Rover extraction tests begin
Weeks of further testing and analysis of results are expected.
Provided by NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
July 7, 2009
Using a test rover in a sandbox at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, 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 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.