Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Sweet dreams, Spirit

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

31-03-2010 18:48 CDT

Topics: Spirit, mission status, Mars Exploration Rovers

This just in from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit skipped a planned communication session on March 30 and, as anticipated from recent power-supply projections, has probably entered a low-power hibernation mode.

In this mode, the rover's clock keeps running, but communications and other activities are suspended in order to put all available energy into heating and battery recharging. When the battery charge is adequate, the rover attempts to wake up and communicate on a schedule it knows.

"We may not hear from Spirit again for weeks or months, but we will be listening at every opportunity, and our expectation is that Spirit will resume communications when the batteries are sufficiently charged," said John Callas of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., who is project manager for Spirit and its twin rover, Opportunity....

Spirit had been communicating on a once-per-week schedule in recent weeks. During the designated time for the rover to communicate with NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter passing overhead on March 30, Odyssey heard nothing from the rover.

"We are checking other less-likely possibilities for the missed communication, but this probably means that Spirit tripped a low-power fault sometime between the last downlink on March 22 and yesterday," Callas said. "The recent downlinks had indicated that the battery state of charge was decreasing, getting close to the level that would put Spirit into this hibernation."Winter Solstice is not until May 13, more than six weeks from now. So it doesn't seem likely to me (though this is just my own speculation) that we'll hear from her again for three months at least, into July, or even August.

Hang in there, Spirit.

 
See other posts from March 2010

 

Or read more blog entries about: Spirit, mission status, Mars Exploration Rovers

Comments:

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

JOIN THE
PLANETARY SOCIETY

Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Us

Featured Images

SpaceX autonomous spaceport drone ship

Falcon 9 deployable landing fins
Kepler-22b: Closer to Finding an Earth
LBN 438
More Images

Featured Video

View Larger »

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!