Emily LakdawallaMar 24, 2009

Spirit puts the pedal to the metal

Way to go, Spirit! The last two drives for the five-wheeled rover have taken it a total of about 40 meters west, traveling around the north edge of Home Plate. If I'm not mistaken, that's more than Spirit has driven in the last 400 sols combined. Allegedly, the sol 1,856 drive of nearly 23 meters is a record for Spirit since the right front wheel seized up.

Eduardo Tesheiner has extended the base map for his Spirit route maps to show exactly where Von Braun and Goddard are, to the south of Home Plate. That's where the rover is headed, and it needs to get there by October. Not all of the drives will be as easy as the last two, but with these 40 meters on Spirit's odometer the goal seems much more reachable than it did a week ago.

Spirit route map to sol 1,856
Spirit route map to sol 1,856 As of sol 1,856 (March 24, 2009), Spirit's drivers had decided to take the western route around Home Plate to Spirit's long-term destinations of Von Braun and Goddard, to the south. Two long drives on sols 1,854 and 1,856 of 13 and 26 meters got Spirit well started on the journey.Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech / UA / Eduardo Tesheiner
Spirit's rear view, sol 1,856
Spirit's rear view, sol 1,856 On sol 1,856 Spirit managed a drive of nearly 26 meters in spite of the fact that it must drag its right front wheel as it drives. The rover now travels backwards, dragging the stuck wheel behind it. The drive took Spirit on an unusually (for Spirit) straight course along the north side of Home Plate.Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech

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