Latest Cleaning event Stories
Martian wind gusts have removed some dust from the U.S. space agency's Mars rover Spirit, increasing its electrical output, NASA says. National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists said the cleaning boosts Spirit's daily energy supply to about 240 watt-hours from 210 watt-hours.
NASAâ€™s â€œSpiritâ€ and â€œOpportunityâ€ Mars rovers will soon be celebrating five years of memorable missions.
After six weeks of hunkering down during raging dust storms that limited solar power, both of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have resumed driving.
Slight clearing of still-dusty Martian skies has improved the energy situation for both Spirit and Opportunity, allowing controllers to increase the rovers' science observations.
As of Thursday, July 26, NASA rovers Spirit and Opportunity are both enduring levels of reduced power supply. The rovers can survive at these levels, but NASA continues to sharply restrict their activities.
Having explored Mars for three-and-a-half years in what were missions originally designed for three months, NASA's Mars rovers are facing perhaps their biggest challenge.
Some bright Martian soil containing lots of sulfur and a trace of water intrigues researchers who are studying information provided by NASA's Spirit rover.
In human years, Spirit and Opportunity are baby boomers -- in their 50s and 60s. In dog years, they are over 350 years old! The rovers "keep on keeping on" despite having a range of problems.
After a year on Mars, the rovers have been covered with dust. Scientists believe one cannot understand today's changes on Mars -- its weather, temperature or water -- without also accounting for dust. But the engineers trying to extend the lifetime of the rovers' solar power are as concerned about the first year of dust.
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