Spirit Stands Up

Image credit: NASA/JPL

NASA engineers confirmed today that the Spirit rover has successfully unfolded itself and “stood up” from its contracted travel position on the surface of Mars. The latest image taken by the rover shows its front wheels locked into the proper position. The lander’s airbag is still partially blocking the main exit ramp, so engineers are considering whether to continue trying to pull the airbag in, or use another ramp to roll off the lander. The second rover, Opportunity, is expected to arrive on Mars on January 24, 2004.

JPL engineers played Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up” in the control room as they watched new images confirming that the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit successfully stood up on its lander late Thursday night Pacific time, a major step in preparing for egress. This image from the rover’s front hazard avoidance camera shows the rover in the final stage of its stand-up process. The two wheels on the bottom right and left are locked into position, along with the suspension system. The martian landscape is in the background. With a deflated airbag partially blocking one exit route, engineers will decide whether Spirit should use a different route to roll off the lander.

Original Source: NASA/JPL News Release