A second rover, closer to the weight of Spirit on Mars, is put through maneuvers to interpret the effects of Martian soil and gravity.


I'm Ashley Stroupe, one of the Mars rover drivers for Spirit and I'm here with the latest Free Spirit Update.

We've started doing a very interesting set of tests.
We've brought in a new rover.

This rover is lighter weight than the regular rovers.

And that actually models how much the real rovers weigh on Mars.

Because Mars has only 38 percent the gravity that we have here on Earth.

We're testing it on several different kinds of soil so that we can build the model of how the rover interacts

with different kinds of soil and that will help us predict what the rover is going to do on the Mars soil when we start extraction.

After these tests, we're going to be doing some extraction testing

where we will be doing long sequences of maneuvers, which hopefully will help get Spirit out on Mars.

Once we see which of those sequences of moves works the best, we'll then be able to implement those on Mars.

Text: Meanwhile on Mars

Text: Spirit's view of the sun and sky on Sol 2005
Spirit is experiencing a small dust storm and there's been a slight drop in power.

We were hoping that's going to blow over soon and to be back to her normal power levels.

On the other side of the planet, Opportunity is still investigating the fascinating meteorite that we found which has told us many interesting things, including giving us some insight as to how dense the atmosphere of Mars must've been a long, long time ago.

I'm Ashley Stroupe and this was your Free Spirit Update

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

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