Malfunctioning Instrument on Spirit

An instrument on board Spirit, one of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers, has malfunctioned, potentially limiting the amount of data that can be retrieved from the surface of Mars. The instrument is called a Mossbauer spectrometer, and it’s designed to determine the presence and abundance of iron-bearing minerals in the rocks of Mars. If the glitch can’t be worked out, it will still be able to detect the mineral, just not its quantity. Engineers still have several months to get this fixed before Spirit arrives at Mars on January 3.