July 01, 2009
Engineers placed a rock underneath the test rover at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., on July 1, 2009, to more closely simulate Spirit's predicament on Mars. After becoming embedded in soft soil, Spirit used the microscopic imager at the end of its arm last month to look under its own belly for the first time. The resulting view (at http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/press/spirit/20090603a.html) confirmed a rock beneath the rover touching its underbelly. With a rock now placed similarly in the test sandbox, testing in the next few weeks will evaluate possible extraction moves for Spirit.
For all Spirit updates, go to http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/freespirit/ .