Two Rovers Active on Mars

Whoever connected rocket science to the concept of confusion may have been right. Look at the NASA page on the Phoenix Mars Mission. You’ll get depressed. You will get confused. Then you will understand NASA is not talking about the current Mars Phoenix Lander, but rather a rover called Spirit. The Spirit rover landed on Mars a year ago and is still active.

We don’t hear much about the Mars Spirit rover because it is moving in slow motion. It has low batteries due to a low solar charge. It is currently only gaining enough charge daily to run a 100 watt bulb for about two hours. The energy Spirit does manage to store each day is mostly being used to keep its batteries from freezing. Spirit Rover

The Mars Spirit rover has tires and they are slipping in the loose Martian soil. Current movement has been backwards. NASA is attempting to move the rover to a place called Camp Verde. It is sending occasional images to earth and receiving commands. Spirits subsystems are working well and it is gathering information on Martian dust. That is its primary mission.

NASA has two active rovers on Mars at the current moment. All Mars rovers  are a part of the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Mission. The Spirit rover gathers information on Martian dust, while the Phoenix Mars Lander is digging in the dirt.

The best site for information on the Phoenix Mars Lander is done by the University of Arizona. The university is managing the Phoenix Lander Mission for NASA. That is a first. It is interesting to note the mission is going very well.

You will find press releases and plenty of photos on the Mars Phoenix Lander at:

University of Arizona Mars Mission website

This site is updated regularly so it has the most current information on the Mars Phoenix Lander Mission. Do enjoy.

Smiles. ET

Published in: on June 17, 2008 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Latest Scoop on The Phoenix Mars Lander

With the press release on Monday, questions were put to rest regarding whether the shield around the Phoenix Lander robotic arm would hinder its’ operation.

Test scoops of Martian soil

These pictures show the arm is working fine, and full of Martian soil.

Take note those white specks in the red soil.

We are now told that those might be salt, rather than ice.Salt would mean the water on Mars disappeared long ago. For me, that was a whole new prospect.

The Phoenix Mission Site, operated by The University of Arizona in Tucson, has some great PDF articles about the importance of water in supporting life anywhere. These are great resources for reports and presentations.

The Phoenix Mission Plan calls for three trenches to be dug by the robotic shovel arm. The latest scoop on the scoop, says the NASA guys decided to dump their first bucket full of soil, and try for another. “Practice makes perfect,” mother used to say. Simple experiment, but now there is a new issue.

Some of the soil stuck to the shovel. Does that mean moisture? I am sure they will get back to us when they figure that part out. What it does mean is that what comes out of the shovel might not flow like sand. That will affect what gets in the ovens and causes concerns over damage to the oven doors.

The oven doors are also raising eyebrows. You can see one oven door has opened properly, and the other has only opened partially.

And here I thought the folks at NASA were just sitting back and reading computer printouts. It appears they have more to work through than first meets the eye.

Latest news releases on the Phoenix Mars Lander also state that a “nagging” circuit problem was fixed. I wonder if that was the problem that caused them to have to move to the backup operating system shortly after arrival on the Martian surface.

There have been concerns expressed, and questions asked, ever since the Phoenix Lander entered the Martian atmosphere. The results we are seeing show us that the mission is proceeding on target, even with minor problems that have appeared.

Just another day in a rainy Paradise. Smiles. ET

Phoenix Mars Mission – Home

Photo credits: NASA