Image credit: NASA/JPL
NASA engineers have been working overtime to reestablish communications with the Spirit rover after it mysteriously stopped talking to mission control on Wednesday just before it executed an experiment to grind a few millimeters into a rock. They did receive a reassuring confirmation on Thursday that Spirit was receiving transmissions from Earth; although, it hasn’t sent any data back yet. The engineers aren’t sure what caused the problem, but since they did get that confirmation, it’s probably not in the power system, radio, transmitter or some software. A very slow communications link was established on Friday morning, but it’s still unclear exactly what’s wrong or if it’s repairable.
NASA’s Spirit rover communicated with Earth in a signal detected by NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna complex near Madrid, Spain, at 12:34 Universal Time (4:34 a.m. PST) this morning.
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The transmissions came during a communication window about 90 minutes after Spirit woke up for the morning on Mars. The signal lasted for 10 minutes at a data rate of 10 bits per second.
Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., plan to send commands to Spirit seeking additional data from the spacecraft during the subsequent few hours.
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. Additional information about the project is available from JPL at http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov and from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., at http://athena.cornell.edu.
Original Source: NASA/JPL News Release