]" (yes, the apostrophe denotes a contraction...)

    When will this mauling of the English language stop? I'm (translation: "I am") willing to put up with this happening in comments, which may reasonably be assumed to be written by people who are not schooled in journalism and the proper use of language; in a main-page article, I find this sort of mangling of the language offensive. I hereby give notice that I am not exempt from the occasional typo, but the repeated misusage of contractions where they are not appropriate within the same article, in my humble opinion, cannot be an accident. I do recognize the holiness of the quote, as in the first part of the article I quoted. In the second part, which was not a quote within the context of the article, I find myself offended, especially since this sort of language disuse has rencently begun to proliferate at El Reg.

    Sorry if I trod on anybody's toes with this one... I just think there is a wee bit of difference between expressions like "its" and "it is."

  6. Gene Cash Silver badge

    As a US taxpayer...

    I sure as hell got my money's worth a couple dozen times over, and then some.

    I've got my fingers crossed hoping it survives the winter. Here's to ya both, Spirit and Opportunity.

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    All Traction and Leverage is Lost only when you Stop

    Seems like Oft Pissed/Off Piste InterNetional Space Missions would be Better Performed with Tracked Command Caterpillar Vehicles rather than with Worming Wagons with Wayward Wheels, and that would require New Curious Protocol Programming too.

    1. Paul RND*1000


      Couldn't you just, you know, stroll over there and help the poor little fella out? Since you *are* from Mars and all.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Spirit can also watch how wind pushes the soil across the terrain"

    What a great way to sell the idea of being buried alive!

  9. Adrian Challinor

    Don't have a Roomba,

    But the Lego MindStorm is running scared.

    Seriously, this should be seen as a success. Spirit went up to do 90 days work and lasted for 6 years. The IT angle is that this is 6 years with the same hardware, no updates to graphics drivers or memory size. Not a bad design at all. NASA even changed the O/S a couple of times.

    My hat goes up to NASA for this one.

  10. jake Silver badge

    My only question is ...

    Why spend 9 months trying to fix what was obviously unfixable after the first couple weeks? Isn't doing the same thing many times, expecting a different result each time, despite all evidence to the contrary, one of the signs of (clinical) insanity?

    Y,y,y, I know ... ::sighs::

  11. Parax

    Surprised we haven't heard...

    ... about them using the rock abrasion tool arm to drag/nudge itself clear, or is the tool useless?

    Or even place the rock abrasion tool under a wheel for traction...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton


      "Or even place the rock abrasion tool under a wheel for traction"

      Maybe they could have found somewhere to stick the rock abrasion tool which would have motivated Spirit out of the sand trap? You know, like one of those pleasure pencils which you insert and then it goes bzzz....bzzzz.....


  12. karma mechanic

    That last sentence about the wind...

    ...was really sad.

    1. Luther Blissett

      How nostalgic can you get in the hyperreal?

      Are you a poet or something? What I found really sad was that these two robots had names which were at least 2 centuries out of date as far as the USA was concerned - more in the case of Discovery, but dating from the first central bank in the case of Spirit (ca 1815?). To be relevant to the deterministically monopolar USA of today they should have been named things like Gog and Magog,or Shock and Awe, or Cap and Trade. Spirit and Discovery, RIP.

      1. Paul RND*1000


        Unless one of the Space Shuttles somehow ended up on Mars. Maybe James May was driving and got lost on the way to the ISS?

  13. stu 4

    midnight dark mass

    last night I found my roomba, Pleo, Mr Squggles and Numnum dancing round a pentagon they had contructed in my living room.

    They appeared to have just sacrificed next doors cat and placed it in the centre...

    I will not stand for dark magic. They have been severly repremanded.

    though I hate cats.

  14. ravenviz
    Thumb Up

    That's the Spirit

    "If Spirit wakes up in the spring, NASA intends to give the machine new life as a stationary science platform"

    This is all good news of course, but *if* Spirit comes out of this winter alice we'll just have the same situation next year.

    It is interesting when we talk about the superb performance of these rovers (and other robot missions) but I always wonder if we confuse original mission duration with durability design specifications. I asked the tour guide at NASA's JPL about the latter i.e. they should make longer missions as these tobotic craft always seem to outperform the metric, but he didn't give a straight answer i.e. that missions are designed to outperform and we think how wonderful they all are (unless they fail at the start of course).

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    The boy done good

    I don't think anyone can complain too much about the rover getting stuck when it was supposed to only last 3 months.

    Why doesn't NASA just commission a dozen clones of the rovers and send them out to save on development money?

  16. AlistairJ
    Thumb Up

    An ode to the wandering spirit

    Rest now wandering Spirit

    Your wheels have done dust bit

    It seems your lengthy Martian flit

    Was the interplanetary chiznit.

  17. Lars Silver badge

    Harder soil?

    I wonder if the soil during the winter is harder. Suppose it was possible to pre program a last attempt to get free (10 sec) during the winter.

    1. Snafu 2


      How would it be harder - no wate (or other freezable vapour), remember?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    :-( Rover

    That is all.

  19. VulcanV5
    Paris Hilton

    In view of wot other's on here have been saying. . .

    . . . Id like to see NASA launching a couple of new Mars Rover's.

    One could be called Errant, the other, Apostrophe.

    Paris. Because she love's it.

  20. ForthIsNotDead
    Thumb Up

    Hats off

    Hats off to NASA. They did a terrific job. Completely awesome.

    If only the UK could do something like that :-(

    Well done NASA. You deserve to be proud of yourselves. What was only designed for 90 days lasted 6 years, and, all being well, will still make a contribution.

    Major thumbs up!

  21. Alex-TheManfromUncle


    This pulled the ol' heart strings.. ;-(

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021