Latest Cleaning event Stories

2009-02-12 12:31:34

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. The rover uses about 180 watt-hours daily for basic survival and communications. The energy increase roughly doubles the amount of the rover's discretionary power, NASA said. We will be able to use this...

2009-01-03 15:00:00

NASA's "Spirit" and "Opportunity" Mars rovers will soon be celebrating five years of memorable missions. The administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California cheered on Spirit's first safe landing on Jan. 3, 2004. Opportunity soon followed 21 days later. However, nobody would have predicted the team would still be operating both rovers in 2009. Ed Weiler, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said the...

2007-08-25 09:40:55

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. Opportunity advanced 13.38 meters (44 feet) toward the edge of Victoria Crater on Aug. 21. Mission controllers were taking advantage of gradual clearing of dust from the sky while also taking precautions against buildup of dust settling onto the rover. "Weather and power conditions continue to improve, although very...

2007-08-08 06:17:29

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. Spirit is even being commanded to move its arm for the first time in nearly three weeks. It will position the arm's microscopic imager to take a series of photographs of two soil targets and one rock target. Opportunity's planned science observations are for studies of the atmosphere. Energy production from solar...

2007-07-27 10:30:17

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. Spirit is under the dustiest sky ever seen at that location. Sunlight at Spirit's location is more obscured than current conditions for Opportunity, though not as severe as what Opportunity faced a week ago. Mission controllers Thursday received the first status report from Opportunity...

2007-07-20 11:05:00

PASADENA, Calif. - 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. For nearly a month, a series of severe Martian summer dust storms has affected the rover Opportunity and, to a lesser extent, its companion, Spirit. The dust in the Martian atmosphere over Opportunity has blocked 99 percent of direct sunlight to the rover, leaving only the limited diffuse sky light to...

2007-03-14 19:40:00

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. "This material could have been left behind by water that dissolved these minerals underground, then came to the surface and evaporated, or it could be a volcanic deposit formed around ancient gas vents," said Dr. Ray Arvidson of Washington University, St. Louis. He is the deputy principal investigator for NASA's twin Mars rovers, Spirit...

2006-03-22 06:35:00

NASA -- 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 to drag squeaky wheels, losing full range of motion in stiff arms, and needing to reboot the ol' computer brains every now and then to cure memory problems. "I'm an old boomer at 58-years-old, and I've had to walk with a cane for arthritic problems in the past," says Engineering Team Chief Jake Matijevic. The rovers...

2005-01-31 07:20:00

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. Astrobiology Magazine -- Since landing on Mars a year ago, NASA's pair of six-wheeled geologists have been constantly exposed to martian winds and dust. Because the rovers...

Word of the Day
  • Wasting away as a result of abstinence from food.
The word 'abrosia' comes from a Greek roots meaning 'not' and 'eating'.