Friday, July 20, 2007

"Mars dust storms suck life out of rovers"

Well, this may be it for the rugged little rovers Spirit and Opportunity.

Scientists fear the [Martian dust] storms might continue for several days or weeks. If the sunlight is further slashed for an extended period, the rovers will not be able to generate enough power to keep warm and operate at all, even in a near-dormant state, the statement said.

The rovers use electric heaters to keep vital core electronics from becoming too cold.

"We're rooting for our rovers to survive these storms, but they were never designed for conditions this intense," said Alan Stern, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

They were never designed to even get this far. If they die as a result of the storms, that will be too bad. But, they have increased our knowledge of Mars in ways unthought of, and we should be thankful for that.

No comments: