rover driver Paolo Bellutta measures how much the rover moved sideways, downslope, during the maneuver.
Rover driver Paolo Bellutta measures how much the rover moved sideways, downslope, during the maneuver.
Using a test rover in a sandbox at JPL with special soil simulating Spirit's predicament on Mars, engineers are assessing possible maneuvers for getting Spirit out and onto firmer ground. They began on Monday, July 6, with the simplest maneuver on their list of options: driving forward with all five operable wheels. In the first set of tests, the wheels turned enough to cover tens of meters, or yards, if there had been no slippage. The test rover moved slightly forward and sideways downslope. Weeks of further testing and analysis of results are expected before engineers identify the best moves to command Spirit to make.

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